had never given any thought about running cross country.
But after Waurika (Okla.)
cross country and track and field coach Joe Masoner watched Smith compete in middle school track, he suggested she go out for cross country as a freshman.
Boy, did that turn out to be a good idea.
Smith immediately made an impact and placed 22nd in 2A in the Oklahoma Cross Country Championships that first season. She followed that up with a 13th-place finish at state as a sophomore this past year. Smith has showed in her short cross country career that she's an up-and-coming runner in Oklahoma.
Jumping up nine slots at the state meet from her freshman to sophomore years is validation that Smith just keeps improving.
"She made tremendous progress," Masoner said. "Just about every meet, because we go to just about the same meets every year, she was finishing timewise by setting PRs at every meet we went to.
"She will put everything she has in it. She doesn't like to lose, she's very competitive."
Smith clocked a time of 13 minutes, 27.36 seconds in the 3,200-meter race at state as a freshman. The next year in the very same race, she trimmed off 25 seconds, coming in at 13:02.2.
"My freshman year was my first year running cross country, so I didn't know that much about it, I guess," Smith said. "My sophomore year since I'd already done it before I knew like how to set my pace better."
Smith, who just turned 16 on Jan. 24, is a silent, deadly runner on the course.
"She wins, she smiles, takes a medal and moves on," Masoner said. "Very polite young lady. She's one of the model students we have here at Waurika."
It can be a bit surprising that Smith runs so well in cross country meets because other than practicing with her team after school, she doesn't log any extra time running in the offseason. Masoner calls Smith a natural runner.
"If she would work at it and push herself — I try to get them to run about 15 miles a week and I know high school kids have too much other things to do — in our classification we're in, she would be one of the top five easy," Masoner said. "It just comes easy to her. She gets done and she's not breathing hard."
Smith would like to start dedicating more time — when she can fit it into her tight schedule — to running when school lets out for the summer.
"I'm probably going to run more and stuff, and plus there's nothing else to really do," Smith said.
Along with being an accomplished runner in cross country, Smith's success has carried over to track and field. As a freshman, she placed fifth in the 1,600-meter (5:39.98) as well as the 3,200 (12:37.07) at the 1A state championships.
"I didn't think I was going to get anything, so I was happy," Smith said.
Smith was also the lead runner on her team's 3,200-meter relay team that placed 12th at state.
During the winter sports season in Oklahoma, Smith switches up her activities and plays basketball. She's in her second season as the team's starting point guard/wing. Smith can score, but her primary role is running the offense and getting her teammates involved in the game. She relishes in that role.
Even though basketball is her favorite sport, Smith knows her future is probably in running. Since she's only a sophomore, Smith hasn't started looking at colleges; she's considering competing in cross country and/or track at the next level.
As a three-sport athlete at her small, rural high school, Smith keeps plenty busy. And she's just as solid in athletics as she is in the classroom, sporting a 4.0 grade point average.
"If she makes a B on a paper, she goes to the teacher and asks, ‘What can I do?' " Masoner said. "She wants A's."
What can you say, Smith is a perfectionist.
Smith is involved with the Beta Club and Future Farmers of America (FFA) at school. Through FFA, Smith has shown sheep at events since seventh grade. During basketball season, she'll train her sheep after practices.
Smith lives on a ranch with her parents, so depending on the season, she is out helping with chores. It's not uncommon for her to have to miss a cross country practice because she's helping her family plant wheat.
Smith is very active in her church and takes part in service projects, whether it be helping serve food to the homeless or mowing the lawn of an elderly community member.
Around Christmas time when Smith has a little free time, she loves spreading the holiday spirit by preparing dinners at church.
"It makes me feel good and makes me want to keep doing that," Smith said. "I enjoy doing it."
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