Smith heads to the Retriev­ers

La Plata grad­u­ate signs with D-I UMBC for cross coun­try, track

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Whether it was study­ing or run­ning miles, Miles Smith never let his fo­cus get de­terred.

Now the La Plata High School grad­u­ate will be con­tin­u­ing his cross coun­try and track and field ca­reers at the NCAA Di­vi­sion I level, re­cently sign­ing to the Univer­sity of Mary­land Bal­ti­more County.

He will join his for­mer La Plata team­mate James Oak­ley III, a sopho­more sprinter with the Retriev­ers.

“I was thrilled to sign to just know­ing that I am of a small per­cent­age of peo­ple to be able to par­tic­i­pate in Di­vi­sion I ath­let­ics,” said Smith, who of­fi­cially signed in May.

Smith went on his of­fi­cial visit to the UMBC last Novem­ber.

“When I went on my visit to the school I liked the strong fo­cus on [STEM] and ed­u­ca­tion that was com­bined with strong ath­let­ics,” said Smith, who will be ma­jor­ing in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing in the fall.

Smith, who grad­u­ated with the La Plata se­nior class on June 4, spe­cial­ized in the dis­tance events such as the 800- and 1,600-me­ter runs and most likely will run sim­i­lar events at the col­le­giate level.

“I try to train six days out of the week , work­ing to build the speed and strength nec­es­sary for the 800,” he said “My goals at the [col­lege level] are to con­tinue to im­prove and be able to com­pete with the best of the best. They will help push me and that will keep me mo­ti­vated.”

Smith had a strong se­nior sea­son in cross coun­try as well as in­door and out­door track.

At the Class 2A state out­door cham­pi­onships at Mor­gan State Univer­sity in Bal­ti­more in late May, Smith claimed a state crown in the 800 in a time of 1 minute 58.91 sec­onds. He also took run­ner-up in the 1,600, com­ing across the fin­ish line in 1:59.17 and helped lead the 3,200 re­lay team to a sec­ond-place fin­ish at states with Ethan Olm­sted, Ja­cob Cot­tle and Gage White.

“At states I was hon­estly just on scor­ing as many points for the team as pos­si­ble, but to win the state ti­tle was phe­nom­e­nal ex­pe­ri­ence,” Smith said. “When run­ning I usu­ally think about race strate­gies and what I need to do in order to be my best.”

Dur­ing the in­door sea­son, Smith won a state cham­pi­onship in the 1,600 in a time of 4:32.52. He also was a 2A East Re­gion cham­pion and got sec­ond in the SMAC cham­pi­onships in the event. In cross coun­try, Smith took eighth over­all in the 2A state cham­pi­onships, fin­ish­ing in 17:08.7.

“My ac­com­plish­ments are a re­sult of hard work and ded­i­ca­tion,” said Smith, who main­tained a 4.6 GPA and was ranked 10th in his se­nior class. “Bal­anc­ing ath­let­ics and

aca­demics was al­ways tough, but I al­ways kept fo­cus of my goals.”

Richard Williams, who re­cently stepped down as head cross coun­try and track and field head coach af­ter coach­ing at La Plata for 36 years, said Smith will fit in well at UMBC.

“Miles is a hard worker in the class­room and on the track. He shows great con­sis­tency in his craft,” Williams said. “The run­ners on the team re­ally looked up to him.”

Smith said, “I will miss coach Williams, has such a huge im­pact on my life, but also I will miss the fun ex­pe­ri­ences with the team.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

La Plata High School grad­u­ate Miles Smith re­cently signed to NCAA Di­vi­sion I Univer­sity of Mary­land Bal­ti­more County for cross coun­try and track and field.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

La Plata High School grad­u­ate Miles Smith re­cently signed to NCAA Di­vi­sion I Univer­sity of Mary­land Bal­ti­more County for cross coun­try and track and field. Smith, sit­ting, is ac­com­pa­nied his mother Car­rie and fa­ther Ken­dell.

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