Courtesy photo Though sidelined with injury during the majority of her cross country season, Emily Smith is again healthy and has been working hard to prepare for the spring track season at Emmanuel College.
published: Friday, December 28, 2012
Smith is making strides
By TAYLOR TUBBS
SEBRING - The transition from high school to collegiate athletics is never easy on a student.
The adjustment can be made easier, however, if the student feels comfortable in their new environment, and Emily Smith has found just that in her new home at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA.
Smith participated in cross country and track at Sebring High School for four years, and carried her running ways with her to Emmanuel.
She certainly loves the sport, which is evident given the time and dedication put into the weekly mileage.
"Over the summer I ran about 75-80 miles a week," said Smith.
To put things in perspective, 80 miles is the distance from Sebring to Frostproof and back. Twice.
Smith takes in all in stride though, and can see the results paying off for her already.
"When I began the summer training we had to run a timed mile every three weeks, and my first time was 7:30," said Smith
At the end of the summer she had dropped over a minute and a half, to a 5:56 mile.
When Smith arrived at college she had put in the work over the summer, and continued her training at Emmanuel.
"College athletics is different because we practice a lot more," said Smith. "We even have practice on Saturdays, and then on Sundays we are supposed to get a partner and do a long run. We do not take days off."
The increase in the practice schedule did not take a chip out of Smith's academics though.
"This semester, after taking 17 hours of classes, I got a 3.8 GPA and was on the Dean's list."
With a kinesiology major and aspirations to become a physical therapist, Smith realizes the important of good grades, as do her coaches.
"My coaches, Coach Larios and Coach Hall, believe that academics are more important than running," said Smith. "If someone has low grades then they will not be able to come to practice until they get their grades up."
The beginning of the cross country season showed much promise for Smith.
"I was in the top seven in my team, which was my goal. I had a strong race at Montreat College in North Carolina, where I ran a 22:58 over the hilly course."
Unfortunately for Smith, as well as many other freshman collegiate athletes, an injury soon after took her out for the rest of the season.
Luckily for her, she still has the indoor and outdoor track seasons to focus on when she returns back to Emanuel after Christmas break, well rested and injury free.
"My goals for indoor and outdoor track is to go to nationals," said Smith. "I am hoping that my coach will put me in longer distances later on in the season - I am running the 3,000 meter and the 5,000 meter."
Only being a freshman, Smith still has a lot of time to improve at the college that she loves.
"I think moving to a small college made the transition easier for me, and I love the atmosphere here," said Smith. "I love my team, we're like a big family. I've made so many new friends."
As intimidating as it can be to embark on a new adventure, Smith has embraced it and is very happy with her collegiate choice.
"I'm so blessed that God has given me this opportunity to run at Emmanuel."
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