BLANCHARD – Montabella sophomore Taylor Smith had a memorable trip to the state cross country finals in Brooklyn, Mich., on Saturday.
Smith finished fifth among girls in Division 4 at Michigan International Speedway. Her time was 19:01.4.
“She ran awesome,” coach Jeff Kauffman said of Smith. “She outsprinted two girls in the last 200 meters to take fifth.”
Smith liked her performance also.
“I was really happy with my time and my place,” she said. “I was ranked 11th and I got fifth, so that was a really good improvement.”
This was Smith’s second trip to MIS.
“I thought it was a really good experience and it wasn’t as nerve-racking,” she said. “I had the experience before and I knew what to do a little bit more.”
Smith admitted she wasn’t expecting to be as good as she was. Her coach thought otherwise.
“She’s been training smart and every race she brings it like she wants to do well,” Kaufmann said. “She doesn’t like to lose.”
Smith credits “working hard during the season and my coach” for her success, she said.
She knows there is some work ahead to keep up the pace.
“It’s going to take a lot of training to do that,” she said. “I need to train over the summer. They usually don’t and I need to do that.”
That means a lot of running, Smith noted.
“Put a lot of miles in,” she said. “I may run with the boys team a little more and weight lifting and things like that to keep my muscles strong.”
However, the spring training is not on her agenda.
“I think I’m going to play a different sport,” Smith said, noting she will play softball in the spring.
Smith has some goals for next year.
“Going back to the state finals and I’d like to break the school record,” she said.
Does Kauffman think she has a chance?
“It’s possible,” he said. “Unfortunately there’s a girl from Breckenridge that is solid. If she keeps, training more, she definitely has potential. She has a real bright future.”