CLEARING HURDLES

Track is both an individual and team sport.

Shyela Smith said she enjoyed both individual events as well as relays while competing with the Brownstown Central girls’ track team in 2015. The senior’s main events this past spring were the long jump, 300 hurdles and running a leg in the 1,600 relay.

“I got trained last year on how to do (the hurdles),” Smith said. “I ran them a couple times, but I’m doing them more this year. You have to stay at a consistent speed so you get a certain amount of steps in between each hurdle.”

In an unconventional method, Smith said she leads with her left leg even though she is right-handed because she’s more comfortable with that combination.

“I have no idea,” she said when asked why she likes to lead with her left leg. “I run them to stay in shape.”

In the relays, Smith enjoys the combination of team and individual effort it takes to compete.

“I like being able to run with other people,” Smith said. “It’s not just an individual thing.”

When she’s running in the team events, Smith prefers taking the second or third positions; although she ran the first leg in some meets.

During the spring months, Smith tries to pace herself and fight through the wind at the home meets.

“You have to pace yourself, not to set out full speed, and you’ve got to finish strong,” she said.

One of the keys to getting maximum distance in the long jump, for Smith, is getting her steps down and jumping off the front of the board.

“We make sure that your foot hits the board,” Smith said. “You set up your steps and you go faster as you get closer to the board so you can explode off the board so you can go further. I like flying in the air.”

Smith said she moved to Brownstown prior to her sophomore year and that is when she decided to join the track and field team.

Making the transition to living in Brownstown, and attending the school, has been a good experience for Smith.

“I like how everybody is so welcome (in Brownstown); they’re so nice,” Smith said. “The teachers are really good at doing their job, and make sure you understand what you are doing. I’ll remember all the friends that I’ve made and all the effort that I’ve put into my running.

“I enjoyed making new friends and being able to spend time with people that have the same interests as you.”

Her favorite meets during the season were on the Braves’ track.

“I feel more comfortable at the home meets because I’m aware where everything is on the track,” Smith said.

Every day at practice, Smith focused on working on each of her events.

“Practice is really important because that potential shows in your running when it comes to a meet,” Smith said. “We’ve divided into groups, and some days we’ll run a mile and some days we’ll run some 100s.”

Smith said she likes the different workouts she takes part in during practices.

For Smith, having a positive outlook in all sports you participate in is a must for success.

“It’s pretty important; you’ve just got to give it all you’ve got,” Smith said. “You’ve just got to do your best.”

At a glance

Name: Shyela Smith

Parents: Mike and Monica Smith

Siblings: Shadyn, Seth

Sports: Track, three years

Favorite away track: North Harrison

Plans after high school: Attend college, study criminology

Favorite food: French fries

Favorite movie: “Joe Dirt”

Favorite athletes: Venus and Serena Williams

Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.