After joining Trinity University’s 100-mile running club, Lori Smith became one of six members on the Tiger’s track and field team.
Though the team’s records and times were almost always beat by bigger schools such as A&M, Smith’s love for running spurred her on to encourage her son to run, which is how Collin Smith ended up at Texas.
When Collin Smith was in elementary school, his physical education teacher wanted him to be more involved, so he recommended the Hershey Track and Field Games, a competition Smith ended up competing in up until high school.
“I would ask my parents to take me to the track when I was young, just so I could run a mile,” Smith said. “I loved it.”
In middle school, Smith continued his running but did not get serious about the sport until he was a sophomore. At that time, a local athletic trainer, Chris Shrader, became interested in Smith’s ability.
“He would train select high school students on separate times outside of school practices,” Smith said. “His training is different, and I just took to it.”
After this special attention, Smith was able to run a 4:15 mile his senior year, a great relief to a high school career that had not gotten him as far as he had hoped.
“I dropped five seconds off my mile in that race,” Smith said. “It was definitely a breakthrough.”
His senior year also brought on a trip to the state cross country meet, although a chance at state track and field was taken away when he was beat by a couple of tenths of a second during the regional meet.
“There was a silver lining to all that, though,” Smith said. “I ended up here.”
Smith’s talent allowed him to look at several schools, but a romantic interest could have helped him decide on Texas.
Smith’s girlfriend, Megan Vasquez, is part of Texas’ women’s track program and suggested Smith to the men’s assistant coach, John Hayes.
“Megan told him about an upcoming meet,” Smith said. “He ended up coming to watch me race, we met, and it all worked out from there.”
This season, cross country has been really lifting off. Individually, Smith was able to place 10th at the Princeton Invitational in October, and the team recently finished fourth overall at the Big 12 Championships.
“I didn’t do so well last year, but I’m able to travel with the team this year, so it’s cool,” Smith said. “We’ve traveled to conference, now hopefully on to regionals then nationals.”