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Athlete of The Week


Smith goes the distance



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Natalie Smith passes her competition in the 3,200-meter relay during the MHSAA Track & Field State Finals. Photo provided (click for larger version)
June 13, 2012 - Fast is one way to describe Natalie Smith. Her speed not only placed her in the MHSAA Track & Field State Finals but helped place her relay team as well.

Smith finished in 11th in her 1,600-meter run during the state finals, June 2, and finished 13th with teammates Erin Billette, Jill Harris and Molly Jeffers in the 3200-meter relay.

"It was definitely a really good season for me," she said about her final year with the team - she graduated on June 4.

She set a personal record in each of her events going 3:18 in the 800-meter dash; 5:09 in the 1,600-meter run; and 11:09 in the 3,200-meter run.

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"It was really good for me," Smith added. "It helped a lot for when I go to college. With the PR I know I can PR even more. I was happy with how I finished."

She said she was glad she finished with setting her personal best during her senior year because she hadn't ran the 3,200-meter run in awhile.

"I know that I will be able to run even faster if I had had more races," she commented.

Smith admitted she had a few bad seasons during her sophomore and junior years.

"I was in a mental slump so I didn't run that fast," she said, adding she had three different coaches during her cross country season. "I think getting a stable coach and trusting him helped me a lot."

But her slump not only helped her but other athletes as she shared her words of inspiration for others.

"Just keep going with it," she said. "Everyone goes through it. Just keep going and it will get better."

Smith will attend Michigan State University in the fall where she will continue her running on the cross country and track teams.

"I really liked the coach and my sister, Kristen, ran at State her first year in college," Natalie said. "Visiting there felt like home to me so I picked Michigan State and I really wanted to go to a Division I school."

She plans to study pre-medicine with her dream becoming a surgeon. She admitted she may be a physical therapist.

"I like the medical field and liked learning about it in school," Natalie added. "I figured I would like going into medical. I also like helping people."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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