Smith Finds Inspiration From Former Ferris Runner

Ferris junior Kayla Smith extends Ferris’ long line of successful runners

by Published: Sep 18, 2013

Leading the Pack: Junior runner Kayla Smith leads the women’s cross country team in the Bulldog Invitaional Sept. 7. This past weekend, Kayla ran a 24:04 in the Spartan Invite. Torch File Photo

Leading the Pack: Junior run­ner Kayla Smith leads the women’s cross coun­try team in the Bulldog Invitaional Sept. 7. This past week­end, Kayla ran a 24:04 in the Spartan Invite. Torch File Photo

Confidence, a thirst for suc­cess, men­tal tough­ness and ded­i­ca­tion are some of the qual­i­ties Ferris junior cross– coun­try run­ner Kayla Smith exudes daily.

Smith comes from the small town of Onondaga and has been run­ning ever since she can remember.

Although her par­ents made her play team sports like tee ball and bas­ket­ball as a child, she knew when she started run­ning that cross coun­try was def­i­nitely the sport for her.

Cross coun­try is more of a per­sonal sport because run­ners need to have the men­tal tough­ness to want to succeed.

That mind­set isn’t some­thing that can be taught. It’s a gift and a prac­tice that few main­tain today.

“I have always had great moti­va­tion for run­ning, not only from my own per­sonal drive, but know­ing that my team­mates are work­ing hard, too,” Smith said.

Smith has been run­ning for Ferris for three years now, and she is very happy with how her career as a Bulldog has been.

“I still have some goals I want to reach before I grad­u­ate from Ferris,” Smith said. “I would like to lower my 5K and 6K times this year, and maybe even lower them again in my senior year.”

Head coach Steve Picucci believes that Smith is one of his hardest-working run­ners on the team because she will never set­tle for being average.

“She has such great ded­i­ca­tion for what she does,” Picucci said. “I know the stan­dards she has set for her­self, and I believe she is ready for a major break­through soon. We are going to do every­thing we can to help her reach all of her goals.”

Smith was Ferris’ top run­ner at the Ray Helsing Invite in Big Rapids, where she posted a time of 19:39.69 in the women’s 5k and fin­ished fifth overall.

One of Smith’s greater role mod­els is Tina Muir, a for­mer cross coun­try run­ner for Ferris.

“I admire Tina’s ded­i­ca­tion and work ethic,” Smith said. “When it was time to focus and train, she gave it her all every sin­gle time.”

When get­ting ready for a race, Smith tends to focus the best while warm­ing up with her team. That is when the adren­a­line and nerves start set­ting in, which makes for a bet­ter mind­set to win.

Smith has the strive to suc­ceed in her next year and a half as a Bulldog and is con­fi­dent that if she keeps work­ing hard, then she will be able to reach all the goals and stan­dards she, her coaches and the team have set.

The Bulldogs’ next race is in Lansing at the Lansing Community College Invite, where Smith hopes to drop even more time off her per­sonal record.