Name: Talon Smith
School: Joseph City High School
In one year, Talon Smith went from a PR of 18:23.19 to an Arizona Cross Country State Champion last November. In addition to securing his first State Title, Talon is the top returning distance runner among Division IV boys with times of 2:02.30 for 800m, 4:34.75 for 1600m and 10:09.48 for 3200m. He will open his season next week at the AZ Small Schools Invite in Mesa, AZ.
Where are you from and when did you begin competitive running?
I am from Joseph City Arizona. I have lived Joseph City all my life and can't imagine growing up anywhere else. I first started competitive racing when I was in 5th grade on the Joseph City Junior High Track team and haven't stopped since.
What's your favorite workout?
My favorite workout is probably what I feel helps me the most and that is doing lots bleachers. Almost immediately after finishing I feel like my muscles are growing along with my endurance. If I ever need a quick tune up bleachers are definitely my go to!
What's your favorite running memory over the course of your career?
(Below: Talon Smith took second in the D4 Boys 1600m at the State Meet.-photo By John Hays)
I have so many memories from running but my favorite would have to be my first High school race. I was running the 1600 and got tripped up on the first turn, I was behind the leader by about 30m. With determination I was able to get back up and finish the race winning by a few seconds.
What's your favorite pre-race meal?
My favorite pre-race meal has to be a classic sub-sandwich. Nothing can get me moving better on race day than a cold cut trio accompanied by my favorite vegetables!
Do you have any role models on the team or from years past? If so what's the most helpful advice they've given you?
I actually have two role models that have given me great advice. The first is my Cousin Aaron (Johnstun), the 2016 D4 High Jump State Champ. He told not to let the success earned to distract me from the hard work I put into it. The other is my older brother Koby, also a high jumper who placed runner-up at State the same year. He told me that I have been gifted and to make the most of it or else I will regret it when I'm older. I am so thankful for the leadership Koby and Aaron gave to me in my early years.
As you reflect on your State Championship Title has that victory changed your perspective on your running career and if so, how? Are you more confident? Do you take certain things more seriously?
(Below: Talon won his section at the Desert Twilight Festival in 16:20.8.-photo by John Hays)
Yes, for sure. I feel like having won a state title in my junior year that it's my obligation to continue to win races. My confidence in my running has improved a lot and I feel like that will help me win a lot of my races because I know I can win if I dig deep enough. I take smaller things like form and stretching more seriously after realizing how important it is to keep me injury free.
What is your favorite thing about running in Joseph City?
Being a very small town there are lots of dirt roads and trails to run on and that gives me a lot of diversity in terrain. It's very nice to go out on a long run and enjoy the unique scenery of Northern Arizona.
Do you have a favorite professional runner?
That's a really tough question because I have lots of favorites, but my all-time favorite is probably Matthew Centrowitz. I love the strength and speed he has while running, and watching him take gold in the 1500m race at the 2016 Rio Olympics was really an eye opener to me of how good I can become.
What's your favorite subject in school?
My favorite class is probably Chemistry. I am not a very big bookworm so I like that chemistry is a little more hands on compared to other core classes.
Do you have any specific goals for the track season?
I think that my goals are pretty close to the same as all track athletes, and those are to break all my personal records and end the season with a few state medals.