Name: Jake Smith
School: Cibola H.S.
1600m - 4:25.09 @ Desert Vista Last Chance
3200m - 9:33.81 @ AIA Division 1 State Championships
5K - 15:53.10 @ Desert Twilight XC Festival
Jake Smith graduated from Cibola as a key role for the Raiders' distance running program. During the cross-country season, Smith broke 16-minutes for 5K at the Desert Twilight XC Festival running 15:53.10. He placed 3rd in the Division I Section 3 race and moved on to finish 22nd in the D1 Boys race at State Meet. On the track, he placed 15th in the D1 Boys' 1600m and 11th in the 3200m with a PR of 9:33.81.
Where are you from and when did you begin running?
I am from Yuma, AZ and I started running freshman year.
What was your most memorable race?
I would say my most memorable moment was to just constantly run with guys my junior year. Thomas Cain, Gabriel Urbalejo, Nick Garren, Wally Olivares and I would just run together every day and push each other and have fun while doing it.
Did you listen to music before competing? If so what's on your playlist?
Once in a while I would just because I'd forget my headphones a lot but I usually listen to Lil Uzi, Tyler the Creator, Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
I never really had one to be honest but if anything, I would say my teammate Thomas Cain, he is fast but I'd say him just because we would constantly push each other every practice and race for the past couple of years.
(Right: Jake Smith ran a PR of 4:25.09 in the Boys' 1600m at the Desert Vista Last Chance Meet.-photo by John Hays)
What was your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment would have to be winning the cross-country city title in Yuma and getting a 15:22 on a hilly course.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
I would say for sure up the mileage more my freshman and sophomore years and to just stay consistent with it. I was averaging about 20 miles a week those two years and didn't get focused till my junior year.
You ran 20 miles a week as an underclassman for Yuma Catholic. How did you come to take your career more seriously as a junior and increase your volume as a junior?
Coming into my junior year I would train with the team in the summer and just slowly build up my mileage. Coach Norton would always tell me how much to run every day just so I didn't get injured. I knew Coach Norton has had success with Bernie Montoya and other runners so I really trusted him when it came to training.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
My biggest one would be my stress fracture my junior year right after the state meet and took me out all winter training and half of the track season. I came back junior year for track with a couple meets left and still improving my 2-mile time by a lot. Coach wanted me to focus on that race only to get me ready for cross senior year. Before DV last chance I was at a 10:22 thinking I wasn't going to qualify for state and I wanted to. At DV I ran a 10:03 missing the qualifying time but still happy with the PR!
What will you miss the most about competing for your team?
What I'll miss the most would just be my teammates and coaches. They all have helped me become a better runner and they all have been there for me since the start.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
Just to stay consistent with your training and do all the little things that you can do to help you for your run the next day. Recovery is big in this sport for sure.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
My coach (Coach Kris Norton) has helped shaped me to become a better runner with a humble respect around others. He would always check up on us and give us a lot of info on what we can/need to do to get better. He is a great coach and the greatest in AZ in my eyes. I'll miss that man.
What are your college plans? Have you decided on a major?
I will be attending The University of Texas at San Antonio next fall and will go ahead and study Kinesiology.
(Below: Jake signed to run cross-country and track for the UTSA Roadrunners.-photo provided by Jake Smith.)
What made you decide to attend UTSA?
I would say UTSA was the right fit for me because of the coaches, staff and athletes. The coaches had a similar training aspect compared to Coach Norton's and I'm excited to go ahead and give it a shot at the Division 1 level.
Who would you like to thank for your success in high school?
I would like to go ahead and thank all of my coaches, my teammates, my friends, my school counselor, the faculty and staff at Cibola High School for the constant support and lastly, my family. Without them none of this would happen and I am truly grateful for all that they have done for me. Thank you to all!
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
I'd have to go with time travel just because it would be interesting to see what happened in the past and what will happen in the future.
What's the best literary work you read in high school?
I would say "The Champions Mind" would be my favorite one.
If you could go on a long run with any professional athlete who would you pick?
I would die to go on a run with Sydney McLaughlin. I know she probably doesn't do long runs but I would still do a track or hurdle workout with her anyways.
Where's the best hangout spot in Yuma?
There's not much to do in Yuma so if anything, it'd have to be our outdoor mall.
What are you most excited to do when you get to San Antonio?
I'm excited to just go ahead and get after it with the training with the guys and school work and it'll for sure be different just going ahead and living on my own.