Smith, 25, strives to master running, too

October 02, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

In pursuit of a second master's degree, Jennifer Smith decided to go back to school this semester.

And she took her running shoes with her.

She chose to attend Essex Community College, which provided her with the opportunity to satisfy her appetite for competition as well as to further her education.

Smith, 25, is running on the cross country team for Essex. It is her first attempt at running for an organized team since the eighth grade.

A native of Buffalo, Smith didn't have time to run in high schoobecause of her commitment to other sports (volleyball, basketball, softball). And she did not participate in any sports at St. Bonaventure, where she did her undergraduate work.

"I started running in the summer of 1989 just to stay in shape. hadn't thought about running competitively," said Smith, who earned a master's in education at Johns Hopkins.

Smith moved to Baltimore two years ago and began running ilocal 5K races. In her first 5K -- the Greater Baltimore Medical Center Father's Day Run -- she finished first in her age group.

Last weekend, Smith ran the Renie Amoss 3-mile run in 20 minutes, 10 seconds, good enough for second place among women.

When Smith told her friend,Randy Fels, an assistant coach for the Knights' cross country team, that she was thinking about returning to school, he jokingly suggested that she come to Essex and run.

"At first it was a joke, but he said it again and I said OK. I better do it before I get too old," said Smith.

In her college debut at the Towson Invitational two weeks ago, Smith placed 17th among 50 entrants in 21:50. At yesterday's Frostburg State Invitational, she finished 24th out of 112 in 21:37.

"I missed the competition," said Smith, who also will run indoor and outdoor track for Essex. "There are girls that are better than me on the team. I try to push myself to close the gap between myself and them."

With more experience and a supervised training regimen, Essex cross country coach Bufort Widenhouse said: "Potentially, there's no telling just how good she can be."

Giving history the boot?

The Catonsville Community College men's and women's soccer teams are a combined 9-0-2, but each squad's undefeated record will be on the line against Essex CC.

The men will play tomorrow night at 7:30, with the women meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. Both games will be played at Catonsville.

If history is a factor, Catonsville's unbeaten marks could be in jeopardy. The Essex men are 35-11 against Catonsville, and the women are 39-11.

But despite their lopsided record against the Knights, both Catonsville coaches believe things could be different in this, the 29th consecutive year of the rivalry.

"The game vs. Essex will be tough and exciting," said Catonsville coach Bryon Ivins, who has led the Cardinals to a 20-3-2 record after taking over a 5-13 team in 1992. "My players cannot wait to play Essex."

Last season, the Catonsville and Essex men split two games.

The Catonsville women have been eliminated from the playoffs by the Knights the past two seasons.

In 1992, the Cardinals lost to Essex in the third round of the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. And last season, Catonsville fell to Essex in the Region XX championship.

"It takes a team effort to play against any team," said Cardinals women's coach Tom Taylor, who is 41-23-3 lifetime at Catonsville. "We have out-hustled our opponents and played hard this season."

Eight is enough

Dundalk Community College men's soccer player Matt Goldsmith was involved in all of the Lions' goals in an 8-2 victory over Howard Community College on Wednesday. He scored twice and had six assists.

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