Smith won't run indoors for Atholton

High Schools

Cross Country / Track And Field

November 30, 2005|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

Atholton junior Alison Smith, an All-Metro performer in cross country and track and field, will sit out the indoor track season but has not decided about outdoor track or cross country.

Smith said yesterday she could return to the Raiders as early as next spring for the outdoor track season, contradicting a report in Sunday's Washington Post that Smith had run her last race for Atholton Saturday at the Foot Locker Northeast Region meet.

"It's certainly nothing along those lines," said Smith, who had emphasized in the past returning for her senior year in cross country to become the only female runner to win four Howard County championships. "It has nothing to do with the Atholton coaches or Atholton itself. It's just something I have to do."

Smith said she will not run for the Raiders this winter so that she can compete in more open and college meets as a member of a club team started by Brian Funk, who was Atholton's track coach last year.

Smith said she wants to test herself against national-caliber athletes from high schools and colleges across the country.

"I'll definitely be competing against some tough girls," she said. "So when I get to national meets like the Nike Indoor, they won't be a big deal. The panic factor won't be there."

Smith said she has received nothing but encouragement from her Raiders teammates and coaches.

"They were all a little surprised, but they all understood and are very supportive of my decision," said Smith, whose sister Amy, a freshman, is a sprinter on the indoor track team.

Junior Kate Caffrey echoed Smith: "She almost didn't want to leave the team, but she knows that this is what she has to do to get better. ... I think if any of us were in her position, we'd do the same thing."

Efforts to reach members of the Atholton coaching staff were unsuccessful.

Last winter, Smith powered Atholton to its first Howard County title in indoor track and runner-up finishes at the Class 2A-1A state and East region championships - also firsts in school history. Smith earned three individual gold medals at the Class 2A-1A state meet.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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