Phoenix Smith, Randallstown, track

Q&A --

May 09, 2007

Asenior middle distance runner, Randallstown's Phoenix Smith started running late, but she has developed quickly and has experimented with other events, including the hurdles. She ran the first leg on the Rams team that won its 1,600-meter relay at the Penn Relays last month. Smith has drawn interest from several colleges on the East Coast, including Temple and Connecticut. However, she will trade a potential track scholarship for culinary arts school at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. She has a 3.3 grade point average, taking Advanced Placement classes. She is also on the yearbook staff and is interested in photography.

When did you start running?

Tenth grade. One of my friends used to run and she was like, "Phoenix, I'm bored, so I need another girl." I think there were only two girls on the cross country team and she asked me to run. I wasn't doing anything, so I was like, "OK." I started in indoor track.

What did you like about track?

It's the fact that you have to push yourself, I guess. It's real mental. It's like when you're not running, you want to run, but when you are running, you just want to stop. It's like you really can't quit. I don't really know what it is. It's like that with everyone on my team. If you can't run, you're like, "I wish I could be out there," and when you're running, you're tired and, of course, you want to go home and go to sleep.

Is the atmosphere different at the Penn Relays than any other track meet?

It's really fast. Usually track meets [at] home, they go real slow. You're standing at the line for 10 minutes. [At Penn,] they have so many heats going on, they're just trying to get you there, run and get off the track. You can't even stop to breathe. Three days went by like that. I think it was really fun.

I heard your team faced a challenge going into the 1,600-meter relay that you won?

We had to put two girls who usually don't run on our relay with us [Tryrkyr Fleming and Tierra Bowie]. ... So me and Kateri [Bowie] - I was first, she was second - we wanted to get a lead for them, so they wouldn't be as nervous. That was the challenge.

How long have you wanted to be a chef?

Since middle school, maybe from watching TV a lot, plus people in my family know how to cook, so I was always interested in cooking.

Do you cook at home? Do you have a favorite dish to make?

No, I don't have a favorite one right now. I used to make brownies all the time, though. I can't experiment a lot at home because I can't waste the food [laughs]. They'll get mad if it tastes bad, so I just stick to the basics. I cooked spaghetti yesterday.

KATHERINE DUNN

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