Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

In the Spotlight: Mike Smith

Sport: Track

Events: Distance: 5,000m, 10,000m, and cross country

Hometown: Princeton, Mass.

High School: Wachusett

School/Year: COL ’03

Major: English

Minor: Art

High School Highlights: Two-Mile Indoor Track Class A State Champion . Earned runner-up honors at State Cross Country Championship in 1997 . 1997 District Cross Country Champion . Tapped for 1997 Coaches Award . Garnered MVP awards in cross country (1996 and 1997), spring track and winter track (1997 and 1998).

Georgetown Highlights: Placed third at the Great American Cross Country Meet . NCAA qualifier . 2001: Placed fourth in the 5,000m (14:24.77) at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships . Runner-up in the mile (4:18.88) at the Terrapin Invitational . 2000: Finished second at IC4A in 5,000m (14:10.02) . Finished fourth at the BIG EAST Championships in the 5,000m (14:30.26) . Set ECAC/IC4A Personal Records in 5,000m . BIG EAST Qualifier at Penn State in Mile Run (4:18.19) . BIG EAST and IC4A Qualifier at Notre Dame in 3,000m (8:18.59) . NCAA Provisional Qualifier at IC4A Championship in 5,000m (14:10.02) . BIG EAST Academic All-Star . 1999: Attended and ran cross country and track & field for the James adison University Dukes . Earned All-Colonial Athletic Association honors several times.

When did you first get into track? I participated in track in high school. I got cut from basketball, and my friend said that his dad told him to go out for the track team, so I did, too. Freshman year I’d just screw around and go to practice. I wasn’t serious about it at all. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I became a runner.

How did you decide to come to Georgetown? I transferred from James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va. My coach recruited me from high school, and I realized he was the coach I wanted to have for the rest of my life. I felt I needed him at that point. He left to go to Georgetown, and it was no option – I was going to Georgetown University.

When did you become interested in art? Instead of watching TV I would draw. We didn’t have cable or anything, but my mom always has art supplies around. And then I started reading comic books – it’s all about the heroes and villain. Comics were my little world for a while . They still are. I want to make a children’s book someday – I’d like to draw cartoons.

Favorite superhero: Because I subscribed to Batman for eight years I might have to say him. But I made a pretty good connection with Warblade from Image Comics. He kicks the crap out of everyone. His hands turn into blades and he wreaks havoc on aliens.

Favorite villain: Apocalypse. He’s about as bad as they come.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever run? 21 miles. It was the hardest training run I ever did. It hurt so bad I swear I saw God. We were running at about a five minute 20 second per mile pace. We were about 4 to 5 miles away from campus and we were going up this hill, and I turned to [my friend] and said, “Smith, I love you” because I thought I was gonna die. I was delirious. I didn’t even remember saying it to him.

Favorite food: I guess I’d go with Manny and Olga’s calzone. I can down one in two minutes and 48 seconds (which is the world record). I would like to challenge anyone – if anyone thinks they can beat that, bring it on!

What’s something you want to do before you graduate? Last year was a really tough year for me running. I didn’t run to my potential, and I let myself down and other people down, and it broke my heart. I’d like to look back at my collegiate career and know that I ran to my potential. I don’t know what that will be, but that’s successful running. I’d also like to beat my record for calzone-eating. I think I can get sub-2:30.

Biggest sacrifice you’ve ever had to make for sports: A lot of runners will tell you we have to go to bed early because we’re so tired and stuff like that, but I don’t think the word “sacrifice” pertains to that. It’s not sacrifice if you’re doing what you love. You should be willing to die for what you love. If it’s your passion, it’s not sacrifice.

Favorite book: Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.

Do you have any siblings? An older sister, Kate. She’s 24-ish.

If you could be great at any sport other than track, what would it be and why? Skateboarding. I worked at this skateboard park – I can’t skateboard – but once in a while you’d see someone come in and tear it up. It’s beautiful if you see someone who knows what they’re doing.

Favorite thing about running: It’s the realest thing I know – the whole spectrum of emotions from sheer pain, which you don’t understand unless you’re a runner, to absolute joy.

Three magazines on your ideal coffee table: Track and Field News, “Backpacker Magazine, and a whole mess of comic books.

Favorite band: I like Pearl Jam. I’ve seen them twice.

Favorite Pearl Jam CD: Ten

Do you do anything for good luck before a race? I used to sleep with my uniform on my first year at Georgetown-let it sink into my blood. I’m always seeking change and separation though. I slip into kill mode, but I can’t help that – it’s automatic. But that’s the only thing that’s the same every time.

Who is the person you admire the most? My coach, Pat Henner. I guess at this point in my life he’s the greatest example of the man I want to become. I wish he had children because some kid would be pretty lucky.

What’s your off-season regiment like? There’s no such thing as an off-season regiment for a runner. I take 10 days off a year. It’s a way of life; it’s not a seasonal thing.

Have you ever gone anywhere special to train? Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe. I went there for altitude training. It’s 7,000 feet, where the air is very thin.

Favorite professor at Georgetown: Dr. [Daniel] Porterfield. He cared so much about the class (Poetry of the American Prisoners), you had no other option than to love it. You’d leave the class with shivers. He made such a connection with the student.

Coolest place you’ve ever traveled: This summer when I went to Lake Tahoe and I was in those mountains by myself. That takes the cake. Nothing like that I’ve ever seen. I can’t describe it . it feels like you’re in the middle of some force.

One word you would use to describe yourself: I don’t know . complicated.

One word your coach would use to describe you: Stubborn and impatient.

What’s the biggest misconception that other people have about you? When I first got here they thought I didn’t have fun or I was too serious. But where I came from, I was the class clown . goofy, a jackass. Just because I’m so serious about track – that’s business and it’s serious – people think I’m all business. I’ll be at some party and they think they have to talk to me about running and, that’s the last thing I want to talk about. A sense of humor is a beautiful thing to me.

Most prized possession: This summer I got this Indian mandala. It’s like a good luck shield that represents all the elements: earth, air, water. They’re all pieces of the shield. I got it from a medicine man out in those mountains. He told me it was magic, and I’m running pretty well right now. It’s white buffalo. Those medicine men – they don’t mess around.

Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting, but the silver medal goes to The Princess Bride.

Worst movie you’ve ever seen: Hands down, Joy Ride. My head still hurts from seeing it. It was so bad it was funny. Silver medal goes to Thou Shalt Not Kill . Except.

Do you have any pets? Oh yeah. I really miss my dog, Bandit. He’s an English Setter. My mom raised English Setters, so there were always dogs around the house. I learned a lot about loving and caring through animals. I also have two cats, Steve Prefontaine and Lasse Vieren.

Favorite meal of the day: Breakfast. If I could eat breakfast every meal of the day, I would. I love French toast . and pancakes.

If you could trade places with anyone, real or fictional, for a day, who would it be? Quinten Cassidy from one of my favorite books, Once a Runner. Or Haile Gebrailselaise of Ethiopia – he’s the greatest long distance runner of all time.

What kind of car do you drive? Right now I’m driving a ’95 Ford Escort. But in high school I drove a Cutlass Sierra. It was maroon with a pleather roof. It was a piece of crap, but man we abused that car.

What do you want to do after you graduate? I’d like to run competitively for a while. I feel like I started something and I need to finish it out, and I don’t know how long that’ll take. I don’t feel like it’s done just because my eligibility expires. I think eventually I’d like to try a marathon a few years down the road. Then after that, get lost in the world, do some traveling.

What’s under your bed right now? I’ve got a lot of my camping gear – that takes up a lot of room. I also have an Indian headdress, a wig, a pirate sword – you hit the button and it says, “Walk the plank,” – and art supplies, some canvas.

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya