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The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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Athlete of the Week: Tyler Smith

Jasmine McIntosh
For senior Tyler Smith, being a part of the cross country team has helped him improve his mentality greatly.

Senior Tyler Smith is soon concluding his fourth year of cross country at La Salle.

Although Smith wasn’t initially planning on running in high school, his passion for the sport has continued to grow since he started his freshman year, and he is now finishing off his final season. 

Cross country was not Smith’s first choice. He was originally going to play soccer; however, after putting in more thought, and being pushed by his former PE teacher to pursue running in high school, he decided to make the impromptu decision to join the team. 

Now, Smith says that he “[loves] racing. The adrenaline rush you get … just pushes you over the limit to be able to do what normally you wouldn’t be able to do.” 

In Smith’s opinion, the mental resilience and positive attitude required for cross country is what sets it apart from other sports. “It’s not a jock sport,” he said. “It’s all mental. The pain kicks in after a mile and then you just want to stop, but you know that you can’t because … you have a goal that you need to fulfill.” 

One of the most significant struggles runners face is maintaining a steady mindset. Smith says that he likes to think about getting ice cream after a cross country meet while running to keep himself motivated during the long races. Considering the amount of time he has already put into running is also what helps him stay focused. “I’ve gone three years, might as well go another,” he said. 

Besides the running aspect of the sport, Smith expresses the importance of the team’s community. “All of us know that we do a sport that’s not very popular, so that’s what makes it awesome because we’re all together as one,” he said. 

Understanding that his teammates are relying on him and going through the same thing creates camaraderie, which encourages him to give it his all and finish the race. 

His favorite part about the team is “the bond [that they form] during the very difficult workouts and excruciating races.”  

During practices, the team will go through an exercise called tempo, which requires them to reach an almost “dying pace,” he said, for “miles upon miles.” Another workout the team practices is running around the track twice at their full sprint, going through that six or seven times in one practice. 

Cross country has made a large impact on Smith’s life, teaching him mental strength, which will remain after he graduates La Salle. Smith isn’t going to pursue this sport in college, but plans on incorporating running into his everyday routine. 

“Once you do it for four years, it becomes a lifestyle,” he said. 

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