Beonca Smith

Beonca Smith, RJR track.

Beonca Smith is a relative newcomer to track and field. The Reynolds junior recently finished her second season of indoor track and now she’s competing in outdoor meets for the first time this spring.

Smith specializes in the 100-meter dash and 300-meter hurdles and she runs on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. “I like the 55 hurdles indoors and I still pick the hurdles as my favorite in outdoor track,” she said. “Hurdles make me think more about myself and make me more conscious of what I’m doing. I’m normally a soft-spoken person, but hurdles make me more aggressive.”

Sometimes that aggressiveness can prove disastrous. The memory of what transpired during warm-ups at the NCHSAA Class 4-A state indoor meet in February won’t be forgotten.

“I came out of the blocks weird and smacked two hurdles,” Smith said laughing. “I had a green stripe from the track on me. I said, ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ But then it was OK. Coach (Charlton Rolle) chuckled and said cry if you want to. But I said I’m not letting that happen in my actual race.”

Smith learned a valuable lesson the first time she competed in a 300 hurdles race. “I ran all-out which was not good,” she recalled. “I learned that I have to pace my steps. The second time I ran it, I counted my steps and it worked out much better.”

For Smith, running on sprint relay teams can be stressful. “I am terrified of dropping the baton,” she explained. “But after I get it, I just go all-out on a sprint in the 4x100. The competition is intense because they put the fast girls on that relay.

“In the 4x200, I still focus on the hand-off. I also focus more on teammates and making sure that everything is smooth.”

Smith enjoys the atmosphere of unity on RJR’s track team. “It’s a whole new support system,” she said. “They push me. It’s like a giant family and I just love it.”

Ken Winfrey

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