Road to Austin: Caitland Smith

Road to Austin: Caitland Smith
Red Wolves Raw: Caitland Smith on qualifying for NCAA Championships in 100m & 200m

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State senior Caitland Smith may have a quiet demeanor, but she’s let her feet do the talking for the last 2 years.

In 2019 alone Smith won the Sun Belt 60 meter indoor title, the 100 meter outdoor crown and was part of the victorious 4 by 100 relay squad.

She's top 20 nationally in the 100 and 200, Caitland heads to the NCAA Championships as a dual qualifier.

“It was amazing. I was actually more excited for my 2nd than I was for my first when I knew I made it already, because it took the pressure off. After the first event, I was so bogged down with the worry of am I going to make it or not. I was clapping, my mom said you act like you won your heat, and I was like I did win to me, haha,” Smith said.

“Confidence, patience, consistency. I think when you start elevating to an elite post college level, you have to be mindful of the process. The perfect race doesn’t come every single time, and working on the little things. Beginning of the year, we worked on the block start. We worked on the middle of the race, now we’re trying to execute, especially in the 100, the last part of her race. Which is going to take her to a whole another level,” Assistant Coach Timothy Thompson said.

“The first female to qualify for the NCAAs in 2 events since Sharika Nelvis in 2013. Much better than last year, and that’s the way you want it, that’s the way we planned the training. She’s really come through and run personal bests when she needs to run them,” Arkansas State Track and Field Head Coach Dr. Jim Patchell said.

The NCAA’s are not her only big meet this summer. Smith also qualified for next month’s USA Track & Field Championships.

“I figured out I qualified for that at conference, after I ran my 100 meter race. I ran the exact time I needed to make it to the track meet, and that was what I was waiting for. It took a lot of pressure off me for this meet, because I know my season isn’t over after next week," Smith said.

Smith opens up competition on Thursday at 8:16 p.m. in the 100 meters dash semifinal and then the 200 meter semifinal at 9:14 p.m.

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