Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, May 17, 2001


Smith making
her mark at UH

The Wahine record-holder
at 5,000 and 10,000 meters
chose track over bowling

By Dave Reardon

High school bowler Cheryl Smith wasn't exactly known for her consistency.

"I was one of those who would roll a 190 once in awhile, but then do really bad, not even break 100 sometimes," said Smith.

Good thing she had something else to fall back on.

Smith lettered in bowling three years at Susquehanna Valley High School in Conklin, N.Y. But her real sports were cross country and track and field. Smith excels at both for the University of Hawaii.

Smith is expected to win the 10,000-meter run tomorrow and place at least third in the 5,000 on Saturday at the Western Athletic Conference championships in Fresno, Calif. The junior was third in the conference in cross country last fall.

That Smith is even at UH is a bit of a fluke. She transferred to Hawaii because she thought Jack Daniels, her coach at SUNY-Cortland, would be hired as the new Wahine coach.

"I was really disappointed at first when he didn't get the job," she said. "But I'm a strong believer in things happening for a reason. I've grown to appreciate (distance coach) Johnny (Faerber) and (head coach) Carmyn (James). They value everyone on the team, give everyone the same amount of attention. I think the reason we can do so well as individuals is the awesome support from coaches and teammates."

James said Smith's maturity and focus have allowed her to set the school record in the 5,000 (16 minutes, 52.03 seconds) and 10,000 (34:25.35).

"It's almost like she's in her thirties or something, because she has such a high sense of maturity," said James of Smith, who is 20. "She's the most organized person on the team. She seems to have everything all figured out and never seems to be surprised when something happens."

As an example, on May 4, in Austin, Texas, Smith's 5,000 race was moved up 20 minutes ahead of time because of a scheduling change.

"There she was, caught with her sweats on -- it messed up her warm-up," James said. "Despite that major surprise she showed the state of Texas how to run a 5K and won the race."

Not bad for a bowler.

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