By Chris Vogt, Staff Writer
TROY — Conant Smith had an ideal plan.
“It was just to go out there and do my thing and win,” he said.
The Middletown High senior cross country runner delivered.
Smith won the Division I boys regional cross country race at Troy by posting a time of 15:23.1 on Saturday, Oct. 27.
“Today was awesome,” Smith said. “I felt really awesome through two miles and then hit the super steep hill, and then I started to feel it. There was another hill headed up to the 2.5 mile marker and by then I realized that I had a pretty significant lead and just wanted the win.
“The course was great,” Smith added, “other than the couple straight uphills.”
This will be Smith’s third trip to the state tournament in a row.
“His training is so phenomenal,” Middletown coach David Fultz said of Conant. “The way he ran today was a testament to how he’s prepped. He’s looking to hammer it out next week and finally get him one.”
Smith specifically looks to redeem a tough one he had to swallow in 2017. He went toe-to-toe with Lakota East’s Dustin Horter in last year’s state meet, but he missed out on grabbing the title by a single step.
Smith finished with a time of 15:03.8. Horter clocked in a 15:03.4.
“I know he’s got it in him to do it this year,” Fultz said. “His training and how he prepares will tell you that.”
Smith placed third at state in 2016 his sophomore year and was edged out by Horter and Pickerington Central’s Matt Scrape.
“The beauty of that last year is that we raced against Horter all year,” Fultz said. “So he knew what kind of runner Horter was. He’s going to get his shot next week, and we’re pulling for him to get it.”
Smith has clocked in some pretty impressive times in 2018, including a Greater Miami Conference meet time of 14:56.10.
“He definitely saves his workouts for the races,” Fultz said of Smith. “He’s been fantastic this year.”
Smith, a recent Arizona State University commit, is an avid outdoorsman and is currently interning at Metro Parks.
“He’s a great kid, well-rounded, humble and an even better student,” Fultz said. “I’ve been blessed to have coached him through to this point.”