A standout runner on the Middle School cross country team, eighth-grader Jaden Smith, contributed well to the team’s extremely strong season this year.
Knowing this was his last season in Middle School, Smith wanted to finish with as much improvement as possible while serving as a leader of the team. His times decreased and he came in first place for KO on numerous occasions and as a result. With much admiration and support from his teammates, his accommodating and encouraging attitude in practices and meets have helped improve the spirits of the entire team.
Assistant Coach Megan Farrell, in her second year of coaching the team, praised Smith’s competitive nature, as well as his displays of consideration and leadership. “He might be the only runner that has gone to every single meet, and that plays into how much he has improved. I think the younger runners see him as putting an effort in,” she said. Coach Farrell has worked closely with Jaden as they both were new to KO cross country last year. Having the pleasure of being his advisor, Coach Farrell has often seen his positive and humorous manner on and off the field.
Both Coach Farrell and Head Coach Jane Repp appreciate Smith’s leadership and enthusiasm during meets and practices. “One of the things that makes Jaden stand out is that he is ready to run and he has been a leader on the team and has improved over the seasons. He helped by leading warmups and he is at every single cross country meet,” Coach Farrell said.
Smith takes responsibility, as well, by volunteering every day to help conduct dynamic stretches. Smith pushes himself to be a remarkable and positive influence on all different runners. In practice, Smith always reaches out to other players and tries to help them develop their running strengths and techniques.
“I was a leader because now, an eighth-grader on the team and has run for two years, I like being able to help the younger kids find their way and love for cross country. Being able to help them in practices if they had a question making them feel free to ask me or in a meet, if they need some encouragement because they were nervous, I would always offer it. It’s about a team effort, and being able to do your best,” he said. Smith enjoys traveling to different locations during practices. “Scenery plays an important role in my performance; it makes me push myself more when I can see new things every day,” he said.
Not only is Smith praised by his coaches, but by his teammates as well. Audrey Karasik, a fellow eighth-grader cross country runner, only joined the cross country team this year, and Smith has already done his part to impact her season. “Well, he’s definitely a good runner, for starters, but he’s more than that. He is super kind and is always looking out for the team. He is just a really great teammate,” she said.
The Middle School cross country team will miss Smith next year as he continues his running career in the Upper School. However, the team knows he will be successful and contribute much in future seasons.