Smith’s time sends national shockwaves

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For an instant, Terrell Smith approached greatness.

Saturday afternoon, on a hotter than normal spring day, the Vicksburg High sophomore had everything go right in his 100-meter dash at the Viking Relays. He sped down the home side of Viking Stadium in a sizzling 10.26 seconds. It was one of the best races run by anyone, in the United States or the world, for that matter.

Last week at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge in Starkville, Ole Miss sprinter Isiah Young clocked a 10.16 in the 100 meters. It was the second-best time in the world for 2012, according to Track and Field News. American Doc Patton has the best time at 10.04. The top time for a high school sprinter, until Saturday, was a 10.4 run by Texas sprinter Abraham Hall of South Grand Prairie on March 22.

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Saturday was a big day for 100-meter stars. Florida State football signee Marvin Bracy, considered the nation’s best young hopeful for the 2012 Olympics in London, ran a wind-aided 10.06 at the University of Texas Relays. University of Florida football star Jeff Demps did even better at 10.01, but it was also above the wind allowance. At the Spruce Creek Relays in Florida, Synjohn Lilly clocked a 10.23. It was not wind-aided.

There was no wind at WC. The meet’s official timer, Frank Wilson, had Smith at 10.26.

Vicksburg track coach Dedra Cable said she stands by the time.

“Mr. Wilson always has his times down,” Cable said. “As soon as the gun goes off, he hits the computer. We’ll just stick with it.”

Smith was floored.

“I was shocked when they told me,” Smith said. “I just try to do my best with each race.”

Smith’s personal coach, Clarence Maxey, was beyond surprised.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Maxey said. “We had been real cautious with him because he was coming off an injury after the indoor season. At the Carl Lewis meet in Houston, he had a 7.1 in the 60 meters. He said he felt some tightness in his leg afterwards, so we shut him down.”

Smith ran the 100 meters for the first time this season at Vicksburg’s Gator Relays. He ran a respectable 11.06 but was beaten by one of Louisiana’s top sprinters, Lamar Carraway of Lake Providence.

At the Vicksburg meet, Carraway set, according to ESPN’s Dye Stat rankings, a national top five time of 21.21 in the 200 meters. He was back to run against Smith and Port Gibson’s Tommy McCalpin, who has the best time in Mississippi in the 400 meters at 49.05. Because there were over 20 sprinters entered at WC, the three elite racers ran in different heats.

Smith came in first overall with his 10.26, while Carraway was second in 11.03. McCalpin was sixth. McCalpin did come back to win the 400 and 200 meter dashes. In the 200, he edged out Smith 22.19 to 22.37.

As a freshman last season for coach Sean Archer, Smith pulled a major surprise by winning the Class 6A title in the 200 meters in a time of 22.22.

Over the summer, while running for Maxey’s Mississippi Heat track team, Smith improved.

“He had a good summer,” Maxey said. “He ran a 10.84 at one meet and later qualified for the AAU Junior Nationals by finishing in the top eight at the qualifier in New Orleans. But then, he hurt his ankle playing sand lot basketball and didn’t get to go.”

By December, Smith was back at it for the indoor season. He made an impression at the LSU Relays in Baton Rouge by finishing second to Louisiana’s best sprinter, Jeryl Brazil, in the 55 meters. Smith clocked a 6.51 time to rank No. 1 in Mississippi. Brazil went on to post a 6.25 time at the U.S. Indoor Nationals to finish third in the nation.

“I had a bad takeoff in that race at LSU or I would have beat him (Brazil), the No. 3 guy in the nation,” Smith said.

Now, he’s got the 10.26 to live up to.

“I guess, I’ll just have to do it again,” Smith said. “You know, I felt really loose before the race. I had a good start and I believe in myself,”

Maxey said another factor might be at work as well.

“Because he’s going to play football, he’s been lifting weights for the first time,” Maxey said. “He’s getting stronger.”