By Keely McConomy Contributing Writer
Ryan Smith, one of the new assistant coaches for the UMF Track and Field team, is excited to help train student athletes. His goal as the assistant coach is to “make this sport a tradition” and “to elevate Maine running,” Smith said.
Smith competes in professional running as well as coaching at UMF. Smith mostly works with l
ong distances runners, supporting head coach Daniel Campbell. Smith and Campbell work together to help the student athletes improve as runners and people.
“Dan helps me coach the big picture,” said Smith.
Though Campbell has an outstanding reputation for his coaching career, Smith has brought some newer ideas to UMF that could help the team improve in many ways. Smith’s philosophy on coaching is all about planning for the future.
Chloe Kenyon, a sophomore and second year Track and Field athlete at UMF, said Smith “goes from [the month of] May when we want to be at our peak and builds the workouts backwards from there.” Smith “is always excited at practice,” said Kenyon.
Running is a mental and physical sport; helping the athletes prepare for the outdoor season is vital to their success. Smith loves coaching so much that he tells all his athletes that he will always be happy to help them continue the sport, even after they are done running for UMF.
“For me, I’d love to stay here,” said Smith.
He hopes to coach at UMF as long as he can and continue putting his best efforts into helping student athletes become the most successful they can be.
Smith is a recent graduate from Goshen college in Indiana, where he was an All-American runner. He started competing in Track and Field in high school, and his goal from the first day was to beat the high school’s record for the five kilometer. He was told beating the record was impossible. By his senior year he proved his doubters wrong by beating the record by one second. At UMF, Smith wants to bring a similar legacy.
UMF will be competing in the Maine State Open at the University of Southern Maine on February 24th. The meet is important to Smith and the UMF team because teams from nearby states will also be competing with all the Maine teams. “It’s an effort to draw people from out of state and show them, ‘Hey we can compete too,’” said Smith.