Smith brings state experience to West


Photo by Gabe Smith

Sophomore Shane Smith participates in warm-ups during a track and field practice on March 9. Smith, who transferred to Bellevue West from Omaha North, participates in long jump, the 4×100 and the 4×400.

Gabe Smith, Reporter

1,755 students attend Bellevue West High School. Hundreds of those students are also involved in sports. Of those athletes that attend West, each one has a different story; some are members of the swim team, some may be basketball stars, and a few are reserve pitchers. Some are military transplants, some are Bellevue natives and a few are local transfers. One such athlete is sophomore Shane Smith, who transferred to West in January from Omaha North Magnet School.

Like several boys who compete in multiple track events, Smith participates in the 4×400, long jump, and 4×100 events.

Unlike most track members, Smith went to the state meet last spring as a freshman as an alternate in the 4×400 relay race.

As a freshman, it was a great opportunity,” Smith said. “I ultimately was not the intended athlete to run in the race of the 4×400 meter run due to injury, so I became an alternate. Something ended up happening to the other athlete and my name was called.”

Smith uses the unique opportunity as motivation for this years track season.

Going to state has given me the view on things as if anything is possible,” Smith said. “I know now what I am capable of and what I need to do in order to get where I want to be come late May.”

Smith may be an athlete, but the reason he transferred to West wasn’t sports.

“I made the decision to attend Bellevue West from the academic standpoint,” Smith said. “I knew very few people there and heard well from their experience there at West. I then wanted to become apart of the good to it all,” Smith said.

Smith has impressed head boys coach Brent Litz so far this season.

“Shane is an excellent communicator,” Litz said. “He seems to be a pretty good leader. I watch him fifth hour when he works out and so I see him interact with other people and it is always very positive, so I am excited about that,” Litz said.

Smith also acknowledges the work he put in the offseason this year.

I trained my heart out in order to make it to that point,” Smith said. “I will always have that determination to get better and the mindset to ‘never settle to be average’. I often do a lot of off the track work to better myself and increase my endurance to make sure I am in the best shape as possible.”

Smith said he hopes to reap the rewards of his hard off-the-track work by having a successful season in his events. With the competition part of the season still ahead of him, anything is possible. Smith said he understands that success does not come easy, but he believes he can achieve his lofty goals this season.

“This season, my goal is to be able to jump a 23′ foot long jump and qualify for state in all three of my events,” Smith said. “From there, the next step would to be able to place in all three events at state. However, taking a step at a time is all a part of committing to the process.”