Track triumphs: Devin Smith clinches PL victory in 400m finals

The first time Devin Smith competed in the finals of the Indoor Track and Field 400-meter dash,

a photo finish named her the co-Patriot League champion.

Four years later, at the last indoor competition of her Lafayette career, Smith claimed the title

once again—but this time she didn’t have to share it.

“I’m kind of still in disbelief,” said Smith, a senior captain. “It was a pretty cool experience. It

was definitely mentally and physically exhausting obviously, but it was worth it.”

When Lafayette traveled to Boston University this past weekend for the Patriot League Indoor

Track and Field Championships, Smith was determined to make the same mark she did during

her first season. Smith came in second in the 400 at the two previous indoor championship meets

despite winning the event her freshman year.

“It was about time for me to step it up again,” Smith said.

The weekend was a success on multiple levels. On Saturday, Smith set a school record in the

trials for the 200-meter dash. The following day Smith competed in three events, setting a school

and Patriot League record in the 400, and breaking the school record in the 200 that she had set

the day before.

“That part blows my mind,” Smith said of the Patriot League accomplishment. “School records I

still get so excited about and it’s awesome, but I never even thought I was capable of a Patriot

League record.”

Smith came in fourth in the 200 and third in the 4×400-meter relay after winning her first event.

With a time of 3:46:19 in the 4×400, Lafayette qualified for the ECAC Championships held

March 5-6 in Boston.

According to head coach Michele Curcio, the Patriot League has gotten more and more

competitive over the years, pushing her runners to set higher goals. In 2013, when Smith won the

400-meter dash for the first time, she ran the race in 57.32. This year she finished with a time of

54.81, a significant difference in this particular sport.

“I had a couple of alumni from 2002 and 2004 who were at the meet,” Curcio said. “One of them

was actually a 400-meter record holder a little bit before Devin’s time, and she was like, ‘Coach

this is unbelievable, you could run 57 and win this league before!’ So it has certainly changed.”

According to both Smith and Curcio, these faster times may also be attributed to the style of

BU’s indoor track.

“It is banked and has wide turns,” Smith said. “It just kind of sets you up to run really fast. If

there was any time to run a 54 point, it was at this track.”

Larger schools like BU and Bucknell were highly favored at the tournament this weekend.

According to Smith, many were surprised when she won the 400, especially because the BU and

Bucknell teams came in first and second respectively overall. Members of both teams finished

close behind Smith in the 400 finals and finished just ahead of her in the 200 finals. Lafayette

came in seventh overall at the championships.

As the Leopards transition into their outdoor season, Smith has high hopes, not only for her

individual events, but for her relay teams as well. After winning both the indoor and outdoor

4×400 relay last year, Smith hopes to at least defend their title at this year’s outdoor

championships.

“Devin is somebody who kind of lives for those relays,” Curcio said. “She likes to be part of a

team. Track is so individualistic and to have a team go out there and run, I think she thrives on

that. She loves to chase in those races and the 4×4 allows you to chase.”

According Curcio, Smith’s outdoor success depends on her continued mental toughness and

ability to remain injury free. Both are optimistic as the senior heads into her final season as a

college athlete.

“She’s been somebody who hopefully the future ones can look up to,” Curcio said. “She’s

somebody who works hard at everything she does, and as I said, only good things happen when

you do that.”

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