Loree Smith

 Uncategorized
May 022004
 
Authors: John Teten

Editor’s Note: This week Collegian Sports will focus on the

exploits and training of six current and former Rams as they

prepare to compete in the US Olympic Trails July 9 to 18 in

Sacramento, Calif.

 

Michael Jordan. Marion Jones. Jesse Owens. Throughout the years

the Olympic Games have crowned world class athletes with gold

medals and the pride of nations.

This summer, Colorado State junior Loree Smith will attempt to

add her name to the storied list of Olympic competitors.

The thrower’s numbers speak for themselves: 2003 Mountain West

Conference Indoor champion in the shot put and weight throw. 2002

MWC Outdoor champ in hammer throw and discus. Currently, the second

best collegiate toss in the hammer throw (220 feet) and the fourth

best in the discus throw (187 feet, 4 inches).

In June, she will compete for a NCAA title. On July 9 to 18, in

Sacramento, Smith joins America’s athletic elite for the chance to

trade green and gold for red, white and blue.

“It will determine if I’m going to Athens (Greece) come August

or if I’m watching on a TV,” Smith said.

Not bad for someone from the “boonies of Julesburg (Colo.),” she

said.

Leaving high school Smith was not widely sought. Her recruitment

video was “one of the worst I’ve ever seen,” said throws coach

Brian Bedard.

The footage, shot through a chain link fence with Smith throwing

40 yards away, shook as if it had been filmed during an earthquake,

Bedard said.

However, the coaching staff saw something special and took the

chance on her.

“She didn’t have the coaching or the competition she needed,”

Bedard said. “There’s a lot of upside in recruiting small town

kids, if they like to compete.”

Smith entered Fort Collins as a soft-spoken diamond in the

rough. She’s leaving as a fun-loving Olympic hopeful.

“She’s animated, typically really fun and sarcastic,” Bedard

said. “She’s a big laugh.”

“I’m the class clown for better or for worse,” Smith said. “Even

if I don’t make my friends laugh, I entertain myself.”

Off the track, her broad grin, candid chuckling and dark orphan

Annie curls disguise her intensity and brawn. On the track, her

powerful core and quick feet portray her talent.

“Loree’s speed is her advantage,” said fellow thrower Melissa

Harms.

To utilize the speed to her advantage Smith and Bedard worked on

implementing a fourth rotation into her hammer throw. The change

brought hours of practice and frustration, but ultimately produced

humongous results.

“We haven’t had a woman come through CSU that can do what she

can do,” Bedard said. “The biggest part is convincing her how good

she is.”

Training woes

With an evolving throw, the coaching staff redshirted her

through the 2003 outdoor season.

Last summer, with the Olympic trials on the horizon and eager to

get back to competition, Loree increased her workouts.

“I trained my butt off,” Smith said.

She ran stairs in Hughes Stadium and hit the weights. Her left

leg hurt, but she continued to push. The overzealous training

caused a stress fracture in her tibia.

Her goals were put on pause.

She sat out of the indoor season and had to scale her training

back – no sprinting, plyometrics or weights. She has just recently

been cleared to start training again.

While most of her competitors are at their strongest, Loree

Smith is just now starting to reach a normal intensity. As her

training increases, she expects her performance to grow as

well.

The top three finishers at the Olympic Trials will represent

America in Athens. Smith will attempt to qualify in the hammer

throw. Bedard estimates that she will need throws around 230 to

qualify.

As a student of the sport Smith is “a lot of fun to coach,”

Bedard said. “In effect, she’s another coach out there.”

Her ability to learn and to teach herself is a byproduct of an

English education major with grades worthy of the dean’s list.

For now, her goal to become a teacher will wait while her goal

to win Olympic gold takes center stage.

Mark Spitz. Michael Johnson…Loree Smith?

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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