High School Track & Field

2013 High School Track & Field Preview: Smith gives Beaufort boost in hurdles

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comMarch 1, 2013 

Beaufort High School's Kaila Smith jumps hurdles in this image constructed from four photos taken Feb. 20 during track practice in Beaufort. Smith has signed with Coastal Carolina.

SARAH WELLIVER -STAFF PHOTO

Herbert Glaze wasn't sure she was coming, but he hoped, and when he saw Kaila Smith walking the halls, called it a blessing.

In Smith, the Beaufort High School girls track coach knew he had major points at the state meet in May, a leader for his younger athletes and a hurdler with championship pedigree.

Smith's parents both ran track at Beaufort High and her mother, Xiomara, was a hurdler who contributed to three Eagles' state championship teams.

Kaila fits the mold. Her personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles and 400 hurdles would have been fastest of all classifications at the S.C. High School League championships last year. The senior, who moved from Charlotte before the school year, runs indoor and outdoor meets, traveling to events each weekend and competing all year.

Glaze likes the hurdles. His cup of tea, he says. He thinks a track and field team can be built starting with hurdles and triple jump.

"Because that's something you just can't fit nobody into," he said. "It requires a lot of time. But it pays off."

Kaila found the formula.

She began running AAU meets the summer before her 10th grade year.

The elite hurdlers, she discovered, devoted much more time than high school practices and meets. She changed her habits, staying on the track later, working with her father, Kenneth, long after everyone else had gone.

Kaila works three hours each day, six days a week, if there is no meet on Sunday.

"I knew that that's what I needed to do to get to the next step," she said. "I need to work hard, work while nobody else is working and put that time in, and it will pay off in the long run."

She was on the track at Beaufort High School last week and when her teammates had filtered out and a chill settled in, Smith pulled on long sleeves and prepared for more.

"Let's warm up," her father said. 'Hit the long hurdles. Let's go."

When the hurdles go up, everyone files into the stadium, Glaze said. But there is more to hurdles than the spectators see.

Technique is key, with emphasis on what Glaze calls the attack zone, which starts about 6 feet away for the high hurdles and farther for the low hurdles and ends as soon after clearing the hurdle as possible.

"You want to be on the ground as much as possible, so you can actually run," Kaila said.

She began to understand at a camp at Brown University during the summer before her sophomore year. She learned from renowned track coach Latif Thomas the "hard Zs," so called for the proper shape a runner forms, which promotes coming down on the balls of your feet.

Kaila mastered the basics, and them moved to more advanced techniques. She watches YouTube videos of hurdles guru Toney Veney and any other drills passed along by her father or Glaze.

She always returns to the basics, retraining her muscle memory with trail leg, walking trail leg and skip drills.

Smith has her own hurdles, runs hurdles so often she can tell by feel whether she was off on one side of the hurdle or another, whether she feels ahead of pace or right on it.

She continues to put in the work. Her genes were not enough.

"There's still somebody trying to beat you," she said.

But the DNA helped.

Kenneth met his wife for the first time when both were in fifth grade.

Xiomara ran hurdles for three Beaufort High School state championship teams -- 1984, 1985, 1986 -- placing top three in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles each year. Eagles hurdlers swept the top three spots at the state meet in both hurdles events each of their championship seasons.

Kenneth ran 300 hurdles, 4x400-meter relay and the 4x100.

When Kaila first began running track and was looking for a niche, her parents suggested hurdles.

"I always knew in the back of my mind," Kaila said. "I always knew I could hurdle, even if I couldn't."

Kenneth and Xiomara graduated in 1986 and were married the next year. Kenneth joined the U.S. Navy and the family moved around. Before arriving back in Beaufort before the current school year, the Smiths were in Charlotte. Before Charlotte was Houston.

Kenneth hopes the family can stick around after Kaila graduates this spring and continue to work with the Beaufort High track and field program. Kaila wants to drop fast times at all of the spring's big meets, starting with the Sandlapper Classic on Saturday in Charleston.

Then there's the Queen City Classic back in Charlotte, the Taco Bell Classic in Columbia and the Class 4-A state championship in May. Kaila is working with the Eagles' younger athletes to mimic her technique and work habits. She expects big things in Columbia at the end of the season.

And she provides the wild card, competing in jumps as well as hurdles. Glaze said he might also use her in relays, with plenty of options to throw off opposing coaches.

"The only thing they know for sure is she will be on the high and low hurdles," he said. "I'm going to make them guess the rest of them."

2013 HIGH SCHOOL TRACK & FIELD PREVIEW

BOYS Battery Creek

Coach: Tyrone Pierce, 6th season

Overall record: Two region championships, two-time boys state runner-up

2012 results: Fourth in region, 12th at Class 3-A championship.

Assistant coaches: Daniel Kline, Barry Anderson and Shonda Royals

Notable losses from 2012: Justice Oliver (state runner-up in triple jump), Michael Evans (distance), Jayron Sneed (sprints).

Top returning athletes: Shakil Gause (senior, thrower, 3rd in shot put, 4th in discus at Class 3-A meet), Caleb Harris (senior, thrower), David Partridge (junior, pole vaulter), Erik Barbosa (junior, distance), Raheem Cooper (junior, distance), David Frazier (sophomore, sprinter), Raewkon Smalls (sophomore, hurdler).

Outlook: Should contend for the Region 6-AA championship and contend for the state championship.

Hilton Head Christian

Coach: Tommy Lewis, 2nd season

2012 results: Second in region

Assistant coaches: Meggan Lewis, James Berry, Freddy Mitchell, Steven Williams and Howard Shindell

Notable losses from 2012: Tyler Chisholm (soccer), Alex Martin (graduation)

Top returning athletes: Jamario Williams (second in state in 100, 200, 400), Reed Shindell (discus), De'Angelo Clark (4x100), Will MInter (1600), Rasheed Dais (pole vault).

Key newcomers: Zach Polk (100, 200, long jump), Josh Polk (4x100, high jump)

Strengths: Great core of athletes returning.

Weaknesses: Still learning the strengths and weaknesses of each athlete.

Burning question: Can Eagles move up in the state standings as a team, and do they have any individual or relay state champions?

Hilton Head Island High

Coach: Blake Bishop, 7th season

Overall record: 2011 state champions, three third-place finishes

2012 results: Region champions, third place in Class 3-A

Assistant coaches: Frank Holland, Bill Wrightson, Max Mayo, Joey Maddox

Notable losses from 2012: Desmond Boneparte (sprints), Alex MacDonald (throws), Alex Couch (middle distance), Herbert Daise (sprints)

Top returning athletes: Jack Manesiotis (distance, relays), Colton Hennessee (middle distance), Sean McMahon (distance), Robbie Iulo (sprints/relays), Michael Julian (jumps/sprints/relays), Jerome Maddox (throws), Quincy Cooper (sprints), Matt Pollard (jumps)

Key newcomers: Chris Skager (sprints/ relays), John Baty (hurdles), Noa Pagatpaton (middle distance), Sam Beattie (distance) Jack Beattie (distance), Cisco Ferree (distance)

Strengths: We should be strong in the 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, hurdles, and relays.

Weaknesses: Team depth.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville

Coach: Russell Holley, 1st year (five seasons at Ridgeland)

Overall record: 2011 and 2012 region champs, 2012 state runner-up (Ridgeland)

2012 results: 2012 region champs, state team runner-up (Ridgeland)

Assistant coaches: Jamar Ferguson, Steve Broome, Anthony Elam, Christina Walker, Anthony Golden 

Notable losses: Alvin Brown (state discus champion, shot put runner-up), Antoine Johnson (110 hurdles state champion), Xavier Capers (110 hurdles runner-up)

Top returning athletes: Marquis McClennon (400, 3,200 relay, 1,600 relay), Desjon Frazier, (400, 400 relay), Ruban Chariez (1,600, 800 3,200, 3,200m relay), Craven Howard (800, 3,200 relay), Jer’mone White (100, 200, 400 relay), Marquis Griffin (100, 200, 400 relay), Otis Devore (jumps), Osano Saunders (discus), Ashley Mitchell (discus), Tony Flint (pole vault, 110 hurdles), Nicholas Reid (1,600, 3,200, 3,200 relay), Shawn Green (400, 800), Michale Horton (400 hurdle), Denzel Mitchell (400, 800, 3,200 relay 1600 relay), Victor Simmons (triple jump)

Key newcomers: Josh Fields, Cylik Morrison-Ford, Rico Bolden

Strengths: Middle distance and young talent.

Weaknesses: The Jaguars must replace strong field event performers and find depth. They have to replace a number of four-year lettermen.

Burning question: Can we continue with the momentum of the program?

Outlook: Tough region with powerhouses Woodland and Bishop England. Hope to compete at the top of the region.

Whale Branch

Coach: Brad Taracuk, 2nd season

2012 results: Class 1-A state champion

Assistant coaches: Carlos Cave, Robert McCarthy, Tamekia Ford

Notable losses from 2012: Andre Watson (200 state champion and state record-holder, 100 state champion, 4x400 relay state champion, 4x100 relay state runner-up), Devante Alston (triple jump state champion, third place high jump), Andrew Byam (4x100 relay, 4x400 relay), Josh Fields (4x400 relay state champion, state runner-up 4x100 relay), John Little (4x100 relay state runner-up), Vishawn Burrage (4x800 relay third place)

Top returning athletes: Howard Allen (discus, triple jump), Devonta Glover (1,600 fourth place at state, 3,200 sixth place), Charles Jiles (800, 1,600 third place at state, 4x400 champion, 4x800 third place), Devonte Lykes (800, 4x800), Travon McKee (shot put), Michael Smalls (100, 4x100 relay state runner-up)

Strengths: Distance and throws.

Weaknesses: Hurdles, jumps and sprints.

Burning question: Will the athletes still have the fire to win or will they be complacent and bask in last year’s state title?

Outlook: With the loss of roughly half the points from last year’s state championship team, this team will require a new kind of attitude. The returners from last year must refocus the attention on this year and demand the best efforts from each member of the team. If they are able to accomplish this task, there is enough talent coming back to make another run at a state championship.

GIRLS

Battery Creek

Coach: Tyrone Pierce, 6th season

Overall record: n/a

2012 results: 3rd in the region, 10th at the state meet.

Assistant coaches: Daniel Kline, Barry Anderson and Shonda Royals

Notable losses from 2012: Gretchen Brown (100-meter hurdles state champion, long jump runner-up, four in triple jump), Alexis Miller (distance).

Top returning athletes: Kiara Jenkins-(senior, thrower), Latavia Bearden (senior, distance), Kimberly Vigil (senior, pole vaulter), Daisja Cannon (junior, sprinter), Alexis Brown (junior, hurdler), La’Schirrae Morrall (sophomore, jumper), Quamecha Morrison (sophomore, jumper), Raven Chapman (sophomore, distance), Tinea Morrison (sophomore, sprinter), Daejahne William (sophomore, distance), Shanice Pusha-Powell (sophomore, hurdler), Elizabeth Ford (sophomore jumper), Ericka Alston (sophomore thrower).

Outlook: To contend for the region championship and contend for the state championship.

Hilton Head Christian

Coach: Tommy Lewis, 2nd season

Overall record: N/A

2012 results: Fifth in region.

Assistant coaches: Meggan Lewis, James Berry, Freddy Mitchell, Steven Williams and Howard Shindell

Notable losses from 2012: Anna Catherine Graham (graduation), Ava Faccenda-Dunnery (moved)

Top returning athletes: Kate Bennett (800, 1600), Mary Hannah Lewis (1600), Destiny Cook-Herndon (1600) 

Key newcomer: Alyssa White (1,600, 3,200)

Strengths: Great core of athletes returning.

Weaknesses: Still learning the strengths and weaknesses of each athlete.

Burning question: Can we move up in the state standings as a team, and do we have an individual or relay state champion or two or three?

Outlook: Hallelujah!

Hilton Head Island

Coach: Blake Bishop, 7th season

2012 results: Third place in region, six state qualifiers

Assistant coaches: Frank Holland, Bill Wrightson, Max Mayo, Joey Maddox

Notable losses from 2012: Savannah Schepp (distance), Michelle Stine (distance)

Top returning athletes: Faith Lifer (distance), Keyuntay Heyward (sprints, relays), Kayla Frazier (jumps), Ciara McMahon (distance), Raquel Jenkins (sprints), Christina Mason (sprints, relays), Rachel Friend (middle distance, relays), Carly McGlenn (middle distance, relays)

Strengths: We should be strong in the 400, 800 and 1,600, as well as relays.

Weaknesses: Team depth.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville

Coach: Pearl Mitchell, 1st season (previous five seasons at Ridgeland)

Overall record: Region runner-up the past three seasons (Ridgeland)

2012 record results: Region runner-up (Ridgeland)

Notable losses from 2012: Rayshaunda Rankins (hurdles), Raven Grant (4x100, hurdles, sprints), Goldy Cohen (distance, 4x800).

Top returning athletes: Aaliayah Hill (4x100 and jumps), Tierra Nelson (4x8, 4x400, 400h, TJ), Ty'Dasha Rivers (4x100, sprints), Brunitta Jenkins (sprints), Ravon Grant (4x100, distance, PV), Sapatra Johnson (discus, distance), Bendrea Washington (distance, pole vault), Tierra Black (hurdles, mid distance), Kaliyah Darien (shot put), Jaquetta Washington (sprints), Tyshawna Payne (sprints).

Key newcomers: Neyauna Fields (sprints), Desaree' Ansley (sprints), Jayme Chisholm (sprints, pole vault)

Strengths: Sprints, jumps, hurdles, relays.

Weaknesses: Distance.

Burning question: We are a very young team that includes just a handful of of upperclassmen. I need my eighth- and ninth-graders to be mature enough to have the confidence to go up against seasoned veterans.

Outlook: We will look to improve on our three consecutive second-place finishes in the region (2010, 2011, 2012).

Whale Branch

Coach: Brad Taracuk, 2nd season

2012 results: Sixth in Region 5-A

Assistant coaches: Carlos Cave, Robert McCarthy, Tamekia Ford

Notable losses from 2012: Deborah Fields (200), Nicole Fulton (400 hurdles), Ajhia Howard (discus), Vanessa Scott (long jump)

Top returning athletes: Donique Lykes (shot put), Renee Smalls (discus), Alexus White (triple jump), Akaila Wison (triple jump)

Strengths: Jumps and throws

Weaknesses: Distance, hurdles and sprints.

Burning question: Will the foundation set from last year’s team carry over to the larger goals set for this season?

Outlook: Last year’s girls established a strong base for the team. Hopefully they can carry over last year’s accomplishments into this season. There is a lot of potential that can carry this team forward into bigger and better goals. The challenge will be turning that potential into achievement through hard work and initiative.

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service