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Girls Winter Track: Like time, Smith flies

Even at her young age, Lexi Smith recognizes that time has a way of sneaking up on you. It wasn’t all that long ago when she was a bright-eyed seventh-grader, new to the ways of cross country and track and field, was it? Now the Shoreham-Wading River High School senior is competing in her final high school winter track season, with a future in NCAA Division I cross country and track ahead of her.

“It’s definitely creepy,” she said. “It seems like just the other day …”

My, how times flies.

With the graduation of star runner Katherine Lee, who has taken her talents to Georgetown University, Smith is now SWR’s headline runner. She lived up to that billing Sunday in a crossover meet at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. In her first 3,000-meter race of the season — and only the third of her career — Smith won in 11 minutes, 8.81 seconds. She pulled away from Northport runners who took the next three places — freshman Allison Reid (11:30.46), junior Giana Haubrich (12:44.85) and senior Rachel Ewanyk (13:24.27).

SWR assistant coach Bob Szymanski had one word to describe Smith’s run: “Smooth.”

Smith said: “I felt like I was really in a good flow … I knew if I kept my pace I’d be OK.”

In the week leading up to the meet, Smith had been training to run the 1,000, but made a late decision to enter the 3,000 instead to give her a time to work off in future meets. “I just came out to run a time and I got it,” she said. “I’m happy.”

Why not? SWR coach Paul Koretzki said Smith came close to her best time.

Smith also led off SWR’s 4×800 relay team that also included India McKay, Eleanora Undrus and Nicole Garcia. They took third in 10:40.35.

It was also a good day for SWR’s Francesca Lilly. The senior triumphed in the triple jump with a distance of 32 feet, 6 3/4 inches.

Garcia came in third in the 600 in 1:43.55.

In the 1,500 race walk, SWR sophomore Torre Parrinello was third in 8:15.37.

Smith said the 3,000 suits her running style. “I do like it because I feel like I need time to get going, and when I get going, I can go at it and have a good kick,” she said.

On Nov. 14, Smith signed a national letter of intent to attend Wagner College, where she will run cross country and track for the Seahawks.

In Smith’s time running three seasons a year for SWR — cross country, indoor track and outdoor track — she has continually progressed, Koretzki said. “She’s chipped time off in each sport and she’s gotten better and better each time in each sport.”

Smith said she wants her final indoor season with the Wildcats to be full of fun and personal records.

Before she knows it, the season will be over. The clock is ticking.

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Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Lexi Smith following her victory in the 3,000 meters Sunday at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. (Credit: Bob Liepa)