It’s No Small Coincidence…
By Terri Smith and Rocio Watkins
When your Division 1 qualifying time is the same as your graduating year, you’ve had a great day! That’s exactly what happened to C3C Cadet Jaci Smith, Class of 2019. She and the AFA Women’s Cross Country team qualified for the NCAA Division 1 Championship Meet for the first time in USAFA history! And Smith’s time was 20:19! But the amazing coincidence doesn’t stop here. Her team was ranked 29th going into this regional meet, and Smith is a Black Panther in CS29! The stars are aligning perfectly for Cadet Smith and her XC team, which includes another Class of 2019 Cadet, C3C Shanna Burns.
Smith’s primary goal for any race was to achieve a new personal best time and push her teammates to run their best. Her stretch goal at the beginning of the XC season was to break 22 minutes…. she broke 21 minutes at the Pre-nationals meet. She expected her time would be a little slower than 21 minutes at the Regional meet since they were running at altitude, so she was thrilled with her time of 20:19.
Although that time wasn’t a goal, the “2019 Strong” analogy was one of the first things she acknowledged after the race. To finish with this time in such a big race is very cool and something she will always remember. Continue reading