Shataeya Smith is a junior at Malden High and varsity track team member who competes in the shot put event. Smith joined indoor track her freshman year, although originally not interested in the sport. She explained that “[she decided to join the team] when [she] had Mr. Londino for English [her] freshman year.” Like many others, she was under the impression that indoor track was a sport that was only about running and sprinting. She recalled that Londino told her that “[She] should do track” and she responded with “[she] doesn’t run.”Coach David Londino also recalls these events, adding that he approached her because “[Smith] looked very athletic and had [a] wonderful attitude.”
When Smith showed signs of doubt, Londino carried on to explaining to her about other events such as shot put, which is now her current event. Smith said that she went into practices and turns out that not only did she enjoyed shotput and being part of the team, but she was also pretty good at it.
In her first year of track, Smith made it to states, proving to be a very valuable part of the team. She continued to go on to doing outdoor track during the spring, participating in the disk throwing event which she continues to succeed at. Smith believes that it’s important for people to know that track is a sport that involves many different skill sets, and is open to all who truly push themselves to work hard.
Smith has also pushes herself to work hard and the effort has paid off, as she has broken her own personal record, throwing a total of 33.2 feet at their meet against Marblehead on Thursday, December 14. “[It] was a major [personal record] in indoor [track].” Smith explained. Not only was that throw a personal record breaker but it was also a throw that got her into states once again. Smith’s excitement was so great that she “literally ran around the whole stadium, screaming.” Londino also confirms that this great throw, that happened so early in the season, was a “state qualifying throw” and that he was very proud of her.
Her goal is to keep up the good work and momentum. She wants to be able to throw with even more strength so that the shot could go even farther. “[She] can do great things all season,” Smith said proudly, expressing her desire to do her best at states this year. Smith medaled in Division One states for outdoor track, taking eighth place overall. One of Londino’s hopes for Smith is that she places even higher and he is confident in her ability when seeing her early season performance. When it comes to competing in a new league and against new teams, Smith commented that it is “nerve racking. [Other teams] have talent so now [the team needs] to beat their talent.” Joining a new league means more competition, some that the team has never gone head to head with so they cannot have any assuring assumptions.
Freshmen Makayla Preston has also made the varsity indoor track team and competes aside Smith in the shot put event. Preston expressed that she was immensely nervous when starting out because she did not have very much experience in the sport but “[Smith] welcomed [her], taught [her what] was needed and gave [her] tips on how to [improve] which [helps] a lot.” Preston is a few inches away from making states as well and thanks Smith, saying that she would not be able to continue to work so successfully “without [Smith’s] help”
Londino compliments the growth he has seen in Smith over her past three years in track, noting how “[she has] come to embrace the expectations that come with being the team's top thrower and has developed a confidence”. Smith has grown to take of one of the leading in the team. Preston adds how Smith “always gets everyone motivated”. To follow up with what Londino commented earlier about Smith’s optimistic personality, Preston added on about the fact that Smith “always puts a smile on everyone’s face which makes practice much more fun.”
Besides practice and track in general, Smith, like any other student athlete, has many other events in her life. Aside from academics and her job, Smith is one of the Junior Varieties coordinators. “How [she] balances all [this] is mind-boggling.” Smith explained, following up that she “really doesn’t know how [she] finds time for it all.” Her additional hobbies are sleep, “which is an essential,” and working out. Mostly, she thinks it is important to have those couple of hours spared to hang out with friends, stating that her best friends “allow [her] to escape.” She has additional plans to find more free time to join clubs or possibly try out for a fall sports.
Smith’s advice for future track members is to “never stress out” because there are multiple chances, to talk with team members or coaches, and “never get into your head of that anyone is the best”. Everyone has room for improvement, as Smith states that “[there is] always more that you can do”. In whichever sport, Smith believes it is important to “give it your all” and to “exceed the expectations that are set.”