With everything else going on in the running world, we don’t often pay attention to what’s happening at the younger level of track and field, but every so often, an athlete comes along who can’t be ignored. Eighth-grader Keegan Smith is one of those runners, and after his 9:24.42 3,200 on Wednesday, the 14-year-old from Tennesee has caught the attention of runners everywhere.
Despite his young age, Smith has already had a string of impressive performances. According to the Knoxville news station, WVLT 8, he has won 23 national titles, and in February he won the Adidas Indoor Nationals 1-mile run for middle school Rising Stars in a record-breaking time of 4:34.65.
His coach, former U.S. Olympic steeplechaser Tony Cosey, says Smith is a special talent, but since he’s still growing, the main goal is to keep him injury-free. Still, he says “the sky’s the limit” for the young track star. Smith, for his part, is full of determination and dedication, and has lofty goals for his future.
“If I can make it and keep going I want to run the Olympics 5K and 10K,” says Smith. “It’s my ultimate goal and that’s been my ultimate goal.”
As Smith heads to high school next year, track fans everywhere will certainly be watching to see what kind of results the young runner will produce when given the opportunity to race against stronger competition.