Perseverance pays off: Smott commits to Illinois State


Hamzah Sayyed

Carter Smott warming up with a couple of laps around the school.

Hamzah Sayyed, News Editor

Three-time state competitor and captain for the cross country and track team, distance runner Carter Smott has committed to run at a Division 1 level at Illinois State University.

Smott’s inspiration comes from within; his potential has been a massive factor in why he keeps running today. He’s always trying to push past his limits and strives to improve.

“My potential inspires me the most. Not knowing my limits keeps me focused and motivated to push harder on the days it hurts the most,” Smott said.

Smott, in middle school, decided to participate in cross country and track in the hopes of making friends. However, he found the missing piece in his life that would take him to where he is now. The effort it took to run distance was something he cherished and fell in love with.

“I started running cross country and track in eighth grade, mainly to make friends, but soon I found a passion for bettering myself and seeing a correlation between effort and product. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the process of getting better,” Smott said.

Smott hit the IHSA with a colossal bang and broke his previous record by 30 seconds during the conference his freshmen year. This allowed Smott as a freshman to earn his spot in the state roster. He also managed to place thirty-first out of two hundred and thirty four participants.

“One of my favorite memories is from my first year at the conference meet, where I ended up winning the freshman race in a 30-second PR which allowed me to be a part of the state roster and experience a trip to Peoria as a freshman. I think placing 31st at state last year during the cross country is a close second,” Smott said.

Smott’s stats have proven him to be a well-rounded runner being able to cover three miles within 15 minutes and 13 seconds. But even for him, running non-stop for long periods is exhausting mentally and physically for the body.

“Mentally, distance running is so unbelievably hard. I struggled a ton with mental toughness as an endurance athlete and still do. It’s being able to tell your mind to shut off and run with your legs and heart that’s been a game changer for me,” Smott said.

Along with the mental strain and fatigue your body goes through, there’s also something all athletes can relate to: physical injuries. Smott isn’t an exception when it comes to falling to injury, having had a major setback.

“Physical injuries are something every runner has dealt with at some point. I’ve had heartbreaking moments of failure due to injury. Working with major setbacks is probably the most frustrating part of distance running,” Smott said.

As of Jan. 27, 2023, Smott is currently participating in the track indoor season along with hopes to have an outstanding outdoor season.