By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "It wasn't much of a decision," said junior Xavier Smith when choosing to come to Penn State back in 2014.
Smith's journey was unlike any usual track athlete. He got a late start, only beginning his track career his junior year at Daniel Boone High School.
"I first started track my junior year in high school. It was a little late, I started because I needed to get away from football a little bit," said Smith.
Smith wanted to join his brother and give track a try, where he originally wanted to be a thrower.
"I decided track was a good option. My brother ran track in high school so I figured I'd be alright at track because he was pretty good too," said Smith. "I ran all sprints, but I actually wanted to throw because I didn't feel like running, but I did one throwing practice and that wasn't for me."
Smith grew up in Douglassville, PA, a community in Amity Union Townships that is little under three hours away from University Park. He knew that Penn State would be his first choice for college from the beginning.
"Penn State was always one of my favorite colleges growing up being from Pennsylvania and just watching football games here every weekend. I always wanted to come to Penn State," said Smith.
Although he was set on coming to Penn State, he wasn't sure if it would be a possibility after he decided he wanted to pursue track in college.
"I didn't know if I was going to be able to come to Penn State because I wanted to do track in college. Then when I started to get better results from my races, I decided it was worth a shot to try track at Penn State and see if I could get on the team there. I contacted them and a week later I came to visit, and a few weeks later I signed for Penn State."
Now, Smith is in his third year at Penn State and he knows he made the right decision going to school here.
"Penn State has been great, it's been all I could ask for. Everyday it's definitely something new and I like that. I like the people here, I like the coaches here, I like the atmosphere. Everyone is just a big, big family. It's a really good environment."
Smith is now a lead sprinter for the track and field team, where he runs the 60-meter dash, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. He has already made a presence at the Big Ten Championships.
This past Big Ten Indoor Championships, Smith was the 60-meter dash champion (6.66) and he finished fourth in the 200-meter dash clocking in with a time of 21.07. Smith was also a part of the school record-breaking 4x4 relay team along with sophomores Dan Chisena, Sam Reiser and Isaiah Harris (3:04.80).
"My favorite Penn State memory would definitely be winning the 4x4 at the Big Ten Indoor Championships this year. It was awesome to see my teammate, Isaiah (Harris) catch the guy at the end and bring us a Big Ten gold medal."
With outdoor season underway and still another year left of competing, Smith is looking to accomplish a lot more during his time here.
"I have another year, so I definitely want get more Big Ten medals, that's the first thing. I want to get a team Big Ten Championship, and at the end of that I want to be an All-American."