Photo from Drake Athletics
For junior Marissa Smith, it’s hard to look at the Drake Relays as something different than the Drake women’s track and field team’s most important meet of the year. It’s not that often that the team gets a chance to play in front of a stadium packed with students and alumni.
“As a track athlete, it’s an honor for us. Relays is such a huge event. Being in it is an honor more than anything else, representing our school and our city,” Smith said. “I’ve never looked at it as a student. As a student, I just see everyone partying.”
While the majority of Drake students associate Relays with lots of events and activities, both Drake track and field squads relish the opportunity to go up against the best.
Smith, an Ajax, Ontario, native, is ready to be one of the Bulldogs leaders throughout Relays. She has consistently been one of Drake’s top performers throughout the year and has enjoyed success in recent weeks.
At the Jim Duncan Invitational on April 14, Smith snagged the 100-meter hurdles title with a time of 14.28 seconds. Not only that, but Smith also took home second place in the 4-by-100-meter relay team that included senior Ari Curtis, junior Whitney Westrum and sophomore Tiara Winston.
“I’m not as excited as I’ve been in the past. I’m more focused this year,” Smith said. “I’m happy with the solid team that we have, and I think we can be very competitive this year in our event.”
This is not the first time around for Smith. This will be the third time Smith attempts to shine on the blue track.
Smith also talked about the preparation for Relays. While she said that the Bulldogs approach the meet just like any other meet in terms of training, Smith said coaches are often busy organizing and planning events.
However, even if the team’s preparation doesn’t change much heading into the event, Relays is as big as it gets for track and field. Smith is ready to take on the challenge one more time.
“I’m looking forward to not being in lane eight and not false-starting,” Smith said. “It’s the opportunity to compete with the best of the best. I hope I can make a PR (personal record). It would be great to make a final this year.”