While Red-Line Athletics was turning in exceptional performances at the the Texas A&M High School Classic at the Rhonda and Frosty Gilliam Jr. Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas, this past weekend, another Bahamian was showing what he could do at the 2022 LSU (Louisiana State University) High School Classic at LSU Field House in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Mateo Smith, a high school senior at Boyd H. Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, was named as the most outstanding athlete of the meet.
The 17-year-old Bahamian athlete won the boys 60 meters (m) hurdles and long jump events, and was second in the triple jump – setting personal best marks in all three.
Smith won the 60m dash in 6.95 seconds, finished first in the long jump with a leap of 7.12m (23’ 4-1/2”), and was second in the triple jump with a leap of 14.76m (48’ 5-1/4”). He said he’s looking to get progressively better as the season goes along.
“I was confident going in there. I just thank God that He brought me so far,” said Smith yesterday. “I just go to practice every day and go out there and do my best. I was able to come out as the champion of the meet and I feel great going there and doing that.”
Smith, who left The Bahamas in 2019 to attend high school in the United States, garnered collegiate interest from his performances in Baton Rouge, but said the one he really wants is from LSU. He’s targeting the LSU Tigers as a program of choice for his collegiate career. The Freeport, Grand Bahama native attended Tabernacle Baptist Academy during his time in the nation’s second city.
“I just give all glory to God,” he said. “I feel like it was a good season opener for me. I feel like I need to work on my triple jump a little more, and even my long jump. I feel like the triple jump could be my best event. It’s the one I’m most confident in right now. Once I continue to put in the work, I feel like I’ll continue to get better.”
Smith said he’s looking to jump 7.5m (24’ 7-1/4”) or above in the long jump this season, leap 15.5m (50’ 10-1/4”) or above in the triple jump, and run 10.5 seconds or lower in the 100m outdoors. His personal best time in the 100m is 10.77 seconds, turned in at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-18 (U18), Under-20 (U20) and Under-23 (U23) Championships, in San José, Costa Rica, last summer.
This past weekend, the Bahamian was able to produce the 11th fastest time in the nation in the 60m dash among high schoolers, and turned in the third-best leaps in both the long and triple jump events among high school athletes.
With the CARIFTA Games set to return this year, Smith said he’s looking forward to taking part in the junior regional athletics competition in Kingston, Jamaica. The 49th edition of CARIFTA is set for the Easter Holiday weekend, April 16-18, at the Jamaica National Stadium in Kingston. Smith has two more years of CARIFTA eligibility remaining. He competed at CARIFTA as a 14-year-old in 2019 and is looking forward to returning to the meet which has been cancelled for the past two years.
Smith will be back in action next month when he competes in the Louie Bing Memorial Classic 2022 in Miami, Florida. That meet will be hosted by Miami Northwestern Sr. High School at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami from February 18-19.