HAMPTON, Va. — An nagging injury from the state track meet cost a local middle schooler a chance at qualifying for the national USATF championship.
Meadowview Middle student Kaulin Smith competed in the USATF Southeast Region 3 Championships at Hampton University over the weekend. He wasn’t able to finish high enough to earn a spot in the national in either of his two hurdle events.
At the state games a couple of weeks ago, Smith took third place in the 100m hurdles. Then he finished seventh in the 200m hurdles after being slowed down by another runner tripping and falling into his lane.
Anthony Smith, Kaulin’s father and coach, said his son did a great job of avoiding the other runner and still managed to finish with a personal best of 30.77.
What neither of them realized at the time was that the extraordinary effort it took to avoid the runner and still finish in the top 10 caused a strain of the iliopsoas muscle that runs from the hip area down to the upper thigh.
Anthony said he didn’t know Kaulin was hurt and was still pushing him in practice to prepare for the regional.
“I noticed his limp Saturday morning, but he claimed that he was okay,” said Anthony Smith. “I could see that he was hurting, but he ran hard anyway.”
At the state meet, Kaulin ran the 100m hurdles in 16.88, but in Hampton he finished in 18.01.
“I asked him if he wanted to pull out of the 200m, but he said that he wanted to finish what he started,” said Anthony. “We all could see the pain in his face, but he finished strong.”
While he showed heart, Kaulin didn’t come close to competing at his previous level. He was about two and a half seconds slower than in Greensboro for the state meet.
“I am very proud of him,” said the father. Being one of the two youngest boys in his division at both the state and regional levels, he did outstanding.
“I was amazed at the amount of college scouts that were there,” he noted.
“A few college representatives came up and let Kaulin know that they watched him last year and enjoyed watching him this year. They told him to keep up the hard work, and that they would be looking out for him in the future.”
With track season over, Kaulin has told his dad he wants to play football this season for Meadowview.