Teray Smith exchanged the warm sunshine and beaches of the Bahamas for those in South Florida. The American Heritage junior moved to the states in October of 2009 to create a better opportunity for himself in track and field and in life. He says the transition was tough at first.
"It was hard because my mom wasn't there to be with me, but I got used to and we talk every night. She gets to see highlights of my races. It's hard being away from her because she is my number one girl, but I know have to work on my future so it is bittersweet for me."
Smith's journey to Florida wasn't exactly smooth. Upon arriving in the Sunshine State, he enrolled at Everglades High School. While his classmates were leaving school early to run, he sat back and watched. Smith was academically ineligible: a youngster with a golden gift, a relative unknown wanting to get his name out there, sitting on the sidelines for a short time. Instead of wasting his talents, Teray began to run on the AAU circuit with the Miami Gardens Track Club. He transferred to American Heritage for his junior season and at his new school began to flourish both on the track and off.
"My grades are good. I made the honor roll. I'm on the track six days a week, every week. Sitting out a year definitely made me a better person physically and mentally."
So far he is making a big splash on the track for American Heritage. According to a recent flrunners.com article on the top 100 boys teams in Florida, Smith's squad was ranked second. His rankings in the 200,400, and high jump have him accounting for nearly a 1/4 of his team's total points. Smith has personal bests of 21.21 in the 200,
48.38 in the 400, and 6-6 in the high jump. He says is best event is the 200 and runs the 400 to improve his time in that event. Overall, he is pleased with how his junior year is shaping up.
"My season is going good. I trained with Arman Hall over the summer which was a plus for me. I would say he is my main rival in the 200. It really pushed me because I know I was training with a world leader. If I won a state championship at the end of the year it would be a big milestone for me. I would dedicate it to a friend of mine A.J. Gibson who I sat next to for three years who passed away in October of last year."
For Smith who began running in the second grade, it will be a homecoming of sorts this weekend when he heads home to the Bahamas for the CARIFTA Trials. He plans to run the 200 and 400 in front of his friends, family, and most importantly mom. His mom, Terria Grant-Misick, was a top athlete in the Bahamas when she was younger and later ran at FAMU. He says he is excited for the opportunity and a future of some day running in the gold, blue and black.
"I'm really excited to go back home for CARIFTA Trials. My family will be there to support me and that really means a lot. I hope to run 46.56 in the 400 and 20.75 in the 200. My expectations are really high to make the team. I want to run for the Bahamas in the 2016 Olympics."