KCHS’s Smith Gatorade TN Boys Cross County Player of Year
A 5-foot-8, 115-pound Knoxville Catholic freshman who won the Class AA Division II TSSAA cross country meet last fall (15:29.09), then set a national freshman record with his second-place finish in 14:53.79 at the 5K Southern Showcase in Huntsville, recently earned another state honor.
Keegan Smith, named Gatorade Tennessee’s “Boys Cross Country Player of Year,” was the only freshman boy in the country to qualify for the national Eastbay Cross Country Championships, where he finished 35th.
Prior to high school, Smith “won 21 national championships in outdoor and indoor settings in association with the AAU, the Junior Olympics and the Track and Field Coalition of the United States,” a KCHS press release stated. “He still holds five age-specific national records.”
Academically, “Smith has maintained an A average in the classroom,” the release further stated, adding this talented freshman “has volunteered locally on behalf of the Knoxville Bridge Ministry and at the Columbus Home Children’s Shelter and Assessment Center.
“He has also donated his time as part of multiple community service initiatives through his school’s Rotary International Interact Club, which conducts ‘service above self’ initiatives to benefit the community.”
“Keegan’s cross-country season this year was incredible, especially when you consider that as a freshman basically every experience was new to him,” Irish cross country head coach Sean O’Neil said. “He was at a new school with a new team and a new coach, racing a distance that he was not used to, and on courses that were unfamiliar to him. None of that mattered.
“Keegan is phenomenally talented, has a great work ethic and he handled his freshman year like a seasoned veteran,” the coach added. “He has absolutely earned all the accolades he has coming his way.”