Calvert’s Smith inks letter of intent with OSU

At a ceremony where Olivia Smith signed a letter of intent to run in college was about to conclude, the Calvert senior was asked if she had anything to say to the crowd of classmates, teachers and others.

The two-time state champion had a ready response:

“O-H!” she exclaimed.

You know how the rest of that goes.

Smith, the Senecas track star who has won the Division III state 800 race the last two years, will attend Ohio State to run for the Buckeyes.

Smith said she thinks it will be a good fit.

“I think it was just the environment of the campus. I really liked the team, the coach, the campus, the area. I think it’s really gonna be cool being involved in something so big.”

Smith will compete for Buckeyes coach Karen Dennis, but it’s more than that for Smith, a four-time academic All-Ohio selection who plans to be a business major.

“They have a very good business program there,” she said. “Obviously I’m going there primarily for academics, so that’s a big factor.”

Her coach, Stewart Behm, said Smith going to Ohio State is the culmination of years of hard work.

“It’s been a long process, it’s been a six-year process. Most of it is Olivia’s work ethic,” he said. “We could have done a lot of things with her throughout the track and cross country seasons, but we played to her strengths, and did a lot of things, just to keep her fresh so we didn’t burn her out. And [we] did a lot of different things, especially her freshman year, that some coaches might not of done.

“To get to this process of where we’re at now with her on the verge of her senior season, and what she could accomplish, and not too many people in the state of Ohio have done that,” he said. “It’s been a long road, but at the same time it’s been a very quick road.”

Smith has done things differently in her senior season. She didn’t play basketball this winter, and instead relied on herself for her workouts.

“Athletically, it’s been different with me not playing basketball this year,” Smith said. “I had some free time, and it was up to me to get out there and put the hard work in during the winter. That was interesting. People weren’t telling me ‘go do this, do that.’ It was up to me, and I thought I was able to grow a lot in that area.”

But Behm said he wasn’t worried about Smith during the offseason.

“She’s always put her miles in during the summer, and I knew the fact that she wasn’t gonna play basketball was more for the slight chance she might get injured doing it,” Behm said. “She didn’t want to take that chance. As far as her training, I knew I didn’t need to worry about her in the offseason, because she knows exactly what she needs to do to prepare and get ready for the track season.”

Obviously, Smith and Behm hope the future Buckeye can three-peat in the 800. But they are not getting ahead of themselves.

“The season’s going really well so far,” Smith said. “As far as later in the season, we’re just taking it meet by meet. We’ve got to work our way up there.

“I just go out there and run my race. Obviously there’s some spotlight on me because I’m a two-time champ, but I don’t let it affect me too much.”