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When Caden Smith of Roscoe competes in the Class 1A boys discus Friday, he will be one of the most experienced athletes in the state track and field meet.
Smith, a senior who also competes in the shot put on Saturday, also qualified in the discus and shot put when he was a sophomore and junior. He actually went to state twice his sophomore year, when Roscoe won its first Class 1A basketball title with the 6-3, 250-pound Smith playing a major role in leading the Plowboys to the championship.
Smith has yet to win gold at the state track meet, though as a sophomore he won a third-place bronze medal in his two events. He dropped to fourth place in both events as a junior, but hopes to make up for those disappointments this week on his final trip to Austin.
Smith has had his two best discus throws in his last two meets. He threw a personal-best 170-8 last month at a regional qualifiers event in Glen Rose before coming back at the regional meet in Abilene to win the event easily with a throw of 169-7. In the shot put, he also won with a throw of 53-2 at the regional meet.
Among the nine state qualifiers, Smithâ€™s 169-7 in the discus ranks first while his throw of 53-2 in the shot put is second only to the defending state 1A champion, LaQuan McGowan of Boys Ranch. Smith is also competing against the defending 1A discus cham-pion, Casey Lantelme of Stratford, who threw 170-0 to win the title a year ago.
Smith said he just wants to medal at this yearâ€™s state meet and that heâ€™ll be hap-py even if he doesnâ€™t bring home a first-place gold.
He also isnâ€™t focused on breaking his older brother Caleâ€™s school discus record of 174-3 or David Browneâ€™s shot put mark of 56-6.
â€śI just want to throw my best,â€ť he said. â€śI got too tight and nervous last year. It was real frustrating. I probably put too much pressure on myself.
â€śThis year if I can beat (Caleâ€™s) record, thatâ€™s fine. But Iâ€™m just trying to win a medal. This is probably the best quality of throwers Iâ€™ve faced in my three years.â€ť
But that prior experience gives him an advantage. â€śBeing there before really helps because I know what to expect,â€ť he said. â€śYou donâ€™t get as much time to warm up. Iâ€™ve got to be relaxed in the discus, but in the shot put you can get after it more.â€ť
Smith just missed a third-place medal in the shot put a year ago, where his throw of 52-10 1/2 was less than one inch behind the bronze medalist winner, and his discus throw of 150-0 was only four feet less than the third-place finisher.
Winning a medal this week would cap a standout three-sport career for Smith, who in addition to his high school basketball and track exploits has received all-district, all-area and all-state honors in football over the past four years.
Smith, Roscoeâ€™s quarterback this past season, is getting ready to continue his football career in college as a preferred walk-on at Texas A&M University, where he will be used as a tight end for the Aggies. He will report for his first workouts later this month, but also plans to play in a high school all-star game in Abilene on June 4.
He said he will miss his time at Roscoe. â€śThereâ€™s a lot of pride I take in being from Roscoe,â€ť he said. â€śIf Iâ€™d gone to a larger school I donâ€™t think Iâ€™d have had the opportunities Iâ€™ve had. We have real good coaches and Iâ€™ve made a lot of friends.â€ť
Smith said he had other Division I offers to play college football, but chose A&M because â€śitâ€™s where I always wanted to go. College Station is a great place. When they gave me a shot at football, thatâ€™s where I knew I wanted to go.â€ť