Whether he realizes it or not, Anders Fristedt has played a big role in the success of Calvert Hall distance runner Cory Smith.
Fristedt, a senior at McDonogh, beat Smith in the mile during last year's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Track and Field Championships -- an event that changed Smith's approach to racing.
"Anders definitely taught him a lesson that day," said Calvert Hall cross country coach Jim McCoach. "Cory has excellent speed and he would lay back and sprint at the end and I used to tell him, 'One day, someone is going to time it right and you'll get burned,' and Anders was the one to do it. It angered Cory and he became a total runner after that."
"That woke me up," said Smith, who will undoubtedly be looking for revenge in tomorrow's MIAA Championships at Gilman. "I was relying too heavily on my kick at the end, and I used to sit back and wait. But ever since Anders beat me, now I just run my own race."
Then, most of the time, he accepts his award.
During the cross country season, Smith broke seven course records, repeated as MIAA champion and was named The Sun's All-Metro Runner of the Year.
In his first indoor track campaign last winter, the Cockeysville resident claimed second in the mile at the Mobile Invitational and placed seventh in the 3,200 meters at the nationals in Boston in a state record time of 9 minutes, 20 seconds.
Smith's biggest prize came last month when he was given a full athletic scholarship to Villanova.
"I'm excited about getting a scholarship, but I'm not surprised," said Smith, who added that some of his friends from middle school are dumbfounded by his success. "Next year, I'll be a freshman again and I'll have to prove myself all over again."
In a 10-day span during this outdoor track season, Smith proved his consistency by running the mile in 4: 17, 4: 16 and a personal best 4: 15 in a dual meet at Gilman. At last month's Penn Relays, the 5-foot-7, 135-pounder finished third in the 3,000 in 8: 31.2. That time, converted over 3,200 meters, is 9: 05 which would be another state record.
Not bad for a guy who joined the cross country team as a freshman to "try and get in shape for lacrosse."
"His first two years on the track team, Cory was stubborn and he just wanted to do the bare minimum," said Cardinals track coach Mary Bondyra. "He was getting by on his ability but last year, after he saw how much success he was having, he got more and more serious and dedicated and that's when he really took off."
Jim Tuppeny, associate head coach of Villanova's track team, said he is confident Smith will be able to make the transition to the next level, but refuses to predict how he will fare in the competitive Big East Conference.
"Cory seems to be a very nice young man. He comes from a nice family, he's a good student and he seems to be sincere and dedicated to track and field and cross country," he said. "It's a big jump from high school to college. I don't want to put a monkey on his back, but at normal growth, he should be a producer."
Pub Date: 5/17/96