Brownstown runner, outfielder concludes career

For The Tribune

Claire Smith said she likes being outdoors and being active in the spring and fall, and she enjoyed running cross-country and playing softball at Brownstown Central.

She began playing softball in kindergarten and said she was an outfielder throughout her high school career.

In games, Smith said she had to pay close attention to the situation such as what type of batter was at the plate slap hitter or power hitter, right-handed or left-handed batter, if there were runners on base, and how many outs there were so she knew where the position herself on defense.

She said communication was another important part of the game on defense.

“(The centerfielder) would usually tell you whether to go back or come in on a fly ball,” she said. “Communication is really important so we don’t run into each other. My arm has gotten a lot better since I first started.”

Smith said she had to be ready to swing when she stepped up to bat.

“I expected a strike (on the first pitch),” she said. “Most of the time they would throw you a strike on the first pitch so I had to be aggressive and try to make contact. If there were runners on second or third I tried to hit it toward right field so they could score. I bunted sometimes but usually I just hit the ball.”

On the schedule, Smith looked forward to the home games.

“I liked the home games a lot better because it was our field, and I know the outfield and where there are holes, and how the ball moves and stuff,” she said.

Smith said she worked hard in cross-country practice.

“I like the mental part of it and having to push yourself, because running 3.1 miles you just can’t go out there and do it,” she said. “You have to train really hard. You start hurting after the second mile. I tried to do my first mile fast.”

“I liked the big meets a lot better because there were more girls to pace yourself with.”

She said favorite course was Jac-Cen-Del, and her career-best time was 24:02.

She earned academic all-state and all-conference honorable mention honors and ranks in the top 50 all-time at BCHS.

Smith said practice is important for any sport that you play.

“You have to work on your game at practice because if you just work on it during games then you’re in a hurry to get there, so you have to work on actual fundamentals in practice so you’re actually doing everything right,” she said.

“I think the mental part of sports is really important because even if you are good and you tell yourself ‘I’m not going to do well,’ then you’re just going to hang your head and mess up. But if you have confidence then you’re going to do well.”

Smith said she will have fond memories of the athletics at BCHS.

“I’ll remember my coaches,” Smith said. “Especially Coach (Maria) Conklin from cross-country, and being with my team all the time, and my friends. I think the bus rides were my favorite part.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Smith file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Claire Smith

School: Brownstown Central High School

Parents: Thomas and Terri Smith

Siblings: Clark, Mallory

Sports: cross-country 4 years, softball 2 years

Athletic highlights: cross-country-academic all-state honorable mention, all-conference honorable mention, top 50 all-time fastest at BC

Organizations: National Honor Society, Letterman’s Club, Booster Club

Plans after high school: attend Belmont University, major in political science and music business

Favorite food: steak

Favorite TV show: Criminal Minds

Favorite singer: NF and Witt Lowry

Favorite athlete: Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs)