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St. Francis Prep’s Smith jumps to CHSAA silver medal

"It's just numbers," he said. "You're either right or wrong. There's no in between. It's a pretty simple formula like jumping: you either hit it or you don't."Smith nearly received a failing grade during the Brooklyn-Queens Indoor Track and Field Championships Jan. 29 when he fouled four out of his six jumps, overstepping the launch mark in what he said was a frustrating example of mental block. The triple jump is a complex series of movements that, condensed is a hop, step and jump. Smith was having trouble timing his jump, but he performed well enough in his two successful attempts, finishing fourth to qualify for the CHSAA Intersectional at the Armory in Manhattan Saturday where he surpassed his own expectations.Smith finished second with 43 feet and 3Ú4 inch behind Molloy's Dylan Dombrowski's jump of 43 feet 7 inches and 1Ú2 inch. Beaming near the official's table, one might have assumed that Smith came in first."I'm really happy with how I did," said Smith, a senior from Rosedale. "I practiced all week and it paid off today. Even after the school's practice, I would practice on my own. I wanted to make sure that I could be at my best today."Smith often traveled to Springfield Gardens HS to practice the triple jump. Fouling in the triple jump is all mental, he explained. And he knew that plenty of practice, along with positive reinforcement from his coach, Jim May would make him a poised athlete for the championships. On Saturday, he fouled just twice out of six jumps, losing the competition on Dombrowski's final jump. The Molloy standout also won the Brooklyn-Queens final that Smith nearly self-destructed in. Both qualified for the state championships March 5 in upstate Ithaca."I really owe my coach and my parents for raising my confidence," said Smith who has an academic average of and is applying to Harvard. "They really helped to clear my head and make me think that I could win."In the team competition, Molloy finished third with 26 points, behind second place Farrell (36.5 points) and the winner Mount St. Michael (41 points). St. Francis Prep finished with seven points and McClancy had two points. There were 31 teams competing in the boys' competition.The Stanners won only a single event, but placed in the top four in six competitions. Dombrowski came in fourth in the shot-put and the Stanners finished second in the long lump (Jaime Spataro) and second in the 55-meter high hurdles (Ian Fitts). A first place finish receives six points; second place gets four, third gets three, fourth gets two and fifth gets one.Reach reporter Mitch Abramson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 130.

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