WENATCHEE — In his search for a program at which to continue his running career, Jacob Smith sought to find a school that would, among other things, offer the least possible amount of outdoor winter training.
Cross Syracuse off the list.
Smith, who capped his Wenatchee cross country career with a state 4A championship this fall, announced his intention to run both track and cross country at the University of Portland next season.
Smith, who will be among the favorites to win state in the 3200 meters this track season, chose the Pilots after taking official visits to Portland, Idaho and Syracuse, the upstate New York school where snow is a fact of life.
“He was leery of running outside a lot in the winter,” said Mike Smith, Jacob’s father. “He like that Portland is a smaller school, and he likes the area where they train.”
Portland’s men’s cross country team is coming off its second-highest finish ever at the NCAA championships, and Pilots coach Rob Conner expects Smith to contribute right away.
“Jacob is absolutely a blue chipper,” Conner said on the school’s athletic web site. “We feel he is a runner who can step in immediately and help us next fall.”
Conner had a recruiting edge over the competition after luring Mike Smith to Mankato (Minn.) State in the mid 1980s.
The elder Smith was a Division II All-American at Mankato.
“I think this was the school he was leaning towards,” Mike Smith said.
Jacob, who is undecided on what he wants to do academically at Portland, will likely run the 5,000 and 10,000 meters for the Pilots during the indoor and outdoor track seasons.
Brian Adamowsky: 664-7157