By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Ask anyone on Cullman’s track and field squad, and they’ll likely tell you just how dedicated Savannah L. Smith is and has been to her craft throughout her prep career with the Bearcats.
Although her coach, Kristen Barnett, has Smith for another month or so, she’s already lamenting how much she'll miss her pupil’s services next season.
“She’s just a super girl,” Barnett said. “One of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached in any sport. Next year, we are going to miss her terribly, but I’m happy about her opportunity.”
That opportunity became apparent on Monday, as the Cullman senior inked a track and field scholarship with Division II University of Montevallo inside the main office at Cullman High. Joining Smith were her parents, Jonathan and Stacey, Barnett and athletic director Tim Loveless.
“I’m relieved that I know where I am going now,” Smith said after the signing. “I’m really excited about going there and doing what I love to do.”
Despite not having her back for next season, Barnett couldn’t have been more excited for Smith.
“I’m so proud of her,” she said. “She’s phenomenal on the javelin and the discus throw. She’s been one of our top point scorers this year on the team.”
Smith has certainly shown out for the Bearcats in her final campaign, taking home first-place finishes in the javelin at this year’s Cullman Classic and Cullman Invitational. She also placed in the top five in the discus throw at each competition.
The Black and Gold standout said she chose Montevallo for two simple reasons.
“Coach (Tommy) Barksdale really caught my attention, and the campus is really pretty,” she said. “I didn’t really have any other schools I was looking at. Montevallo really stuck out as being a really good track school.”
Smith will head to a school that’s in just its third full season with a track and field program but hopes to get there and have an immediate impact on the team.
“I want to do the best I can and hopefully apply for nationals,” she said. “I’d also like to reach 130-140’ on my javelin throws as well.”
The scholarship Smith signed is a partial athletic (javelin) scholarship that has the potential to grow to a full based on her performance inside the class and on the track.
While Smith still has some unfinished business left at Cullman, she’s already excited about the prospect of playing for a coach she said “really won her over.”
“He’s a very energetic coach,” she said. “He really wanted to come there, do well and be a blessing to their program.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com