It has been a whirlwind of activity for the past eight months for the United States Virgin Islands track star Michelle Smith, starting with her participation in the Carifta Games in April of 2023 and cumulating in her signing her Letter of Intent to the University of Georgia on Tuesday.
This up-tempo pace seemed to suit the talented track star as she assimilated all that she had learned on the track into her day-to-day life. As a hurdler, Smith has learned to maintain a high level of speed while navigating the obstacles in her path. This journey started with the 2023 Carifta Games in Nassau, Bahamas, where Smith struck gold in the 400-meter hurdles and the 800-meter races. Three months later, Smith competed in the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association Under 18 Championships held in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she once again won the 400-meter hurdles and 800-meter races. Smith also added a silver medal to her collection, finishing second in the 100-meter hurdles.
One month later, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico was the site of the Under 20 Pan American Games. Smith finished second in the 400-meter hurdles. Michelle wrapped up this intense schedule by competing in the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, earlier this month. She missed the podium by .12 seconds, finishing the race in fourth place. This was her most impressive showing of the summer as unlike the first three races where she competed against her peers, this event was open to all athletes. Smith held her own against professional runners.
Smith proudly represented the United States Virgin Islands in all these international events and somehow found the energy to lead her high school cross-country team to the Citrus League Championships. Smith currently holds numerous track records at the school and is looking to improve on those times as she completes her senior year at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida.
This highly sought-after track phenomenon could have signed her letter of intent anywhere, but she chose to do it at home, which was a point that was highlighted in the Sports, Parks and Recreation commissioner’s speech at the signing. “It is with great pleasure that you and your family have chosen to include not just the government but the people of the territory in your decision,” said Commissioner Calvert White. “You could have done this anywhere, but you chose to do it back home. It shows the type of individual that Michelle is and it shows her character.”
The Smith family elected to hold the signing at Government House on St. Croix. Smith had narrowed her choice to Florida University, Texas A&M University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Southern California. Smith revealed her choice by cutting into a layered cake that featured the colors of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Smith selected the University of Georgia because it reminded her of home and the coaches and players welcomed her with open arms. “I honestly love the campus. It just reminds me of home. All the trees and the scenery,” said Smith. “The coaches were really nice and I vibe with them really well. The team was really nice. They welcomed me.”