Junior nursing major Elena Smith started running in high school to get out of a gym credit, and now she is a WAC champion for Seattle University.
Smith first wanted to attend Seattle U for the nursing program and because she met some of the professors after serving on a panel in high school that discussed how the education in Seattle public schools affects African-American youth.
“A lot faculty from SU came up to me afterward and they were so warm and inviting,” Smith said. “I thought I would pursue whatever Seattle U had to offer from there.”
After being accepted, Smith was invited to walk on for the cross country team and decided that she would continue running at the university level.
“[Running] was something that I hoped would transform into something,” Smith said. “I needed something that would instill discipline and help me maintain my time management and build some type of community. Seattle U had that.”
Smith’s third year has been quite successful as the women’s cross country team finished the season as WAC champions. She personally became the conference champ in the 10,000 meter for the track and field team.
“I didn’t think I could do it to be honest,” Smith said. “Talking with the coach before the race, we were in agreement that if we placed fifth or higher it would be a good day. Coming out with the win was a bit of a shocker.”
Next year, Smith will be looking to continue improving over her final season and she will be wrapping up the nursing program. Upon graduation Smith hopes to find a job in the Seattle area at one of the major hospitals, but she is not quite sure yet what type of nursing she would like to go into. Until then, Smith will continue running and spending time with her teammates.
“There is always something going on with the team,” Smith said. “We see each other all the time and it is such an odd family, but we all enjoy each other’s company.”