Jayden Smith '21 will never forget the moment he was accepted to St. Christopher’s. While out running errands with his mother in 2014, the two huddled together to listen to a voicemail message informing them that Smith would be joining the school as a sixth grader in the fall.
“It was a sunny afternoon in front of an AutoZone. We got the voicemail and we just yelled out loud because we were so happy,” said Smith. “‘Happy’ by Pharrell came on the radio afterwards, she got me Chipotle to celebrate...I smiled all the way home.”
Fast forward seven years, and Smith has a wealth of friends, fond memories and all three StC hurdle records (55m, 110m, 300m). In December, Smith '21 ran the 55m High Hurdles in 7.48 at a meet in Virginia Beach, the second-fastest time in the United States at the time.
At the Adidas Indoor Nationals in March, Jayden ran even faster, finishing second in the longer 60m High Hurdles with a time of 7.85 and became the first Saint hurdler to earn “All-American” status. During the Spring Prep League Championships May 15, he won three of the five events he competed in, earned a team and meet high of 35.5 points, and was awarded “Outstanding Athlete of the Meet.”
Smith vividly remembers breaking the StC 300m hurdle record during a recent meet against Woodbury. “I ran as hard as I could, and I just remember my coach yelling, ‘Go, go, go!’ It seemed like he was cheering especially hard this race, and I crossed the line, hands on my knees, tired, out of breath. I look up, and he tells me, ‘Hey, I think you just broke the school record.’”
Smith, looking forward to the VISAA Track & Field Championships, reflected on the significance of the event. “I really started running track here. It’s crazy to me that in two days, I’ll wear ‘Saints’ on my jersey for the last time at a track meet.” On Saturday, May 22, Smith finished his track career at StC by becoming state champ in the 110m and 300m hurdles at the event and was named “Runner of the Meet.”
Setting these records is important to Smith, but he hopes to progress even further. He will attend Davidson College in the fall, where he plans to continue running track and improving his times while studying environmental science.