For those who know Jessie Smillie, a sophomore on the women’s cross country team there is never a dull moment with her on and off the course. The Long Island native’s energetic and positive attitude has endeared her to many on the team.
Smillie started running in middle school but picked up the sport more seriously during high school.
“As soon as I started running in high school I knew that I wanted to run in college,” Smillie said.
The sophomore admitted that she originally didn’t intend to go to Plattsburgh but was won over during her recruitment trip.
“I met the team and they were really welcoming,” Smillie said. “I went to other schools and the team wasn’t as friendly. They (PSUC) really wanted me to be here.”
Smillie credits her teammates as the ones who keep her motivated
“My teammates have meant so much to me,” Smillie said. “Everybody’s really supportive of one another.”
Smillie said the best thing about being on the team is being to run, compete and hang out with her best friends. Junior Emily Haig agrees.
“She’s so fun to be around,” Haig said. “She’s energetic and happy all the time, its great.”
Haig said they both met at morning runs two years ago and for the first month they didn’t talk to each other.
“She didn’t say a word for the first month,” Haig said. “Then I got to know her really well and she literally can’t stop talking.”
Haig said they do everything together and she is glad that Smillie is back on the team after taking a year off to help motivate the younger runners.
Smillie said she took a year off the cross country team to focus on her studies after she changed her major.
When she finally decided to come back, Smillie faced some adversity.
“I had not ran in a year so I didn’t know where i’d fit in with the team,” Smillie said. “So i had a lot of nerves coming into this season.”
Now that she’s back on the team, Smillie feels that she’s in better shape than she was during her freshman year.
“I’ve progressed a lot since freshman year,” Smillie said. “Just continue to have fun and race hard.”
Junior Ashlee Rommeney recognized a familiar face when came to PSUC as a transfer student.
“I met her in August during preseason,” Rommeney said. “We went to high schools that were relatively close to each other and we competed in the same section so we knew of each other.
After the two met they instantly hit it off.
“When I walk into practice everyday she makes me super happy,” Rommeney said. “She always positive and excited—doesn’t matter what we’re doing.”
Rommeney said Smillie makes her day a little better—before they start running.
“She’s a great person to be around with,” Rommeney said. “During runs, practices, and workouts she always pushing me to be better.”
Rommeney said it’s important to have someone like Smillie on the team because she stays enthusiastic and doesn’t let negative vibes bring down her other teammates.
“She’s very giddy. It’s kind of contagious,” Rommeney said.
Smillie said she will continue to have fun, race hard and hopefully accomplish a goal of her’s and the team’s before she graduates.
“Our goal is to be one of the top three teams at the SUNYACs,” Smillie said. “I believe we have the team that can do it.”
Email David Luces at email@example.com