Track is very much an individual sport. You race against the clock or try to leap, jump or throw longer or higher than your previous best.

But for Brown University senior Brynn Smith, her latest and possibly greatest achievement was definitely a team thing.

In the recent Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, Smith won the hammer throw with a heave of 202 feet, 11 inches, becoming the first Ivy hammer thrower to surpass 200 feet. Although she celebrated the distance with her family and teammates, she considered it something more than just a personal feat.

“Every year when we go to the Heptagonals, they have a program with a lengthy history for every event, not just the people who set the records but the schools they represent and how many championships they’ve won,” said Smith, a Thornton Academy graduate. “It does mean a lot to me to be the first woman to throw 200 feet in any event. That I’ll be listed in the book is totally awesome.

“But I’m just as excited that Brown will be forever associated with that record. It’s like a gift I could give to a school that’s always been associated with having a strong throwing program.”

In the days leading up to the championships, Smith said the meet director kept pushing her, asking: “Who will be the first to break 200?”

“I definitely wanted that title,” said Smith, who missed the mark by just four inches in winning the hammer as a junior. “It was really exciting.”

Still, after she saw the distance recorded, all Smith could think was: “I have so much more left.”

She’ll get her chance to prove that. Smith has qualified for the NCAA regional championships, which will take place in Bloomington, Ind., next Thursday. She’ll compete in the hammer throw and shot put.

Smith is ranked eighth in the hammer. The top 12 will advance to the national championships, which will be held at Des Moines, Iowa, June 8-11.

Brown Coach Michelle Eisenrich isn’t surprised at anything Smith has accomplished.

“She works hard and is a very good athlete,” said Eisenrich. “And I think she has a natural aptitude for throwing.”

Smith, who also won the shot put in the Heptagonals, should advance. In addition to dominating the league, she won the hammer throw in the ECAC/1C4A outdoor championships at Princeton with a toss of 196-9 and finished fifth in the shot put.

She briefly considered forgoing the shot put for the hammer throw in the NCAA regionals, but decided to do both.

“If you have a chance to throw, why not?” she said, while admitting the hammer has become her throw of choice, maybe one that could carry her to the London Olympics in 2012.

While she graduates soon with degrees in public policy and urban studies, Smith will have to make a quick decision on whether she will attempt to compete in the Olympic trials next summer.

She has committed to Teach for America, a program that takes recent college graduates and places them in schools that lack academic resources. It is a two-year commitment to teach, and Smith is scheduled to start in Baltimore on June 21.

She understands she will not be able to do that and train for the Olympics, so she has set a goal. If she can hit 215 feet, the top-level standard for USA Track, she will defer her commitment for one year to concentrate on training. She has already discussed the situation with Teach for America officials and they’ve agreed to her request.

That means Smith has a lot of distance to pick up in the next month.

“It is what it is,” she said. “I might throw 205 and … start for Baltimore. Or I might come close and decide to give it a shot. We’ll see what happens.”

Eisenrich believes Smith could still train and teach at Baltimore, but only “if she finds someplace to train and someone to coach her.”

Smith said her hammer throws this year have been good, but not perfect.

“It’s coming, and it’s going to be here soon,” she said. “When I broke 200, I was surprised. I didn’t think the throw would be that far. I can only imagine how far it can go when everything clicks for me.”

Whatever happens, Smith can look back on an extraordinary career. When she first started throwing the shot at Thornton Academy, she never imagined it would lead to a career at Brown.

“I never identified myself primarily as an athlete,” she said. “But I’ve always had a wonderful network of coaches, teammates and friends to push me to this point.”

Smith isn’t the only local athlete competing at the NCAA regionals. University of Buffalo sophomore Becky O’Brien of Cumberland (Greely) is ranked first in the discus (193-8) and fifth in the shot put (56-6). Princeton junior David Slovenski of Brunswick is ranked sixth in the pole vault (17-41/2) and Dartmouth junior Ethan Shaw of Falmouth is 14th in the 10,000-meter run (29:35.17).

O’Brien was named outstanding female field performer in the Mid-American Conference championships after setting records in the discus and shot put.


Junior Tess Wiggins of Cape Elizabeth and freshman Katie Paige of Brunswick (North Yarmouth Academy) are members of the William Smith varsity 8 selected to participate in the NCAA Division III national championships in Gold River, Calif., May 27-28.


Endicott senior defender Andrew Pochebit of Portland (Cheverus) was named to The Commonwealth Coast Conference first team. Pochebit started 20 games for the Gulls, with one goal and one assist along with 55 ground balls and 44 caused turnovers.

Senior defender Andrew Kiersten of Scarborough and senior midfielder Cody Powers of Scarborough recently completed their careers at Wheaton. Freshman midfielder Colby Shields of Yarmouth was also on the Lyons’ roster.


Southern New Hampshire University senior pitcher Kelsey Griffin of Scarborough earned third-team honors from the Northeast-10 Conference. She went 10-9 with a 2.57 ERA and 118 strikeouts. For her career, she won 27 games and had a 2.54 ERA with 298 strikeouts, second best in school history.

Colleen Martin of Cape Elizabeth finished her sophomore season for Endicott. Martin, a catcher/third baseman, hit three home runs with 15 RBI and 16 runs scored. She also had nine stolen bases.

Freshman catcher/first baseman Heather Carrier of Scarborough had a strong freshman season for Curry College. She batted .278 with 15 RBI and 21 runs.


Colby senior Danielle Sheppard of Kittery (Traip Academy) and senior Emma Linhard of Brunswick were among the top competitors in the recent Open New England championships. Sheppard finished fourth in the high jump with a leap of 5-5, and Linhard was ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:02.54.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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