By Thomas Becker
After her golden performance at the AUS Championships two weeks ago, 60-metre dash star, Bailey Smith is aiming for a new personal best at the U Sports nationals Thursday night.
Smith, the reigning AUS track athlete of the year, has been vigorously training with head coach Colin MacAdam to get ready for the big event hosted by the University of Windsor. And both believe she has what it takes to eclipse the 7.63-second mark that won her the gold medal last month.
"I feel good about my performance at the AUS Championships and I'm hoping I can keep that confidence and have another great race," said the 21-year-old.
Smith's personal best of 7.63 seconds ranks her 11th in the country, but only six one-hundredth of a second separates her from the podium and third-ranked sprinters Tegan Sauer (Waterloo) and Sarah Hammond (Guelph). Rounding out the other two spots are Guelph's Shyvonne Roxborough (7.42s) and the University of Manitoba's Tegan Turner (7.43s).
"The preparation has been very good and I'm very confident we'll see her run her best Thursday evening," MacAdam said. "A good start and drive phase – which we have been diligently working on – is vital and after that it's just running."
Smith has been in a number of big races in the last 12 months and her pre-race routine has helped her find comfort at the starting block and confidence that she has what it takes to compete on the national stage.
"I've had a few good training days on the track as well as in the gym, keeping everything light," she said. "It's the end of the season and my body feels it, so I've been trying to keep on top of things to make sure I'm as healthy as I can be for my race."
After narrowly missing the cut a year ago, Smith is hoping to have a strong enough run to push her to the finals and a shot at the podium. And if the Mt. Stewart, P.E.I. native achieves a new personal best, even better, as it'll result in a new provincial indoor 60-metre record.
"Ultimately, I just want to do what I've been doing all season and have another great race (hopefully two), and end the season by making UPEI proud."
Catch her race live at 7 p.m. Atlantic Standard at usports.live. The finals are scheduled for 8 p.m. Atlantic.