According to Colquitt County cross country coach Mell Wier, Richard Smith is the kind of athlete “who would run through a brick wall if you asked him to.”
And now Smith, who has run for the Packers cross country and track teams will take that mindset to the next level after signing on Wednesday to perform for the South Georgia College team in Douglas.
According to his grandmother Sandra Smith, Richard is the first Smith grandson to graduate and to get a college scholarship.
And he has earned it, Wier says.
“He’s smart,” Wier said. “He won’t have any trouble with academics. And he’ll work hard. He’ll do what they ask him to do.
“He’s one of those who will trust in the system and do the work.”
In fact, Smith is working during track season to get prepared for his next cross country season and ran the 2-mile in 11 minutes flat in Tuesday’s track meet at the high school.
He also runs the 1 mile and is on the 4x400 relay team.
Smith said he wants to begin work on a double major of business administration and physical education. He said he hopes one day to either coach at the high school or middle school level or own his own business.
For the next two years, he will get a chance to help build the cross country program at South Georgia, which is in its fourth year.
“We are happy to get him,” South Georgia coach Robert Preston said of Smith. “We want to continue to get guys from Colquitt County.”
Preston said he has signed four runners so far, including ones from Lowndes, Fitzgerald and Bradwell Institute.
“And they are all right there together,” Preston said. “And we are not done recruiting yet. We are still trying to add depth.”
Wier has three other former Colquitt County runners performing at the next level: Heath Lamb, who was an outstanding performer at Darton College before signing recently with Columbus State, and Ben Hoover and Lacey Webb, both freshmen at Darton.
And Wier said he thinks the South Georgia program is on the rise.
“He’s trying to get some top-notch kids to go over there,” Wier said. “And the kids he’s getting are all hard workers.”