All-American effort: Buffalo Babes Smith, French run at Junior Olympics in NM

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

Sonora Wildcat senior Samantha Smith has been named an All-American after her 11th-place finish at the 2012 United States Track and Field Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

Smith competed with the Buffalo Babes team, a division of the Buffalo Chips running club, based out of the Sacramento area. She finished the 5K event in 20:43.59, which helped her team to a second-place finish.

She is one of 10 runners from the Buffalo Babes team to earn All-American status.

"Sammy has been a cross country team captain for the last three years and is a great person," said her Wildcat cross country head coach Glenn Bass. "In addition to being an athlete, she is an outstanding scholar."

She was recently offered an academic scholarship to Troy University in Alabama.

"It was a great performance that helped us get second place at the national competition," said Buffalo Babes team manager Joe Hartman. "She's just a delightful kid and it's going to be tough to lose her."

Hartman noted that Smith, who has been running for Buffalo Babes since she was a sophomore, has gone to several Junior Olympics and Saturday was her first time earning All-American.

"This was her highest finish so that was a good way for her to go out," he said.

Also for the Buffalo Babes, Tori French, ran for a top 100 finish in the 3K event.

The Soulbyville seventh-grader passed more than 18 runners in the last 400 meters on her way to placing 97th out of 263.

"In the last kilometer of the race that's when she does best, she's got a great kick," said Hartman of French. "She times her race just right. She's pretty savvy for a young runner. I'm sure that coach Bass is looking forward to her getting to high school."

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The Union Democrat
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