Paxton Smith: Boulder Beckons

Paxton Smith will make the transition this fall from Colorado's top high school program to Colorado's top collegiate program. Photo by Alan Versaw.


Paxton Smith's Best Marks

1600 Meters - 4:28.08 (at altitude)

3200 Meters - 9:17.94

5K Cross Country - 15:22


When did the dream of running for the University of Colorado begin?

I've wanted to attend the University of Colorado since I was a little kid. I was always a fan of the local team. It's been a dream of mine since I was very young to run at a prestigious running program too. Coach Dalby, however, was the one who introduced the Colorado distance program to me and started this dream. He lent me his copy of Running with the Buffaloes (that I still secretly have) and told me all about the great program Wetmore has going on. Ever since that first conversation with Dalby, running at Colorado has been my biggest dream.

What do you plan to study at CU?

I plan on studying business and education.

Everyone wants to know about the summer training at Mountain Vista. How frequent are the IHOP breakfasts, how many miles do you log, and the sort of thing? Tell us something of what the magic is.

Summer conditioning is my favorite training block. It's great to show up to practice at 7 am every morning with 80+ teammates every day from both the middle and high school level. I think it's very important to have a lot of people out because you know you are out there running for a lot of people and not just for yourself! Plus, with all the personalities there is never a dull moment and plenty of support among teammates. We are blessed with so many great trails to run on to keep workouts mixed up. We also do a fun activity about once a week normally after long run Friday. This normally includes breakfast at Panera, someone's house, or the most popular, IHOP. The waiters at IHOP also get quite the workout serving all of us! Sometimes we also go swimming or play frisbee afterwards as a team. The camping trip is also a great time to bond as a team and escape Highlands Ranch together. Also, we all try and run the 4th of July 5K together, which is a blast. Training wise, in the summer the varsity boys will get up to 60 miles. Coach Dalby let me get up to 70 a couple times this year. We always have a solid long run and start light workouts such as tempos in July after mileage block weeks in June. Summer is a combination of training and having fun together that creates a strong bond for the season.

You've now been to Woodbridge, to Arcadia, and NXN. Which one was the best experience, and why?

I've been blessed with so many great opportunities by going to these meets. Arcadia definitely slips to the bottom. I didn't enjoy being in my 3200 and mile heats without my boys. I love being on the line with those guys. Woodbridge and NXN were both super fun. I liked Woodbridge because it was exciting having our girls team with us. I missed them a lot at NXN. NXN would still have to be my favorite though by a thin hair. Running at nationals with the team has been a goal all my years here and it was so cool to accomplish that finally! It was extraordinary to meet all the pro athletes, meet people from across the country, and be treated like a professional athlete for the weekend. To see all that hard work pay off is the most rewarding feeling. Nationals was the ultimate goal and to say we were the 12th best team in the nation is something special.

What is it going to take to end Mountain Vista's string of state cross country titles?

I think it will be tough, but nothing is impossible. Programs like Boulder and Fort Collins are fantastic and can pull it off. I will tell you though that we have some hard working kids. The freshman class right now are great hard workers and that will take them very far. The Vista mentality has always been ambitious. Once we accomplish a goal, we don't think about it too much. We go to practice the next day, get back to work, and go after a new bigger goal. I think the right mindset, smart training, great team chemistry, and hard work are the ingredients to match Mountain Vista. However, Coach Dalby is always telling me that he's saving secret workouts for after I leave so I can't use them against him when I coach. So who knows!

What goals remain on the table for you for what's left of your high school career?

Most importantly I'm just enjoying my last month of being a Golden Eagle and apart of Vista Nation. I am going to miss it so much. Goals wise I want to get the school record for the 3200m at altitude which was set by one of my mentors and best friends Conner Weaver which is 9:24. Also, I would love to win the 3200 state title for Vista Nation, Coach Dalby, my family, and everyone else who has helped me on my journey.