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Eden runner headed to Allegheny

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
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Eden Christian senior Carter Smith (right) will join the cross country and track and field teams at Allegheny College this fall.

A strong distance program lured Eden Christian senior Carter Smith to Allegheny College, where he will join the men's cross country and track and field teams in the fall.

Smith won Eden Christian's first WPIAL title in any sport at the Class A boys cross country championship last fall (16 minutes, 46 seconds). He finished ninth in the state (16:53).

Smith, the WPIAL Class AA runner-up (4:27.84), was seventh in the 1,600-meter run at the PIAA track and field championships last month (4:25.51). He was fifth in the WPIAL (9:41.79) and eighth in the state (9:40.06) in the 3,200 run.

He also considered Pitt, Washington & Jefferson and Denison.

Allegheny coach Brent Wilkerson has high hopes for Smith.

“Carter's a unique blend in that he can do middle and long distances,” said Wilkerson, noting Smith is capable of running anywhere from 800 to 8,000 meters. “We look for him to be a multi-time all-America.”

Allegheny, which was second in the North Coast Athletic Conference, placed fourth of 54 teams at the NCAA Mideast Regional cross country championship last fall. The Gators qualified for the NCAA Division III meet for the ninth consecutive season, finishing 18th overall.

Allegheny placed third at the North Coast Athletic Conference indoor track and field championships this year. It also was third in the conference outdoors.

“It's a good program,” said Smith, 18.

Eden Christian coach Tommy Bresson said Smith was helpful to teammates, including sophomore Lauren Gronbeck, a WPIAL and PIAA finalist in the girls 3,200 run this spring.

“I loved seeing Carter and Lauren encourage each other on and off the track,” Bresson said. “Many times as I would talk to one of them after they ran, they were actually more interested in hearing about how the other did before talking about their own race.”

“Carter is a great kid,” Wilkerson said.

Smith, who wants to become a pharmacist, plans to study biochemistry.

He is the 10th Eden Christian athlete to commit to a college program, athletic director Steve Good said. Others have competed in basketball, swimming, rowing and soccer.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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