BLOOMINGTON — Danville senior Denzel Smith spent four seasons playing basketball for the Vikings.
During that stretch, his team never contended for a conference championship and only once in that time did the Vikings reach a regional championship contest.
On Thursday night, Smith in his first season with the boys track team claimed the Big 12 Conference championship in the high jump with a winning leap of 5 feet, 11 inches. Unfortunately, the Vikings came up eight points short of winning both the indoor and outdoor conference championships. Bloomington had a first and three seconds in the final three events to claim the title.
”This is my first year in track and I feel like I accomplished a big goal winning the conference title,’’ said Smith, whose only event on Thursday was the high jump. “I came out for the team this year for coach and the team. They needed someone in the high jump to get them points and coach Steve Luke convinced me that I could do it.’’
Smith’s season best is 6-foot, but with wet, cold and windy conditions at Fred Carlton Field in Bloomington, the senior had only one miss en route to clearing 5-11.
”Denzel has almost been a model citizen and to be honest, I’ve been happy coaching the kid,’’ Luke said. “It’s been fun watching him this season.
”Tonight, he was one of the ultimate team players for us and he has been there every day this season. He got us off to a great start with an upset win in the high jump.’’
Smith is a two-time Commercial-News Player of the Year in basketball and he’s already signed to play basketball at Wabash Valley College for former DACC coach Mike Carpenter next season. So, why did he add track in his senior season?