Smith jumps way to two titles

Derrick Mahone


Last week was a good one for Lovejoy high jumper D.J. Smith, who won two track and field championships.

At the beginning of last week, Smith won the Clayton County Championships with a jump of 7-feet, two inches at Southern Crescent Stadium.

This past weekend, Smith cleared 7-4 to win the Westlake Relays, and in the process recorded the top jump in the nation this season.

The soft-spoken Auburn signee didn't know he had the nation's top jump until it was announced over the stadium's public address system.

"I just know now I have to get a little higher if I want to reach my goal," Smith said.

"I've worked hard at it. I know I have to work harder because I know my competition is working hard."

Smith has set his goal to win his third straight state championship with a record 7-feet, eight-inch leap.

The Class AAAAA and all-class record is 7-3.5 set by Dothel Edwards of Cedar Shoals in 1983.

State records can only be set or broken at the state meet in Jefferson, where timing and measuring devices are deemed to be more accurate. The Class AAAAA high jump is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on May 13 at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson.

Smith's previous best leap was 7-2.5 in Michigan last summer.

He finished fourth in the world that summer with a jump of 7-foot in Italy.

For now, Smith's main goal is to improve his jumps at region and state to get the record.

"I know my window of opportunity is small," Smith said.

"I have to remind myself everyday that a lot of people don't get an opportunity.

My parents always remind me to stay grounded and humble."