When you are a talented and tireless student and athlete, good things happen to you — just ask Heritage High School’s Sarah Smith.
The now graduated Patriot didn’t exactly set out to be the school’s Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, but her skills and smarts forged a path straight to the award.
“It’s surreal to be honest,” she said, after winning the award. “It was honestly something that was in the back of my mind, but not something that I really wanted to work toward. School has just always kind of been a big part of my life. I have always kind of worked hard and been an athlete since I was little.”
The soccer, cross-country and track standout, who’s headed to Sacramento State on a soccer scholarship, will leave a trail of academic and athletic success in Brentwood.
She garnered continual President’s Honor Roll recognition; esteemed accolades for achieving over seven semesters with a 4.0 GPA or higher; took advanced placement classes beginning as a sophomore; took part in unified sports; was a student body president and she even held an off-campus job.
Not to be left out: she was an athletic force.
Smith was a four-year all-Bay Valley Athletic League soccer star. She garnered all-league honors in her only cross-country season — finishing third at the league championship meet as a senior. She posted an impressive second-place with a time of 5:53.30 in her first and only 1600-meter track competition this year before the season was scrapped due to shelter-in-place restrictions.
“Sarah is more than just sports,” said her Heritage soccer coach Gary LaFleur. “She is a true leader everywhere on campus. She displays tremendous pride, helps others and has led multiple teams to incredible seasons.”
Heritage Athletic Director Nate Smith agrees.
“Sarah Smith is as well-rounded and as exemplary a role model for Heritage athletics as I could possibly imagine,” he said.
Sarah’s academic and athletic feats figure to steadily rise in the coming years.
She’s set to join the Hornets soccer team while studying biology in hopes of one day attending medical school to become a doctor.
The goals are lofty, but Smith wouldn’t want it any other way.
For her, taking on challenges has become a way of life.
In the footsteps of two older successful athletic siblings, Sarah burst onto the sports scene as a young soccer player, and was equally as motivated to succeed academically when school rolled around.
The student-athlete lifestyle frequently left her with little free time, but has helped pave the way for her success in sports and school, she said.
“I couldn’t imagine my life without sports and school, because being so busy, I am not allowed to procrastinate,” she said. “I am able to organize my time and get stuff done when I need to get them done, because I know I won’t have time later.”
Those same life skills will continue to help her when she will join the Sacramento State soccer team in August.
If the past is any indication, success for her will follow.
“I am a little bit nervous, a little bit excited, all of the above, but overall it’s really exciting,” she said.