Lamar Smith

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Track and field records normally have a very limited life span. With high-tech training, an emphasis on nutrition and the improvement in equipment and facilities, those records are “made to be broken”. That is unless they were set by Western New York’s greatest sprinter of all time – Lamar Smith.

Smith was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. An immediate success on the track, Smith led Bennett High School to 55 wins against no losses during his time in school. He broke school records in all five events he ever entered, which included the 100, 220, 440-yard dashes and the mile and 440-yard relay. His records were all set in metered events covering the same distances.

Two of his times – 10.4 seconds in the 100 meters in 1981 and 21.1 seconds in the 200 meters in 1982 still stand as Western New York records.

Following his freshman season, Lamar entered the Jesse Owens Junior Olympic track competition at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA and became the national champion in the 100.

Lamar’s greatest achievement came in 1982 on the track at Cornell University. He won the state titles in both the 100 and 200 by setting state records in both events. He also anchored the 4×400 relay by running the last leg in a blazing 48 seconds. The relay time of 3:17.4 still stands as a Western New York record. Those achievements brought him national recognition when he appeared in Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd”.

Following the state meet in 1982, he was invited to the Golden West meet in San Francisco where he placed third nationally in the 200 meters and fourth in the country in the 100 meters. That year, New York State recognized Lamar as the track athlete of the year and he was named an All-American by the National High School Track Coaches.

After high school, he ran for the University of Alabama. While he was running for the Crimson Tide’s 4×400 relay team, the quartet placed 2nd in the 1983 NCAA Championship and 4th in the 1984 NCAA meet. He received All-American honors both years. Smith was also on Alabama’s sprint medley team that ran a world best time at the Drake Relays.

He would later transfer back to Buffalo and competed for the Buffalo State track team, where he still holds the school mark as a member of the 4×100 relay team (40.9) and earned 1986 All-American honors in the indoor 55-meter dash.

Smith is the only athlete to ever win the 100, 200 and 400 meter gold medals in the same Empire State Games (1984). That same year he competed in the Olympic Trials in the 400 meters, but missed the finals by one spot.