On Saturday, Wil Smith made a little bit of history when he became the third Spokane high school alum to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile. The Gonzaga University sophomore surged past Duncan Hamilton on the final lap and took away the Montana State standout’s Podium record at the 32-team meet. This was a remarkable feat, as Smith isn’t known for his speed and Hamilton had won the 800 meters on Friday evening, as well as being the runner-up in the NCAA outdoor 3,000 steeplechase last June.
Smith had to talk his way into running in Saturday’s Washington State Open at the Podium and he went into Gonzaga coach Pat Tyson’s office on Monday to lobby to run this mile. With the help of a field with Hamilton and Arizona’s Iker Sanchez Lopez, Smith was just a stride behind Hamilton through the first six laps on the Podium’s 200-meter banked track. He then made his move with 150 to go and finished in 3:59.36 – a narrow .28 under the year-old facility record.
This was a remarkable feat, as only Rick Riley among Spokane high school grads has run a faster mile – 3:59.2 at the old Pac-8 championships in 1970. Mead alum Laef Barnes ran 3:59.96 for UCLA in 2008. Both marks were made outdoors. Smith was able to beat both of these records and it was something of a put-up-or-shut-up moment for him.
Three other events produced Podium collegiate bests, led by Eastern Washington’s Bobby Say with a triple jump of 51 feet, 2¾ inches. Montana State’s Lucy Corbett high jumped 6-½, and Utah Valley’s Caleb Furnell equaled the men’s 200 collegiate record of 21.22. Smith’s remarkable feat is paving the way for other younger athletes to be inspired and attempt to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile.
Wil Smith’s incredible feat of breaking the 4-minute barrier in the mile is a remarkable accomplishment that is inspiring other younger athletes. Smith, a Lewis and Clark graduate, was able to beat the records of Rick Riley and Laef Barnes, both of whom have run a faster mile. Smith’s remarkable feat is paving the way for other younger athletes to be inspired and attempt to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile.