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Whether it's racing to lunch or around the track, Glendive's Kohbe Smith having a season to remember

Kohbe Smith
Posted at 6:02 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 21:41:06-04

BILLINGS — If Kohbe Smith wants to get playing time at wide receiver as a freshman in the fall at Dickinson State — and he does — the Glendive senior figures he’ll have to add about 10 to 20 pounds.

Good thing, then, that Smith and his friend Konley Barthel get a solid lunch just about every school day. They take a roughly six-mile drive from Dawson County High School to Jefferson Elementary, where Konley’s mom Kara, a teacher at the school, has a freshly prepared lunch awaiting them.

Kohbe Smith
Glendive's Kohbe Smith had the top 200 and 400 times in Class A heading into the weekend.

Then it’s a rush to get back to the high school where Smith pounds more snacks between classes to finish out his day.

“I eat all the time,” Smith said. “I mean, all day.”

While the goal is to pack on weight for football season, the ultra-busy Smith (he competes in football, baseball, basketball and track and field in Glendive) is just happy now to maintain the 150 pounds he’s got on his 6-foot frame. Competing in six events for the Red Devils track and field team burns up a lot of calories.

After one podium finish as a sophomore — Smith was sixth at the Class A state meet in the 400-meter run in 2022 — he broke through last season when he claimed the 400 title.

That victory was a bit of a surprise, even though he had good times heading into the event. Prior to the state meet, having already pre-qualified by reaching the standard, Smith and his coaches elected to sit out the 400 at the divisional meet.

It turned out to be a beautiful day to run, and those that did compete posted times that sent Smith tumbling down the 400 rankings. So much so that he was relegated to the 10th lane in the first heat at the state meet.

Running in the 10th lane for the 400 isn’t ideal, because in a staggered start you’re out there on your own with little idea of how close other runners are until they either pass you or you turn down the stretch.

Somehow, Smith used that to his advantage and took home the top prize, even running a personal-best 49.34 at the time.

“When he got into the blocks we just told him to run and make sure you don’t see anybody,” Red Devils track coach Tom Temple said with a laugh. “Just run away from everybody. And he did.”

If last season was a breakthrough, this season has been one for breaking records.

Just last week, in setting PRs in the 200 (22.01), the 400 (49.27) and the long jump (22 feet, 7.5 inches) during the Glendive Shriners Invitational, Smith set track records at Glendive’s Oakland Athletic Complex at Perham Field.

Temple said Perham Field records have been kept since the 1960s, so Smith broke some long-held marks. In fact, Smith now holds four Perham Field records: Last season, his distance of 43-6 broke a triple jump record that dated back to the late '60s.

“If you have track records down at Perham Field, you’re pretty elite,” Temple said.

The Class A rankings also say Smith is pretty elite.

Going into the weekend, he has the top mark in the 200 (22.01), the 400 (49.27), the long jump (22-7.5) and the triple jump (45-11). Smith is also seventh in the 100 (11.27) and runs an anchor on the Red Devils’ third-ranked 1,600-meter relay team.

Temple balances all this by spreading out Smith’s events during the regular season to save his legs.

For example, Smith’s 49.27 clocking in the 400 last week that vaulted him to the top of the rankings was just the second time he’s run that event all season.

“I’m just starting to come around just about the right time,” said Smith, who will also run track at DSU in addition to his football duties. “I’m just getting back into how I know I can run and jump. I was kind of the same way last year; I didn’t really start coming around until the end of the year.

“At the beginning of this year I was kind of off and on. I had some good jumps, but now I kind of know where I want to be.”

Temple said Smith’s success is all pretty simple, really. Temple praised the work of jump coach Jim Temple (Tom’s brother) and longtime Glendive coach Jim Person, who coaches the sprints.

And on top of that, there’s this: “He’s just a multi-talented kid,” Tom Temple said. “And it boils down to the fact he’s fast. He’s got speed, and you can do a lot of things with that.”

Smith flew nearly 41 feet in the triple jump during his freshman season, something that made the Red Devils coaches stand up and take notice. This kid’s gonna be good, they said to one another.

And sure enough, Smith proved them right.

“He’s just one of a kind,” Temple said. “Geez, you could coach for a long time and never have a kid as talented as Kohbe. You could have a whole career and not have a kid as talented as him.”

Now that’s something to chew on.