Note: The following appears in the Florida State gameday football program.
Rebekah Smith can thank her freshman-year friends during high school for pushing her to try a different sport. Smith gave up cheerleading and dance to showcase her natural ability to run.
Smith was raised by her mother, and she became her biggest inspiration and support system in her life.
“I never thought I would be able to reach what she always knew I could do. She always sees more potential in me than I ever could.”
Her track career was quite different in her high school years than at the college level.
At the home of the Silver Foxes, Dutch Fork High School, track was a popular sport and everyone seemed to be involved in it. It was a care-free atmosphere and not as competitive as other schools across the state.
“We did not go to New Balance Nationals and compete throughout the summer, so I never really knew about all the opportunities the track world had to offer.”
Growing up outside of Columbia, Smith knew all about the Gamecock program and decided that it was too close to home for her college experience.
“Clemson is not too far from home and it’s another home away from home.”
The success of the Tiger track program was another motive for her choice to attend Clemson.
The decision of pursuing track at a Division I level changed once offers started appearing at her doorstep. At first, it was many smaller schools that started to reach out to her, but she knew she could compete at a top program.
Marvin Gibson, who is entering his sixth season as Clemson’s assistant coach of the sprint and relay groups, has coached Smith all four years of her college career.
“When I met Rebekah out of high school, she was very young to the sport,” explained Gibson. “Her knowledge, commitment and sacrifice grew as she grew. She is a gift that any coach would be happy to have, so I am very thankful for her.”
Smith was first-team All-American on the 4x100m team in 2017, and she was a second-team All-American in the 100m in 2019 and on the 4x100m team in both 2018 and 2019.
Smith has been an NCAA Championships participant five combined times for the 100m and 4x100m, indoor ACC champion for the 60m in 2017 and has received All-ACC honors nine times, seven of which have been individual.
She is in the top 10 of the Tiger recordbook in several events, including 60m (fourth), 200m indoors (sixth), 100m (second) and 4x100m (first).
Smith was a part of the 2019 Team USA squad at the U-23 NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean) Championships, where she was a contributor towards the gold medal winning 4x100m team.
She has already received her undergraduate degree in just three years with a major in psychology and minor in youth development. She is currently working towards her master’s degree in human resource development.
Smith hopes to go into the medical field, possibly in pharmaceutical sales.
“I have always wanted to do something in the medical field, but I don’t want to put needles in anyone, so I thought, ‘Why not sell the products and still be able to receive the medical aspect?’”
After concluding her final track season, Smith is going to miss the tremendous bonds that have been formed along with the support system of her teammates.
Her message to anyone is to “live life for yourself and not for anyone else.”