Danbury’s Smith smashing records in first indoor season

Danbury star sprinter Alanna Smith had seemingly set the bar for herself high enough in the spring of her junior year, when she won three events at the State Open.

She finished first in the 400 meters, the 200 meters and the 100 to become the first athlete to win three events since 2011.

Fast forward to this winter, Smith is running indoor track for the first time and is already smashing school records.

On December 30 at the North Shore Invitational at The Armory in New York, Smith broke the Danbury school record in the 300-meter race twice.

“It was crazy, she broke the record in the prelims and again in the final,” Danbury girls indoor track and field coach Nick Fraticelli said. “We knew that she would be pressed pretty good in the final because the girl behind her was really strong as well.”

In the preliminary race Smith finished in 39.50. She improved on her time in the finals to 38.86 seconds, finishing ahead of Sanaa Hebron of Neshaminy (Pa.) by .08 seconds.

“I was expecting to PR, but considering that I haven’t done the 300 much, I knew the girls I was running against were going to push me,” Smith said. “It was a very difficult race, but my coaches told me to just leave everything out on the track.”

Smith and Hebron’s times were good for the fourth and fifth best times in the country so far this year.

“Those were the fourth and fifth best times in the nation this year,” Fraticelli said. “That will probably be a top 10-15 time in the country even at the end of the year, but I think she is just going to improve from here.”

Smith’s time qualifies her for Nationals at the end of the season, but as it was made clear last spring, Smith doesn’t settle with winning just one race.

She also took first place in the 55-meter sprint later in the day, finishing in 7.12 seconds and qualifying for Nationals once again.

“When I saw the Armory twitter post saying it was the fourth fastest time in the country, I couldn’t believe it,” Smith said. “I didn’t realize I did that well, but it made me very excited for Nationals.”

It only took two career indoor track meets for Smith to reorganize the Danbury record books, and the stage has been set for dominant winter and spring seasons.

“After the State Open, I realized that if I train hard enough and keep persevering then I can do the same things in indoor,” Smith said. “I just need to recover quick, even when you think you have nothing left there is still a little left. I think about that and try to just dig a little deeper.”

Smith spent the fall and winter on the cheerleading team as a freshman and sophomore, but this fall made the transition to cross country. A decision that seems to already be paying off.

“Alanna and a few of the other girls said they would do it, and they have gotten such a good fitness base behind them,” Fraticelli said. “That has allowed us to do so much more with them earlier on this winter. It is starting to really make a huge difference, and you can see it in her.”

Danbury assistant coach Will Rangel was a big part of that decision. Rangel was a Class LL champion relay sprinter at Danbury in 2003 who ran cross country one season under Rob Murray.

This year, for the first time, Fraticelli and Rangel coached cross country as well, encouraging their athletes to follow the same path Rangel did at Danbury.

“Coach Rangel is very good about making workouts that he knows are going to help me in my races,” Smith said. “And at practice he always makes sure I am going full out because he knows if I give 110% in practice it will carry over into my meets.”

Smith was not a star cross country runner but used the time to build a strong foundation of conditioning heading into the track season.

“I was not the biggest fan of cross country being a sprinter, it was definitely very new,” Smith said. “But I think it helped me a lot in the 300 and will help in the 400.”

It seems whenever Smith steps between the lanes this season, something spectacular is always within the realm of possibility.

“The other day made me realize I should have been doing indoor my entire high school career,” Smith said. “But I am really excited about this year. I am hoping to get in the low 38s for the 300 and to break the school record in the 55 as well.”

Will.Aldam@hearstmediact.com; @AldamWill