Tyson Smith Soars From High School Sports to College Athlete


Rena Smith

“He is a very kind soul to those that he is close with and is never afraid to speak his mind,” senior Jacob Cunningham said. “He is an absolute unit on the lacrosse field, always giving out huge hits to anyone who would challenge him.”

Nyxie Gile, Staff Writer

The lacrosse season kicked off in eary March, and one of the DRHS lacrosse players is also an Eagles’ offensive lineman football player — Tyson Smith. He’s been playing football since freshman year and lacrosse since he was a sophomore. Although Smith won’t be playing this year due to injury, he’ll still be a part of the team, helping with drills and running plays.

Smith talked with The Cord News about his lacrosse experience.

Q: Do you get to know the players on the lacrosse team pretty well?

Smith: Yeah, we do this thing called hell week, the first week of practice. It’s just to weave out the people who don’t actually want to be there, and at the end of the week we do a team bonding movie thing that we all sit there and watch together. So we do a lot of team bonding stuff for lacrosse. We get to know pretty much everybody pretty well.

Q: How long is the season?

Smith: If you go deep into the playoffs, it’ll last until after we graduate. 

Q: How have we done in the past?

Smith: My sophomore year we were okay, we didn’t really do that great. And then last year was the first time we’ve ever been to the playoffs. We didn’t win that game, but it was still a pretty good mark for us to get to the playoffs for the first time.

Q: Are you expected to do well this year?

Smith: Yeah. We’ve moved down a class too, so we’re in 4A now. So we’re playing, still a pretty good team, but it’s just less competition than it would be in 5A.

Q: How does lacrosse compare to football?

Smith: Dak is the head coach for lacrosse, he coaches football too, so in a sense it ties together like the way practice runs. But obviously they’re two different sports, it’s gonna be two different things, but when he talks to us about being a family, and working together, it’s essentially the same thing, lacrosse and football.

Q: What’s the difference in physical exertion?

Smith: Football is definitely more physically demanding than lacrosse, just because lacrosse has more rules on how physical you can be. But lacrosse is definitely a lot more running than football is.

Q: What do you enjoy more?

Smith: I enjoy playing football more, I don’t know. I feel like I’m an angry person, and I get to use that, like when I’m playing football, without getting in trouble for it.

Q: Are the injuries different?

Smith: Anything can happen in football, really, just cause it’s so physical. But in lacrosse, I’d say the main injuries you get are like shin splints, so it’s not like a major injury, it’s just a little fracture in your shins…so it just causes you some soreness and pain for about a week. If you get hit with a ball, that’s pretty painful too. Nothing like super serious I would say.

“He works harder than most — is very self sufficient,” senior Jacob Cunningham said. “He is someone I think very highly of and am very glad to have met.” (Nick Lew)

Q: How much time do you have to train in lacrosse every week compared to football?

Smith: The practices are about the same, and then it just depends on how much extra work you do.

Q: What’s the extra work?

Smith: For football you do more footwork drills and remembering plays, and for lacrosse it’s more like catching, and passing, and stick skills, and, like, going to the gym or something.

Q: Do a lot of football players play lacrosse to stay involved?

Smith: I think there’s four of us that play lacrosse.  So, yeah, it’s a good way to keep in shape and stay involved.

Q: You just signed with a college. Can you explain what that process is and what that means for you?

Smith: So, the recruit process–it was long. I started when I was a freshman, and it took me till December of my senior year to get everything situated and where I wanted to go. 

Q: When you say you start in that process freshman year, are you reaching out to schools?

Smith: I’m reaching out to schools, schools are reaching out to me, my coach is doing a bunch for us to get out there as well. One of our coaches actually is an NFL agent, and coach Woj has a bunch of connections with college coaches, too, so he gets all of our names out there pretty well.

Q: Did you get recruiters out to see you play?

Smith: That, and then we have film too that we can send them, and if they like us enough, they’ll either come out and see us in person or we’ll go out to that college and go on a visit.

Q: Who did you sign with?

Smith:  Chadron State.

Q: How did that come about?

Smith: At first I was initially going to go to CSU Pueblo, but at that camp, that’s where I got injured and I tore my ACL, and then the coaches just kinda stopped talking to me after that. Chadron State kept talking to me and kept pushing for me, so I went out there a couple times, and they treated me more like family than just another number. That’s why I mainly chose them. 

“His comedic relief is something that we all look forward to as a team,” senior Jacob Cunningham said. (Rena Smith)

Q: Is it a full ride? 

Smith: I’m on a PWO right now, which is a preferred walk on which is a guaranteed roster spot without money, just because he wants to see how I do up there with my knee. But he said more than likely I’ll get scholarship money after. At the D2 level they don’t give out full rides so they can spread out scholarships more amongst players, but I’ll get half tuition, and I think tuition is like twenty thousand right now, and then I got almost eight for my grades, and then they’ll cover half of whatever else is left. 

Q: How do you feel about leaving Colorado — leaving friends and family?

Smith: I’m honestly fine. I mean, it’s not too far from where everyone else is going to be. It’s only about five hours from here, so it’s not horrible, and I’ve moved from state to state and city to city my whole life, so I’m kind of used to it. 

Q: What are you going to miss the most about high school?

Smith: Probably just having the freedom of doing whatever I want, basically. I know at college I’ll have a lot of that stuff, but like being around people and where I know everyone, and I’m friends with everyone and people know who I am. Everyone knows who each other is. I guess the one thing I will miss the most is Friday nights where you are going to games and being around your friends all the time.

Q: Is that a tough thing between you and your girlfriend?

Smith: Not really. For us, we’ve kinda talked about it already. We’re going to go through long distance — we’re going to try it. I think it’s good we’re going to two different colleges anyway because being in the same place with your same friends in high school, and being in the same environment the whole time, you’re never going to grow from that. I think us being at different colleges will really allow us to find ourselves and if we want to keep going with it. 

Q: If you were to give any advice to younger students, what would it be?

Smith: Just try. I mean, it’s really not that hard to get through a lot of stuff. As long as you put effort in, even if you don’t succeed that well, as long as people see you putting the effort in, they’ll be more than likely willing to help you out if you’re struggling. Just put effort in.