The satisfaction painted on Madison Smith’s face came brushed with a smile, and no athlete at the Class B state championships in Omaha could strip it away.
After coming close to a gold medal in multiple events during her first two seasons with Lexington, the junior Minutemaid had finally met a set of lofty goals that stoked her competitive fire long before each of her trips to the podium in May at Burke Stadium.
"I felt very accomplished," Smith said. "It was like all my previous years at state just went behind me and I could finally forget about the dissatisfaction."
The back-to-back Telegraph Track Athlete of the Year, who won bronze and silver medals in the 100, 200 and 400-meter finals a year ago, won four medals at this year’s state meet on May 18. Smith won three of four individual events — long jump, 100-meter and 200-meter sprints — while adding a bronze in the 400.
And each year she adds a new piece to her repertoire.
Smith took on the long jump event earlier in the season, and quickly foreshadowed her newfound dominance in Omaha. Despite being her first event of the weekend, Smith set a mark of 19 feet, 1-inch on her very first attempt.
But the best was yet to come.
"I always tell myself to just be the best I can be," Smith said. "It’s nothing new, but every year I have more potential to be a better version on and off the track."
Smith followed her first gold in Omaha with the second best qualifying sprint for the 100, 200 and 400 during day one. That led to redemption in the form of two more golds.
She completed her junior season by running a 12.3-second 100-meter final, later adding another first-place finish with a 25.05 in the 200.
But Smith knows that with one year remaining in her decorated high school career, the feeling of dissatisfaction must remain at bay. The junior admitted that a title defense in all three events can’t come soon enough.
"I am really just going to work my butt off to make the same things happen," Smith said. "Hopefully greater things will come of me going into my senior year. I really love what I do, and I believe if I want something bad enough I will have the potential and drive to make it happen."
And she might add another event to her bag of tricks.
"I don’t know exactly what I’ll do next season besides my main events, but some meets I might get thrown into some new events," Smith said. "I’m going to experiment with new things and find out exactly what I can do well and succeed at."