Caroline Smith, of Palm City, has taken her talents to Liberty University in Virginia, where she shines on and off the lacrosse field.
At 5:30 a.m., Caroline Smith is already awake and ready for a strenuous training session that includes biking, stretching and conditioning. It’s obvious that this 19-year-old isn’t your average college student.
Smith, who grew up in Palm City, plays lacrosse at Liberty University in Virginia, making her one of the first students from Martin County High School to be signed to a Division 1 school for lacrosse, she says. Smith picked up the sport in sixth grade after a club lacrosse team from Vero Beach made a presentation at Hidden Oaks Middle School.
“I went out and absolutely fell in love with it and have been playing every day ever since,” she says, adding that she enjoys the intensity of the sport and the sense of freedom that it gives her.
Smith has won countless awards and honors, including being named to the South’s team in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Underclassmen Games in 2013. She was the captain of her high school team for two years, and is part of the Liberty University team that was named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Academic Honor Squad for two consecutive years.
Smith, who is studying sports management, credits much of her success to her family, her faith and to growing up on the Treasure Coast.
A strong student academically at Martin County High School, Smith also was on the swim team and played on the lacrosse team. She has fond memories of her Florida childhood.
“We [would] go boating almost every single weekend,” Smith says of her family. “We [would] go out on the boat, go to the sandbar, go tubing and wakeboarding … it [was] a nice time for us to connect.”
Last summer, she spent three days a week with Bryan Graham and Helen Martin of Oceanside Physical Therapy and Performance Institute to improve her strength and fitness. Graham and Martin helped her fully recover from a hip injury from her freshman year. “Graham absolutely changed my life. … He helped get my body back into the shape and condition [so] that I didn’t have to get surgery,” Smith says.
When Smith returns home for the summer and the holidays, she’ll continue to train and push herself. She’s encouraged that the sport has “picked up speed rapidly” on the Treasure Coast.
“The speed and energy [of] this sport … draws kids of all ages and gets them hooked once they get even the smallest taste of lacrosse,” she says.