Track apps

Homeschool athlete to represent Tulsa at 2022 Junior Olympics

A homeschooled athlete will represent Tulsa at the 2022 Junior Olympics in North Carolina on Thursday.

Cristian Smith loves racing, but more importantly he loves winning.

When he’s on the track, he says he’s as focused on the laser as possible.

“When I run… it makes me feel good,” said Cristian.

Cristian is representing the Tulsa Northeast Oklahoma Association of Homeschools (NOAH) at this year’s Junior Olympics.

The NOAH program helps kids stay involved in athletics while learning at home.

This is a team where assistant coach Mark Brandenburgh says that community can come together.

“The Tulsa NOAH group, which is multi-sport, but particularly athletic, is that special place,” Brandenburgh said.

Brandenburgh says Cristian has the tools to be a successful athlete, like talent and good coaches around him.

But he says Cristian’s greatest quality is his work ethic, which goes beyond his years

“Every time we say on our group app that we’re going to practice, even in the offseason, he shows up,” Brandenburgh said. “He’s usually the first one there.”

Cristian finished fourth at the AAU Region 16 meet in June.

He says his favorite event is the 1500 meter race.

He can certainly run fast when it’s meeting time, and he knows it too.

“The 1500…my best time is 5:24,” Cristian said.

Cristian says he does other sports but wants to focus mainly on the track.

As for what he wants to be when he grows up, he already has his answer.

“It’s the sport I want to focus on,” Cristian said. “When I grow up, that’s what I want to be…he’s a track star.”

Cristian will run the 1500 meter race at North Carolina A&T University.