Introducing college bound gymnast Justin Smith

Smith is the first NCFL male gymnast since 2016 to compete in college
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 6:56 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Since he was just three years old, Justin Smith and gymnastics have formed an inseparable bond and some major success.

“I’ve placed at nationals multiple times,” said Smith. “I’ve been on multiple teams that compete internationally. I went to Italy. That was pretty fun.”

The gymnast has been to 10 US Regional Championships and has been recognized as an Academic All-American during his four years at Buchholz. This year Smith also took home the 18-year-old State title in the all-around.

“It felt pretty good knowing that I’m the best in the state for seniors and juniors. So, I felt pretty good about that one.”

Now, Smith heads to Arizona State as the first North Central Florida male gymnast since 2016 to compete in college. Even though the Sun Devils are not a part of the NCAA, he is still looking forward to the challenge.

“Men’s gymnastics is not prominent in the NCAA because it’s not a money-making sport. It kind of sucks, but it’s going to continue on one way or another.”

Arizona State competes in the Gymnastics Association of College Teams, where the Sun Devils have been the reigning champs in their division for the past 15 years. Smith’s focus right now is improving his skills to continue the success.

“I’m working on like upgrading all of my routines to the point where I can compete all-around. Arizona State has a large team and if you are not up their standards, you are not going to be able to compete all-around.

Smith believes the work ethic he’s learned from the sport is unmatched.

“I think it teaches a lot of discipline. I think it’s really strong in discipline, and it teaches you that you need to work for things. If you don’t work for it, you don’t get it.”

And he is ready for his next chapter as a Sun Devil. Smith begins practice with his new squad in mid-August.

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