Sept. 14, 2011
With her recent induction into the Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame, Shauna Smith had a chance to sit down with WyomingAthletics.com for the latest installment of "Where Are They Now." Smith is remembered as UW's first student-athlete to win an event at the outdoor NCAA track and field meet and is also one of several recent Pokes to pursue a sports career at the professional level.
A native of Sheridan, Smith ended her UW track career as one of the most decorated and distinguished runners in school history. She was the 2005 NCAA champion in the 400-meter hurdles, becoming the first UW student-athlete to win an individual event at the outdoor national meet. She was a five-time All-America honoree and was the 2005 Mondo Midwest Regional Athlete of the Year. She was named most outstanding women's performer at the Drake Relays in 2005, one of the top collegiate events in the country, and received Mountain West Athlete of the Week three times. She won two conference crowns during her career, while establishing seven UW indoor and outdoor school records.
Smith's achievements established her as one of the best hurdlers in the world, and she was awarded with a spot of the USA Track and Field team. In the summer of 2005, Smith advanced to the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles of the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
You ended your UW career in 2005. What have you been up to since then?
After my collegiate career ended in 2005, I decided to pursue the opportunity to run track and field professionally. My family and I moved from Laramie to San Diego in the winter of 2005 to help with this transition. I ran professionally for almost four years, traveling and competing internationally. However, in 2008, I decided to take a step back from the sport to refocus my life priorities. I enjoyed my time as a professional athlete but felt like there was another plan for me and I wanted to do more for others. It was then that I decided to return to school to pursue a second degree in nursing. Since then, I have graduated and now work in an intensive care unit in a hospital in downtown Phoenix.
My career as professional athlete had its highs and its lows. I placed top three in the U.S. in the 400-meter hurdles two years in a row, both in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 I was plagued with an injury that kept me from competing at the U.S. national meet and most of the international circuit that summer. And after needing to refocus my priorities, I decided to take some time to step away from the sport in 2008 before the Olympic trials.
Tell us about your family.
My family is my heart and soul and the No. 1 priority in my life. They are the reason why I do anything.My husband, Corey Henson, and I have been together since we were in high school and have now been married for five years this summer. We have one son, Courtney DeShawn Henson, who turns 11 this summer. Balancing family has always been a priority in my life.
Tell us about your job.
It is a challenging and fast-paced environment and I'm excited to begin my career while obtaining a strong foundation in critical care.
Do you still follow Wyoming track and field?
I keep in touch with my Coach Don Yentes. He will always have a special place in my heart. I try to keep in touch with how each season is going and how the team is doing. If there is a meet nearby where I live and UW is participating, I try to come to show my support and to catch up with my coach and old teammates.
Do you have any plans to compete in track again?
I would like to compete again if given the opportunity to do so. I feel I'm stronger mentally today and in a better place with balancing my family, work and everything else. I'm hoping to balance work and compete again this next year while trying to make a run for the Olympic Team in 2012. We will see what happens.
Several of your UW records still stand. What do you think of that?
I think it is great for anybody who works hard to see a record broken. I worked hard during my collegiate career, so whoever breaks any record that still stands is deserving of it. I'm proud of the records that I set during my career as a Cowgirl. But as the old adage goes, "Records were made to be broken."
What was the most memorable moment you had as a Cowgirl?
I had many memorable moments while at Wyoming. I have many fond memories of spending quality time with my teammates and traveling. The most memorable moment I had as a Cowgirl was probably winning the 400-meter hurdle NCAA title in 2005. Even though I had the fastest time going into nationals, I still was not the favorite to win. Even after I crossed the finish line, I still couldn't believe that I had won. After I saw my name and they announced I won, I was overcome with a lot of emotion. That moment was the result of a lot of hard work over the previous four years, in addition to the sacrifices and difficult times my family and I had gone through while trying to raise a child and earn our college degrees. And the fact that most of my family was there to share it with me made even that much more memorable.
Where Are They Now Archives
July 12, 2011 - Brian Lee (Football)
July 22, 2011 - Laura Mengelkamp (Women's Golf)
Aug. 5, 2011 - Nichole Rider (Women's Basketball)
Aug. 25, 2011 - Lynn Stetson (Swimming & Diving)