TJ Golfer, Ben Smiley, Represents TJ at State
October 14, 2012 by Ty Roder
Smiley, a senior at TJ, enjoys playing golf and swimming along with spending time with his family.
For Senior standout Ben Smiley, golf comes first in the sports world for him, when so many other Americans obsess over football or baseball. His dedication to the game he loves has led him to reach new heights.
Born March 23, 1995 in Denver, Colorado to parents Jacque and Allen Smiley, Ben grew up admiring his older Brother Chris Smiley, who also attended TJ. Ben says that Chris set a great example growing up with his terrific grades throughout the years. Chris, a TJ graduate in 2010, now attends the Colorado School of Mines where he is studying Mechanical Engineering. Ben hopes to follow his brother’s footsteps or to go to Colorado State University.
Growing up in Denver, Smiley attended Carson Elementary and Hill Middle School. In the 5th grade, Ben’s father took him to Miravista Golf Course in Lowry for his first golfing experience. Smiley described this time as an enjoyable experience and it really sparked his love for golf. As a child, Smiley continued to play golf, but also spent time at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska with his family, where he has been going since he was three years old. Smiley continues to go there, and it has become a family tradition going to the lake every other weekend in the summer, where they wakeboard, water-ski, and jet-ski.
Coming into TJ, Smiley experienced golf before freshman year and even started with the early schedule that starts in the first week of August. Smiley played in many tournaments leading up to freshman year throughout the summer and was successful in making Varsity. As a senior, Smiley describes his time at TJ as very enjoyable. Smiley also participates in swimming and the Center for Communication Technology Magnet Program where he is an avid writer for the TJ Journal.
“Ben is a free living individual. This is apparent on the golf course because he never takes anything too seriously. He’s a hard worker and a nice human being. I thoroughly enjoy playing with Ben,” says Matthew Fabian, a fellow teammate and friend of Smiley’s.
Smiley describes his senior year of golf as the most successful season at TJ. Smiley shot a 75, which was three over par, to secure his spot at the 4A state tournament. Out of the eighty regional qualifiers, Smiley finished 5th. Smiley is seeded fifteenth out of eighty-four qualifiers statewide. At the state tournament on October 1st and 2nd at Cobble Creek golf course in Montrose, Colorado, Smiley shot a 92 on the first day and an 88 on the second day. “ It was a good experience. I didn’t play how I wanted to, but I’m very satisfied with what I accomplished this season. Making it to State my senior year really sums up my four-year career here at TJ,” said Smiley.
“A lot of hard work has paid off. I was really excited to compete at the state tournament after four years. I hope to play in college and this is another step to get there. Hopefully, I can continue to play golf well after my academic years and maybe someday I’ll be playing on the PGA tour,” states Smiley enthusiastically.
“Over the last year, he’s (Smiley) come into his own. Smiley has always been a genuine person and in the last month his golf game has really come together,” states Golf Assistant Coach and History Teacher Mark Smith. Smiley has stated multiple times his appreciation for his teammates and the support they have given him over the season.
Stacey Fornstrom, the head golf coach, said, ”Ben has become more patient on the golf course and as a person. He doesn’t beat himself up based on his golf results. His greatest strength as a golfer is that he’s a good ball striker. He hits it a long way and has a consistent swing. His putting has come around and his scores are catching up with his talent.”
Smiley says that he appreciates the TJ community and the support they have shown through the past couple weeks. The golf team, along with Smiley’s coaches, are so proud of their own Spartan teammate reaching new heights for the golf program. The Spartan community knows what a big accomplishment this is to Ben and the golf team, and it will set a standard for years to come.