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UNLV’s Smith, Seiler arrive on national scenes

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Both Colby Smith and David Seiler have enjoyed fantastic success this summer. However, the two UNLV athletes arrived at their sporting peaks by different means. Smith is the golfer from Colfax who last week claimed a spot in the U.S. Amateur Championship for the second straight summer. He’ll play at Chambers Bay Golf Club in University Place, Wash. later this month. Seiler is the Placer graduate who was an all-American in high school and has had mixed results in two years as a Runnin’ Rebel. He cherished every moment of his 100-meter butterfly race Thursday evening in Irvine after making a surprise trip to the final, which included 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Seiler worked relentlessly this summer in his quest to make a splash on the national scene, which he accomplished Thursday. He finished sixth overall – against the top talent in the country - and obliterated his personal best time in the 100 fly. Smith was thrilled with his performance on Monday; especially considering his golf game took a backseat for some of the summer. Smith shot rounds of 68 and 70 to earn co-medalist honors in U.S. Amateur qualifying at Peninsula Golf and Country Club in San Mateo. “The summer’s been spectacular,” Smith said. “I haven’t been playing a lot of competitive golf. Our college season lasted through the start of June and then I had a class that lasted through June and since I got here in July I’ve kind of been taking it easy.” Smith’s leisure time included a trip to Yosemite National Park, where he spent about a week enjoying another hobby – rock climbing. His most impressive achievement in Yosemite was an ascent of Higher Cathedral Spire – a 600-foot jaunt. Upon returning from his Yosemite trip, Smith picked up his clubs and began preparing for the U.S. Amateur qualifier. “I was rusty, but after about a week of practice I got it back,” Smith said. “It was nice to take a break, but I wasn’t sure what I would be able to shoot on that course.” Smith said he was hoping his golf game would be a little more refined after two years at UNLV, but he’s also had a splintered focus as school and other activities have become bigger priorities. “My game is a little behind where I was hoping to be, but it’s kind of been a trade-off,” Smith said. “College is a time to grow up and find out who you are and I’ve been doing that, so I think it’s a fair trade.” Don’t get Smith wrong. Golf is still a huge part of his life. He had an outstanding performance at the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Championships earlier this summer and is looking forward to testing himself at the prestigious U.S. Amateur. “To be going back there this year is really exciting,” he said. “I get to play a really cool course – it’s a long, links course that hopefully will play to my strengths. It’s just a great tournament.”