U-M Student-Athlete Spotlight: Katie Smesko

Jan. 28, 2014

Following the signing of U-M's second recruiting class, all 10 members are being featured in a student-athlete spotlight, breaking down each future Wolverine, on and off the field.

Katie Smesko is a three-time varsity letterwinner (2011, '12, '13) and will play her final season at Ridgewood High School (Ridgewood, N.J.) this spring, alongside fellow future Wolverine Devon Maltz. Smesko and Maltz will represent the Maroons as co-captains during their senior season at Ridgewood.

In three seasons on varsity, Smesko has tallied 81 goals and 36 assists, helping lead Ridgewood to a combined 63-8 record, including a 16-2 mark in league play. The Maroons have won three straight Stars & Stripes Division and Bergen County titles with Smesko as a member of the team, giving Ridgewood nine consecutive county crowns.

As a junior in 2013, Smesko's 43 goals and 16 assists helped Ridgewood win the New Jersey Group 4 North Sectional State title and cap the season ranked 20th nationally. She recorded three seven-point outings, including a four goal-three assist effort in the sectional final game. Following the season, she was named first team All-Bergen County, first team All-Suburban by The Ridgewood News, second team All-North Jersey by The Bergen Record and second team All-Stars Division.

Smesko's sophomore season (2012), where she tallied 24 goals and 13 assists, was highlighted by winning the New Jersey Group 4 North State title and finishing the season ranked No. 15 nationally. She earned All-Bergen County honorable mention honors at the conclusion of the season.

Smesko made an immediate impact in her first year on varsity as a freshman, helping her team capture its second straight New Jersey Tournament of Champions title and finish the season ranked 10th nationally. Individually, Smesko contributed 14 goals and seven assists to the team's title run.

The right-handed attacker and Maltz were also club lacrosse teammates, where they played for STEPS ELITE. In addition to lacrosse, Smesko also competed in basketball for two years (2011, '12) and soccer for one year (2010) at Ridgewood.

Collegiate lacrosse runs in the Smesko family, as Katie's sister, Kelci, is a sophomore attacker for Duke's women's lacrosse team.

Off the field, Smesko is a two-year Honor Roll member (2012, '13) and is a member of the Ridgewood Latin Honor Society.


Smesko photo Katie Smesko
Ridgewood, N.J.
Ridgewood High School

What attracted you to the University of Michigan?
"The fact that the university offers a combination of academic excellence that is well known, as well as a highly competitive athletics program that is strongly supported by the school. Both of these elements together create endless opportunities for a student-athlete."

What are your thoughts about continuing to help Michigan build its women's lacrosse program?
"I am so excited to continue my lacrosse career on the Michigan women's lacrosse team. I know that we can succeed even as a young program because of the driven coaching staff, the talent of the players, and the full support of the University. I am thrilled to be a part of this new program as a member of Team Two and I look forward to helping the team get this program off to a great start. I know it will require a lot of hard work, but it will also be a lot of fun and it will be an amazing experience being a Michigan Wolverine."

What do you like about Michigan/Ann Arbor from what you've seen so far?
I love how Ann Arbor is a college town and has a great downtown full of restaurants and shops. The campus is beautiful and the athletic facilities are top of the line. I especially really like how Michigan highly values tradition."

What is your favorite lacrosse moment of all-time?
My favorite lacrosse moment of all-time was playing on the varsity team as a freshman and winning the NJ TOC state championship that year with my team -- our second consecutive NJ TOC title."

How did you first get involved in lacrosse?
Ridgewood has a reputation for a great youth program that starts in the third grade. Also, after watching my older sister play and seeing how much she loved it, I really wanted to play too."

Do you have any talents or hobbies that you're willing to share? If so, please explain.
I have been playing the piano for 10 years. I enjoy playing more modern and contemporary music, rather than classical, for example, songs by Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen."

Who is your role model, and why?
My older sister, Kelci, is my role model because she is such a hard worker and I have seen how it has paid off for her. She is also a very fun person to be around and someone I can really trust."

What do you enjoy doing when you're not playing lacrosse?
I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. I also really enjoy going to the beach and visiting New York City."

Favorite food ... Ice Cream
Favorite band/artist ... Darius Rucker
Favorite movie ... The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey Version)
Favorite TV show ... Friends
Favorite book ... The Hunger Games
Favorite subject/class taken ... Math
Favorite professional athlete ... Eli Manning
Favorite place to visit/vacation ... The New Jersey Shore
Favorite sport besides lacrosse ... Football
Favorite holiday ... Christmas

• Previous Spotlight: Katie Melvin (1/23/13)

Contact: Whitney Dixon (whitdix@umich.edu)