Madi Smith Profile


Courtesy of Madi Smith

By Alexander Schnedecker, Reporter

Junior Madi Smith of Tamalpais High School is an exceptional lacrosse player in the Bay Area.

“Smith is really an exceptional athlete because although she is this top D1 recruit, she puts others before herself and treats everyone equally,” Tam lacrosse co-captain and friend Annie Shine said.

Smith began playing lacrosse in seventh grade, which is generally considered pretty late, she said. “Lacrosse is not really big on the West Coast. Although it’s getting bigger over time, I started playing late because I just didn’t know what it was.” 

Smith was born in Canada and raised in New Jersey along with her sister. In second grade, she moved to Marin County, Calif., due to her father’s work. Growing up, sports were huge in the Smith household, Smith said, with her father, Mike Smith, almost winning a lacrosse national championship at the University of Virginia and her mother, Karen Smith, who also attended UVA and ran track.

Her main influence for playing lacrosse came from her sister. “My sister started playing and she was my role model, so I kind of followed what she did, so then I ended up playing because of her,” Smith said. 

Prior to the 2020 pandemic, Smith said she and her sister were not very close. Once the pandemic hit, they started playing lacrosse every day and getting a lot closer, she said, which was vital for Smith’s development as a player and person. In two years, she said she is planning to attend Northwestern University where her sister already goes and plays lacrosse. 

“I am really excited, I mean she loves it there,” Smith said. “I’ve visited her multiple times and know that she loves it there and I’m going to be with her, it’s just going to be really special. It is a great lacrosse program I am going into, so I’m really excited.”

When her sister was a freshman in high school, they barely had enough to have a varsity team; now there are more than 80 girls trying out. So far, Smith’s most memorable moment was when Tam beat Redwood last year for the first time ever.

“Playing against Redwood for the first time and beating them was just like a great feeling,” Smith said. 

The majority of the recruiting and competing for lacrosse is done on the East Coast. “Our club travels so much. We only play one tournament in California and the rest is on the east coast,” she said. “Last summer I was only home for a total of five days and the rest I was on the east coast playing lacrosse every day.”

This may seem extreme for many people, but Smith said she loves every moment of it. She plays on an Elite club team called Steps California, which is a team made up of all the best players in the Bay Area.

“Steps is way more competitive than Tam, but you get less of a team feel whereas (at) Tam it’s just fun because we are all very close,” Smith said. 

Smith is very close with her Tam teammates off the field and they often have team dinners at least once every two weeks. The workload is very challenging for a student-athlete because it’s difficult to complete all tasks with their only limited time in the day. Smith takes pride in this and understands that it only gets harder, so she seeks to improve every day. 

Smith’s biggest challenge occurred in her freshman season. “It was a toxic program because the upperclassmen were really clique-y and not very inclusive to the younger classmen.” Even though her teammates were an obstacle, she still managed to lead her team to many victories and did not let this shut her down, she said. 

Smith’s closest teammate would be her partner-in-crime, Annie Shine. Smith and Shine are both the captains of the Tam lacrosse team.

“I’ve been playing with her since the fourth grade when we played on a summer team together,” Shine said, who also plays alongside Smith on Steps California for the 2023 team. “We travel to the east coast together every summer to play in several tournaments in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.”

Through these tournaments, the two said they have bonded together and developed a special relationship that created a recipe for success on the field. They have also been on varsity at Tam together since freshman year.

“Madi as a teammate is great, she really helps the underclassmen, and even when she was an underclassman she would always be a leader on the field, regardless of her age. She always had the skills to be a leader and show other people how to get things done, like what to and what to not do in certain situations,” Shine said. 

The two are now competing for CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) and a chance to go to state. Smith still has the rest of this season and a whole new season next year at Tam before she goes to college. “I’m so excited to be at Tam and I’m cherishing every moment of it before I leave,” Smith said. 

Even though the competition at Northwestern is advanced, which can be intimidating to many freshmen, Smith is eager to take on the challenge. 

“Seeing my sister play as a freshman definitely gives me a lot of confidence that I can do that too. It’s going to be super fun,” Smith said.