Profile: Running in the Family

Chauncey David-Jacobs holds second-fastest time in the 200m.
Chauncey David-Jacobs holds second-fastest time in the 200m.JENNIFER NICHOLS / GUARDSMAN

BY TJ Johnson

Staff Writer

When City College sprinter Chauncey David-Jacobs ran the 200m in 23.96 seconds at the Coast Conference Championships at Monterey on April 26, she again became the second-fastest among junior college women to run the 200m.

When her husband Kenneth Smith — himself a track coach who watched from the stands — broke the news, that sweetened it. She improved from 23.97 at the Johnny Mathis Invitational in San Francisco two weeks prior, and had improved more this time.

“My husband was happy and he told me he already knew I could run that time and he believes I will go faster,” David-Jacobs said.

The 20-year-old freshman’s family carries an athletic tradition. David-Jacobs’ father played football. Her brother runs track at Phillip Burton High School, her alma mater. David-Jacobs herself demonstrated speed when she was younger.

But it was her mother, Silvia David, who inspired her to run track. David-Jacobs watched videos of her mother, a police officer, running in competitions against her fellow cops.

Fearing her daughter would burn out at an early age, David kept her from competing until her freshman year in high school.

“She waited until I got in high school when it would be fun and fresh for me,” David-Jacobs said.

David-Jacobs balances sports and scholastics with Smith’s help. David-Jacobs said Smith acted as a mentor through her high school years, and he still plays that role.

“Mainly I keep (Chauncey) motivated and keep her head in the books and support her the best I can,” Smith said.

David-Jacobs and Smith were children when they met, but the relationship didn’t blossom until after she moved to Sacramento. In 2006, she told Smith she would like to marry someone like him. Three months later they married at San Francisco City Hall.

“I never believed in love at first sight until I met Kenneth,” she said. “I do believe we had that connection.”

A typical day for David-Jacobs includes going to morning classes, taking a midday break, practicing on the track from 1 to 3 p.m. and helping Smith coach youth track.

David-Jacobs also volunteers at her father-in-law’s bingo parlor and at a day care center her mother now runs. She also finds time for Smith’s children, Alyse, 10, and Zymarie, 2.

“It’s not that hard because I love track and I love my family,” David-Jacobs said.

Her training regimen varies with the time of year. In the off-season — September to December — David-Jacobs trains with weights for strength and stamina. The rest of the year is dedicated to running and fewer gym workouts.

Coach Doug Owyang lauds David-Jacobs’ work ethic.

“She has a mentality and will to succeed that carries over to her teammates,” Owyang said.

David-Jacobs also runs the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

“We all get along very well,” David-Jacobs said of relay partners, Tasha Mizel, LaShannda Worthy and Leona Shum. “We love to run track, it all works out.”

Next semester, David-Jacobs will transfer to University of Nevada-Las Vegas on a track scholarship, and she hopes to earn a Master of Social Work.

“I’m still trying to feel around (which specialty),” she said.

Like any other parent, David-Jacobs wishes to see her stepchildren follow in her footsteps, or rather her running strides.

“I’m not going to force them to run, but definitely I want them to be out there,” she said. “If they like it, then I would love it. But if not, they could take up any sport.”

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