Hays High School senior Cecil Smith does not appear to be the type of athlete that shies away from a challenge.

He followed family from Kingman to Hays where there was a little more competition for playing time on the Indian baseball team.

“I just moved up here with them because I wanted a bigger opportunity and bigger sports to push me better,” Smith said.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity.”

Smith hasn’t logged much time with the Indians’ varsity squad over his two years in Hays, but Wednesday he signed on to play at Manhattan Christian College next year.

“He didn’t want to give up a dream,” Hays High coach Frank Leo said. “It’s not that he’s signing just to go somewhere. He’s going to work hard at it. He’s worked hard at it for us. It’s kind of refreshing to see that happen for a player.”

He projects himself as a relief pitcher who could help out if needed on the infield for the Thunder.

“I plan to pitch,” Smith said. “Then if they need someone to come in and play some third, I’ll come in and play some third.”

The senior considers his fastball to be his best pitch while he works to improve his command of his offspeed stuff.

“Just getting more strikes on curveball and changeup,” Smith answered when asked where he has the most room improve on the mound.

Smith said he plans to get additional work in this summer with the Topeka Golden Giants, a collegiate summer team.

“He’ll do whatever he needs to do If he has to work on his own to do things to try and get better and reach his dream,” Leo said.

The plan academically is for Smith to complete some of his prerequisite courses in MCC before starting a joint program with Kansas State where he tentatively plans to pursue a business degree.

While playing time hasn’t been abundant in Maroon and Gold, Smith feels like he’s better off having taken on the challenge.

“I’ve grown a lot these last two years,” Smith said.