Alumni Athletes: Hal Smith '11

Saint James School Alumni Athletes: Hal Smith '11

College Highlights:

  • Played NCAA Division III lacrosse at Sewanee: University of the South.
  • Hal was team captain his senior year and was named to the All-Southern Athletic Association (SAA) First Team in 2013, 2014, and 2015. He set SAA Conference records for career face-offs won (628), single-season face-offs won (206), and groundballs (106).
  • Graduated cum laude with a BA degree in history and a minor in political science.

Harold “Hal” Smith lettered for the Saints in football, wrestling, and lacrosse.  He earned all-county and all-conference honors for both football and wrestling, where he was also selected as team MVP.  Hal feels playing multiple sports provided complementary skills that enhanced his athleticism and mental toughness.

“I excelled on the face-off X [in lacrosse] due to the physicality and strength of playing linebacker and the quickness and grit I learned from wrestling,” he said. “It also helps with humility, as you may not be the be the best in another sport, but you learn to be a supportive team player and develop a growth mindset.”

Hal continued his education and played lacrosse at Sewanee: The University of the South, where he set records for the Tigers, was named All-SAA First Team three consecutive years, and was captain of the 2015 SAA Champion squad.  He found that the time management habits instilled by Saint James’ rigorous schedule were instrumental in his transition to college life.

“Also, boarding school fosters a healthy sense of independence that is important for adjusting to living away from home,” he said. “Also, I coasted through my first two years as a history major because of the following classes I took at Saint James: AP Euro with Father Dunnan, AP US with Mr. Yergey and Developing Nations with Mr. Camp!”

Hal said another important lesson he learned at Saint James is that ‘failure is good’ as you are encouraged to try things outside of your comfort zone.

“This is incredibly beneficial in the long run as you learn how to bounce back from failure at a foundational level,” he said. “Saint James provides a safe and supportive environment to be comfortable with trying new things and the right mindset to deal with setbacks.”

Hal is currently the Associate Media Director at Realtime Media, a startup digital advertising agency in Manhattan that specializes in branding and customer acquisition for financial services. He previously worked for a political consulting firm in Washington. D.C., executing digital media buying campaigns for senatorial, gubernatorial and congressional races. 

“Agencies and political campaigns are high-stress environments that demand long hours. People who thrive in these environments are results-oriented, mentally tough and have outstanding focus under pressure,” Hal said. “I learned all these traits from the sports I played at Saint James and Sewanee - very little from my college major!”