#SigningDay2020: Payton Smith joins golf team at University of Lynchburg


graphic by Erich Miller

Payton and her parents celebrate her committment to Lynchburg University.

by Yesenia Montenegro and Lily Caton

Payton Smith has hit a hole-in-one by having the combined fortune of a supportive golf coach and father, encouraging male teammates, and, now, the opportunity to continue her career to play at the University of Lynchburg. 

On February 5, Linganore held its spring Signing Day ceremony, where Smith, and eight other athletes, signed their National Letters of Intent. She is the only golf player signing this school year. 

Smith actually started her athletic career as a dancer, but during her freshman year, her brother Cam Smith encouraged her to play golf. He had been a golfer for Linganore as well, so Smith decided to follow in his footsteps.

“My dad and my brother have been my biggest supporters. My brother was the one who asked me to start playing and then my dad trained me for four years,” said Smith. 

Smith has been a vital part of the team. She was the only female on the team during her freshman and sophomore year, but she proved to her teammates that she had what it takes to play. Smith paved the way for other female athletes to join the team as well. 

“I decided to play golf not only because of Payton’s encouragement, but also because I thought it  would be fun to be a part of the team. Payton helped me a lot with learning the sport. She was always helping others on the team with their technique and encouraging them on and off the course,” said her teammate Katie Brengel, who joined the team during their junior year.

Smith was the first Lady Lancer to win a county championship and the first Lady Lancer to compete in a state championship. Smith’s 18-hole average is 80.6. This year has been the team’s most successful one yet. They were the state runner-up, only losing by one point. Smith was also a team captain. She always encouraged her teammates to work hard and was able to get everyone involved.

“It’s going to be really tough to coach without my daughter there next year. I’m going to miss her spunk and her attitude. She’s fiery and gets everybody charged up,” said her coach Blaine Smith.

Lynchburg is a D3 school and has a very successful golf department. The women’s golf team at Lynchburg placed second at both the Greene Turtle Invitational and VSGA Women’s Intercollegiate tournaments. They also placed in the top five in all tournaments they competed in last season. The team is coached by Michael Veverka.

“I have met her new coach many times, and he’s wonderful. He’s really great and he’s actually from Frederick County as well,” said Payton’s mom Natalie Smith.  

Smith is not only a great athlete, but a good student as well. Seventy five percent of her scholarship to Lynchburg comes from her academics. 

Smith will double major in economics for an MBA degree and in music. In the future, Smith would love to move to Nashville to pursue music as a career.