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All-American Hardrocker (Andy Smith)

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From soccer player to All-American place-kicker this week's Taco John's Athlete of the Week has put his name among the best in the country. When Andy Smith, of Pierre, came to the South Dakota School of Mines his intentions were to focus on his degree in electrical engineering. But that focus changed one night on the intramural football field.


Andy Smith says, "We were goofing around and I found out I can kick the football pretty good."


Smith was told he should try to kick for the football team so he got a hold of the coaches and they were impressed.


Coach Dan Kratzer says, "We brought him down and he kicked the ball from the 30 yard line through the uprights, then he kicked one from the 35 through the uprights and then he kicked one from the 40 through the uprights and I said we need to get you on the eligibility list, a week later he's playing for us."


Smith says, "The first couple were a little iffy but once I got the feel of it things ended up being alright and that's brought us to here."


Where you'll find an All-American kicker and holder of several Hardrocker records. This former Pierre governor soccer player is on the watch list for the Fred Mitchell award, which is a list that consists of 40 place-kickers in the FCS, Division II, Division III and the NAIA.


Coach Kratzer says, "I told Andy one of the things about getting on top, it's a tough road to get there but once you get there the hardest par is staying there."


But Smith has kept a level head to his lightning fast success, knowing that nothing is certain, especially when it comes to kicking.


Smith says, "You try to forget the bad things and roll with the good and see how it goes."


Smith says he'd like to go pro some day, but right now the only focus he has is helping the Hardrockers win the Dakota Athletic Conference championship and whatever else happens would be a kick.

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