Encinitas’ Wesley Smith helps USA win gold in Pan Am Cup
Marc “Wesley” Smith Jr. helped. from Encinitas to lead the USA Men’s Under-21 volleyball team to a gold medal in the Pan American Cup, held Oct. 3-8 in Havana, Cuba.
The team’s gold-medal victory over Mexico on October 8 marked the United States’ first time at the Pan-American Cup. Team USA’s semifinal win over Cuba earned them a spot in the 2023 FIVB World Championship.
Smith, a 6’11” senior at La Costa Canyon High School, was a starter for Team USA. Playing center, he helped lead the team in kills and blocks, and Pan-American Cup organizer NORCECA recognized Smith as one of the top two blockers in the tournament.
“The most memorable thing I’ve ever done is making the USA team and traveling to Cuba to represent the USA,” Smith said in a news release. “The USA coaching staff, led by Andy Read, is the best team, and my teammates have been great.”
Smith learned how to play volleyball a few years ago and credits Coach Cole Mortland of WAVE Volleyball in Del Mar for giving him a strong start. Since then, he has been on a year-round mission to improve his game and has committed to play for USC next year.
“I’m very lucky to have grown up here,” Wesley said. “Encinitas has a lot of former volleyball Olympians, professional touring players, and former collegiate standouts. The volleyball community here and throughout Southern California is very supportive and supportive.”
Smith can be found most days playing volleyball on the beach or indoors, or working out at the gym. He looks forward to graduating from LCC, starting his 18 club season with WAVE and playing for USC next year.
Team USA celebrates after winning Pan Am gold.