As the season progressed, the unity, form and times improved.
"The last three weeks, we took a second off each week," Smalley said. "In three weeks, we took three seconds off, so that's the awesome part.
"It was a little shaky at the beginning of the year and then we got better technique wise and form wise."
Area teams dominate 4x800 relays
The Midland boys (AAA), Charleston Catholic girls (A) and Buffalo boys (A) each won the 4x800 relay.
For Buffalo, the victory was the program's third consecutive at the state meet. Senior standout Dylan Rich and junior Isaiah Robinson have raced on all three Bison title teams. Senior Tyler Torman and junior Conner Lamb contributed to Friday's first-place showing.
The win represented Buffalo's latest success in a string of dominance for the event, but it wasn't long ago the Bison were forgotten, not the favorite, Coach Richie Wyant said.
"It's so funny because for so long we weren't even a thought in the 4x800 race," he said. "In the last four years, four years ago we were fourth and the last three years we've won it. We've still got a lot of potential to maybe do it again next year."
Behind Buffalo, Charleston Catholic placed second in the Class A boys 4x800. Caden McClanahan, Justin Snyder, Marcus Black and Phillip Mallory teamed together in an impressive showing, but Buffalo proved too strong in its signature event.
With Oklahoma commit Jacob Burcham running, Midland's 4x800 relay set a state meet record. The Knights finished in 7:49.84 to break the previous record set by Hedgesville in 1995. In addition to Burcham, Avery Campbell, Mason Dino and Brian Lawhon raced at record-setting pace to secure the win by more than 15 seconds against second-place Jefferson.
On the girls side, Catholic edged Williamstown by two seconds for the win. Peyton Keener, Sarah Joseck, Quincy McKown and Payton Mullen combined for the victory.
In the AAA race, Hurricane placed second with the team of Joie Johnston, Natalie Schwendiman, Ally Lawhon and Emily Schwendiman.
Jump to success
Scott senior Haylie Damron placed second in AA long jump with a leap of 16 feet, seven inches.
In boys Class A, Poca's A.J. Keyes earned All-State honors with a fourth-place finish jump of 19 feet, four and three-fourth inches. Fellow Dot Hank Larch placed seventh with a jump of 18 feet, 11 inches.