Track and Field: Smolka selected to coach US at World Maccabiah Games

Rolando Rosa

FAU cross country/track and field head coach Alex Smolka has been selected to lead the U.S. in the World Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2013. Since taking over as head coach of the entire program in 2002, 38 players have qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Regionals. Photo courtesy of media relations.

Track and field may not get that much attention at FAU, according to players this season, but their coach continues to receive national respect.

Head coach Alex Smolka has been selected to lead the U.S. for the second straight time at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel in the summer of 2013. He coached the team in 2009 when it racked 24 medals (five gold). It is an honor Smolka does not take for granted.

“I was fortunate enough to be selected four years ago, and the chair of the track and field committee reappointed me again for these upcoming games, which is a great honor,” he said to “It’s just exciting to work with young people from all over the country.”

Smolka was chosen for the event twice as a competitor — in 1993 and 2001. The games are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. With over 7,000 athletes from more than 60 countries, it is the third largest international sporting competition.

The experience is one that never gets old for Smolka.

“It’s track and field surrounded by getting to know the history and culture of Israel and of the Middle East, and of your own heritage,” he said to “That’s what’s so exciting about the whole idea of the Maccabiah Games. We just hope to go back there again and be as successful if not more successful than in 2009.”

The World Maccabiah Games is set for July 16 to 30, 2013.