Encinitas’ Wesley Smith helps USA win gold in Pan Am Cup

LCC student Wesley Smith on the attack at the Pan Am Cup in Havana, Cuba.
(Copyright of NORCECA)

Marc “Wesley” Smith Jr. from Encinitas helped lead the US Men’s U21 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 Oct. 8 is a first for the U.S. at the Pan American Cup. Team USA’s semi-final win over Cuba earned them a spot at the FIVB World Championship in 2023.

Smith, a 6’11” senior at La Costa Canyon High School, was a starter for Team USA. Playing middle, he helped lead the team in kills and blocks, and Pan American Cup organizer NORCECA recognized Smith as one of the two top blockers in the tournament.

“Making the U.S. team and traveling to Cuba to represent the USA is the most memorable thing I’ve ever done,” said Smith in a news release. “The U.S. coaching staff, led by Andy Read is the best, and my teammates were amazing.”

Smith learned to play volleyball just 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 is committed to play for USC next year.

“I am really lucky to have grown up here,” Wesley said. “Encinitas has a lot of former volleyball Olympians, professional tour players, and former collegiate standouts. The volleyball community here and throughout Southern California is really supportive and helpful.”

Smith can be found most days playing volleyball on the beach or indoors, or working out at the gym. He is looking forward to graduating LCC, starting his 18’s club season with WAVE and playing for USC next year.

Team USA celebrates after winning the Pan Am gold.
(Copyright of NORCECA)