Disappointed but driven… Freshman Simmons leaves it on track for EHS

Published 10:55 pm Thursday, May 27, 2021




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ROCKVALE – Things may not have turned out like Elizabethton freshman speedster Kaiya Simmons might have hoped for but getting to the TSSAA Spring Fling is nothing to hang one’s head about either.

Simmons took to the track at Rockvale High School on Thursday to run in the Girls’ 100 Meter Dash against a field of 16 including Simmons that was made up of seven seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, and only two freshmen including herself.

Simmons ran in the first group and clocked a 12.65 in her heat and had to sit back and wait for the second heat to see how she would match up.

When the final numbers flashed on the board, there was only a .81 difference from first to 16 as the state champion, junior Whisper Thomas, clocked a 12.02.

As the final results clicked through, Simmons hopes of a top-eight weren’t to be realized this year, but the experience that was gained will be something that Simmons can feed off for her next three years of high school.

Just making the cut was something special as her head coach Mark Newman was extremely proud of Simmons’s effort and especially doing so in only her freshman year.

With tears streaming afterward, Simmons can only go back to work as she will be preparing to make another run in her sophomore year at Elizabethton.

Sometimes all it takes to gain motivation is a bad taste that is left in one’s mouth with end results that weren’t hoped for. For Simmons, this year’s experience will be in her dreams and she will be looking to wash away 2021 with a return in 2022.

The top eight finishers were all juniors and seniors except the second-place finisher, freshman Avia Lane of Martin Luther King who crossed the line in 12.19.

2021 TSSAA Spring Fling Girls’ 100 Meter Dash – Large School

1. Whisper Thomas – Station Camp 12.02

2. Avia Lane – Martin Luther King 12.09

3. Dominique Romain – Hardin Valley 12.19

4. Jewel Jennings – Jefferson Co. 12.20

5. Olivia Freeman – Houston 12.22

5. Jordan Stromquist – Green Hill 12.22

7. Kategie Casseus – Cleveland 12.26

8. Sanura Branigan – Whitehaven 12.27