Simpson sprints towards Sectionals with high goals

Senior Paige Simpson enjoys the freedom that running gives her.

“Doing track . . . is actually a stress reliever,” she said. “When I come from school and other things outside of track, track is where I get to have fun. You know, not to be worried about grades or attendance or anything like that.

 “Track is somewhere that I can come and do me.”

Simpson, who has been running for six years, competes in the 100 and 200 meters, as well as the 4-by-100 relay. She made it to State two years ago as part of the relay. This year, she thinks she has a shot for all three. 

“A lot of people left last year who were really good and who mostly took up the top state spots, but now there’s more than one opportunity for me to make it to State rather than being in a relay or individually, so yeah I think I can make it,” she said.

The team begins their postseason journey Tuesday with Sectionals in Lowell.

Asst. Coach Kortina Gates sees the improvement that Simpson has put in throughout her high school career.

“Paige has been a consistent sprinter all four years of her high school career,” Gates said. “Now being a senior, she understands the work that has to be put into place to see success in this sport.”

One strategy Simpson uses is to focus on the fact that she belongs at State.

“Sometimes my confidence gets the best of me when it comes to running and it affects my performance,” she said. “So knowing I belong at State, given that I made it here, is probably one of the best strategies of one of the many strategies I use.”

Simpson also has been a mentor for the underclassmen as she keeps her academics in order.

“Paige is definitely a scholar first and athlete second,” Coach Gates said. “She has tutored some of the girls who were struggling with certain classes as we present that education is always first priority.”

After a loss, Simpson works to accept it and work harder.

“You acknowledge the loss and acknowledge the win,” Simpson said. “[It] feels better to win always, but sometimes you don’t win but when you don’t win, it feels good knowing that you can get better.”

Simpson, who plans to continue running track next year at Ohio Northern University, did summer track last year to prepare for the high school season.

“She took the opportunity to train for the season by running summer track last year where she could really work on her form and sprint techniques,”  Coach Gates said. “She’s really trying to break the school record since she was so close to breaking it last school year in the DAC meet where she ran 12.14 in the 100 meters.”