Senior Salute: Wilmington's Simon Heys

Simon Heys is a 2019 Wilmington High School graduate, who will be competing in cross country and distance track events for Wilmington College

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1) What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?   

I am very proud of my progression throughout high school. I recorded my fastest time during my senior year, which was 15:38.30 for 5k and at the time it happened to be an Ohio No. 6.  

In my senior year it was the primary goal to finish my XC career on the podium. At the state meet race, with horrible conditions, I dug deep to give absolutely everything I had. After being in thirty-fourth place for the first mile, I made up ground and was in twentieth at the second mile split. I fought the last mile and I finished right in twentieth position, grabbing the last podium spot for an All-Ohio finish.  

Indoor State's was a similar situation. My goal was to break 9:40. This should have been my goal considering I had the last qualifying time and was ranked twenty-fourth in the race. However, I ran my race and I stayed in the pack and when I crossed the line, I finished in 9:26.60 to take fourth overall. It was exactly the breakout race that I was hoping for.   

2) Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?    

Starting my career as a freshman I did have relatively early success. I made it to regionals in that first year, however, I did not perform to the level I had done multiple times that season. My freshman year I crossed the line at regionals as the last individual, as well as the last overall competitor. Devastated, I used that experience for motivation for my sophomore year to make it back to regionals and have a good race. My dad said that the good news was I couldn't do any worse. He was wrong. I had ran significantly slower and was yet again the last individual to cross the line. This was the worst of it all, as I had trained for one specific race, just to get the same result. Thankfully, during my junior year, I put everything together and made it to the State Championship. It wasn't necessarily the prettiest ride, but I never gave up and I always worked to improve myself.   

3) Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being apart of Wilmington's program?    

The best part about my program is the fact that we were small in numbers, so it allowed us to stay friends on and off the practice field. It isn't like that at a lot of places. Our team, whether it's after a meet or practice, will go out to eat together or hang out at somebody's house. It's not like we were forced to, we just enjoyed each other's company.   

(Wilmington College bound, Simon Heys credits great coaches and teammates for helping him to get his running to the level it's at today). 

4) Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?      

I want to thank Coach Karen who has come in and showed what it truly means to love the sport of running, and also Coach Massie, who totally flipped our track team around for years to come. Finally, my father who really got me into the whole running thing in the first place. Being able to go to his practices with his team back when I was in the fourth grade made me want to do what he did.  

5) What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?    

I get to compete for Wilmington College for the next four years. My plan is to become the best version of myself and to take my running as far as I am meant to take it.   

6) What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?    

To my teammates who I have told a million times: when you stand on that starting line, it's all about confidence. You know you've done the training and you have completed harder long runs and harder interval days. Believe in yourself that you are finally going to have that breakout race.