Ryan Simmons found a silver lining.
In fact, he found two.
In his second consecutive state track and field meet, the Salado junior came up just short of sweeping the discus and shot put, finishing second in each event. While he was disappointed to leave Austin last week without a gold medal, after reflecting, he is simply grateful to have the opportunity to compete on the state’s biggest stage and to do so with his father.
“I’ve really just been blessed,” Simmons said, “but it’s not all just me. My dad (Salado head track coach David Simmons) has been a large part of my success. That is really the key to why I’ve been able to go (to state) multiple years.
“(Working with my dad) can be kind of rough at practice sometimes, but being able to come away with some medals is a really great thing to be able to do together.”
Although Simmons’ performances were not quite enough to win at state, they were impressive enough to dominate the polls, winning the KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week award after receiving 95 percent of the vote.
“I’m just really thankful they all got on and voted because it took me a while before I knew I was up for it,” Simmons said. “I’m just thankful people took the time to vote.”
After dealing with approximately five hours of delays as thunderstorms swept through Central Texas, Simmons finished second in the discus with a throw of 174-5 late last Friday night. The following morning, Simmons returned to Mike A. Meyers Stadium, where his throw of 54-5 ¼ was a little less than six feet shy of the gold-medal mark.
Had Mother Nature cooperated, David Simmons believes the results could have been different.
“He wasn’t doing anything different,” David Simmons said, “he just didn’t have the pop in it that he usually does. I think (the quick turnaround) hurt him in the shot. He doesn’t want to make excuses or anything, but I really believe that had something to do with it because that was his shortest throw all year.”
With the state meet complete, Simmons is already looking to get stronger for the upcoming football season and a potential trip back to Austin as a senior.
“There is a drive to get back there during workouts,” Simmons said. “All this work I’m putting in now isn’t just for football, its for next year’s track season.”
Simmons beat out a pair of state champions in the polls to be named player of the week.
Copperas Cove high jumper Cory Scott finished second in the voting after clearing 7-0 to win the Class 5A high jump in only his fourth track meet of the season. Shoemaker’s Cion Hicks rounded out the field after earing gold in the discus (160-6) and shot put (47-9).
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com