• December 20, 2014

Pop Quiz with Salado trackster, footballer Ryan Simmons

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Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 10:56 am, Mon Jul 28, 2014.

By Alex Byington

Killeen Daily Herald

Sport: Football, track

Class: Sophomore

Claim to Fame: Bursting onto the scene as a freshman last year, Simmons qualified for the 3A state track and field meet with a discus throw of 159 feet, 4 inches before making an impact on the gridiron this past season, becoming a jack-of-all trades as the backup quarterback, short-yardage run option and kicker. On Friday, he won gold in both the shot put (53-1) and the discus (160-2½) at the Hornet Relays.

What was it like seeing so much playing time on a senior-laden football team this season?

"I was really grateful, you know. There were only a few sophomores on the team and being one of those chosen to play and actually play quite a bit was actually really nice. I was really grateful for the opportunity."

Your father (David Simmons) is the Salado track coach, what's that like for you?

"It's fine. I don't think much of it. I just do what he says, like I would with any coach."

Is he any harder on you and your brother (Jake Simmons) than with the other athletes?

"No, he pushes us and I guess he can talk straighter with us about stuff like how we need to do things better."

What was it like making the state meet as a freshman?

"I was really pretty excited because I've been doing shot and discus for a really long time, and it's always been a dream to go to the state meet. Like when we were younger, every couple of years, we'd go and watch it and it was always neat watching it. So getting to make it there was really a fun deal."

How long have you been doing shot and discus?

"I'd say since I was about 8 years old when I started shot and then about 10 or 11 when I started doing disc."

At 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, you don't have the typical frame of the bigger throwers, most of whom are offensive linemen in football. What's it like out-throwing guys like that?

"A bunch of it is just technique. Some of these guys will go out there and throw and … they're all these big guys benching 300 pounds and whatnot. But it's just technique, and my dad has been able to teach me and I've gotten to understand how to do it better and better."

Technique-wise, what are you doing better than the other guys?

"I just try to get a good power position. Some of the guys, they just spin and glide, but they don't hit much of a power position and if you don't get a power position, it's kind of defeating the purpose. I guess I'm just able to get a little momentum, and then with the spin and the glide, whenever I hit that power position, I can throw a little harder and it'll go further."

So what's the goal this season?

"I just want to get back (to state) and hopefully try to get a medal - I don't care what kind, I just want to get a medal."

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