COLUMBUS — Otsego sophomore Brooke Simon earned herself a spot in the track program’s history books the past two seasons.
Now she looks to continue writing her chapter in Columbus at the Division II state track championships after winning the regional title at Lexington High School last weekend for discus.
Simon, who has only competed in track and field for three years, was a standout before even going to high school, said Otsego throwing coach Chad McClory.
“When I first saw her throw as an eighth grader, I definitely saw tons of potential as a raw talent and talked to her then to get that bug in her ear about it,” McClory said.
“I knew watching her throw she had a chance to break some school records, and she blew the numbers I had in my head for her this season out of the water.”
Simon did not just break some of the school’s throwing records, but all five of Otsego’s throwing records now belong to the sophomore (indoor: shot put, weight, and outdoor: shot put, discus, hammer).
“When I originally broke the indoor records, it was easy for me since many girls did not compete in those events for indoor track. I broke those at the beginning of my freshman season,” said Simon.
“For outdoor, I ended up breaking the disc record my freshman year. It was some sort of shock. I was hoping to break it that season, but not that early.
“This year I broke the shot record and rebroke the disc record in the same meet. I was hoping to get a PR (personal record) for both but was fairly surprised because I was never expecting to break the record in both.”
Simon’s sophomore season did not start the way she expected, hurting her back in the first meet of the season.
“This season had a lot of ups and downs,” said Simon. “I would say I had a lot of injuries, especially with my back, and that really limited me for a portion of the season, but when I was finally able to get back at it, there were so many things I wanted to fix at once in my form that it just took some time to get them all fixed.”
McClory was not worried; however, with Brooke’s back issues and it being so early in the season, it is all about getting healthy come district time.
“She hurt her back after our first meet this year, and it had not a whole lot to do with her form, which we worked a lot on during indoor season, but it was more about monitoring it and making sure she was 100% before she came back because it does not matter how you throw in the beginning of the year, but it does come at the end of it,” said McClory.
Throwing far at the end of the season is exactly what Brooke did this year after a disqualification at districts ended her freshman year. She was on a mission to make it down to the state meet, but first came districts.
“When districts finally came around, so did my throwing technique, in my opinion, and with that, I knew I had the distance to advance to regionals.”
Simon did not just qualify for state at regionals; she ended up winning the discus event with a throw of 131 feet, 10 inches. But for Simon, the championship was bittersweet.
“I would say winning regionals was bittersweet for me because one of my close friends, Emma Hoffman from Ottawa-Glandorf, did not have a good meet,’ Simon said.
“If she had had one of her better meets, she would have been regional champion, so not having her on the podium with me was sad, but winning it was something I worked for all season and a big surprise.”
Winning regionals is a huge milestone, but it was more important that she advance her season. Coach McClory said survival is so important this time of year.
“I knew she had a chance to win the regional title like everything else; however, things had to go her way.” McClory said.
“I told her when I was throwing in high school that I never won a regional title, but the goal is to survive and advance if you are fortunate to win a regional title.
“That is an amazing accomplishment, but getting down to state on that podium is what we really want, and she has been buying into that.”
Simon hoped to bring the momentum of the regional championship to the state meet on June 2-3 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the home of the state meet, on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus.
“Going into state, I’m very excited and hoping to just make a name for myself down there and be amongst the top competitors,” Simon said.
“I am very excited to be able to make an appearance with how last year ended compared to where I am this season, and I am very proud of myself.”