Kennedy Simon (right), a junior, and Robert Wilson (left), the head track coach, pose for a portrait at Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 18, 2017. Simon recently placed first in the long jump, 400m dash, and 200m dash at the 2017 GHSA Track and Field State Championships and is looking at the University of Georgia, Tennessee, and Miami as possible college destinations. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)
Photo: Henry P. Taylor
Photo: Henry P. Taylor

High school girls track player of the year

Girls track player of the year

Kennedy Simon, Westlake

Achievements: Class AAAAAAA state champion and overall Georgia leader in the 200 (23.74 seconds) and 400 (52.94 seconds) meters; Class AAAAAAA state champion in the long jump (18-feet, 11 3/4 inches); led team to Class AAAAAAA state championship.

Position: Sprinter/jumper

Height/Weight: 5-foot-5, 132 pounds

Class: Junior

College choices: Georgia, Tennessee, Miami

Why those three: I love the atmosphere at UGA on campus and the dedication of the coaches and how they are building the program. Miami’s coaches are always asking about me and my performances, and it’s a top academic school. At Tennessee, I like the facilities, and the coaches know what they’re talking about and how they plan to get you to the next level.

Best high school moment: This year, leading my team to a state championship. I was a little uncertain about the state meet and how I would handle the pressure. But I just told myself to trust my training, and I prayed a lot about it.

Why track and field: It’s based on heart and whoever works the hardest. The harder you work, the better results you’ll get.

What you’d like to be doing in 10 years: Running professionally, but if not, I plan to major in chemistry. So hopefully I’ll be doing something in the chemistry field.

Favorite high school course: IB Chemistry because of the dedication of my teacher (Tierra Monteiro). She makes sure we understand all the concepts.

People who helped along the way: My parents (Timothy and Cristal Simon), my coach Michelle Lanier (Gazelles Track Club), who I’ve been working with since I was 9 years old. A lot of my confidence comes from her. And coach (Robert) Wilson at Westlake. He always encourages me. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.

Toughest high school opponent: Sterling Lester (of Marietta High). She does not give up. We’ve been competing against each other since we were 9 years old.

Favorite movie: “Love and Basketball”

Favorite song: “Letter from Lucci” by YFN Lucci

Worst high school moment: The first time I ran the 300 hurdles. It was not in my heart to do it, but I was trying to win to give my team some points. I was going against some of the best girls in the state, and it seemed like I was going to win, but I clipped a hurdle and fell and rolled two lanes over.

If you could be any other athlete on earth: Marshawn Lynch. I like his attitude. He’s just raw, a real competitor.

Money or happiness: Happiness. Money can be taken away from you.

Best word to describe yourself: Fierce.

View of the world at the moment: Life is about choices. Whatever is going on in the world does not dictate the choices you make. If I make the choice to work hard, I can do whatever I want.

What you would put in a time capsule: My (track) spikes, my Bible and pictures of my family. 

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