Athlete of the week: Karlee Simmons

RAPID CITY SD (KEVN) Joe Noyes says, 'We're lead by Karlee Simmons our senior returning runner-up at the state meet. Then we have Janean Hanka last year was her first year in cross country, senior this year placed ninth in the state meet so she is another great leader. And Taleigh Adrian 6 year cross country runner for the Rangers.'

The Hill City Rangers are the defending Class A state champions in Girls Cross Country. As Coach Noyes said the Rangers are lead by Karlee Simmons

Karlee Simmons says, 'Its kind of weird actually. I've only been out for Cross Country for 3 years, so it really doesn't feel like I'm a senior or a veteran at it.'

Despite not feeling like a veteran Simmons takes on a leadership role for her teammates

Simmons says, ' Its good, I like being a role model for the middle schoolers and my fellow peers.'

And that leadership role is already paying dividends for the future of Rangers Cross Country.

Noyes says, ' I think it is happening as she is competing in her senior year. We have a young 7th-grade girl who is racing really well, and that isn't by accident. That's because she has witnessed what Karlee has done and she wants that kind of success.'

That kind of success sees Simmons with a target on her back as the State Meet is just 3 weeks away

Noyes says, ' You know I think she has handled it well. She takes it one race at a time, how can she get better every week. I know she's hungry and she wants to prove it. And I think she is excited for the opportunity to race the best in South Dakota.'

Being the best in a sport like Cross county takes total trust in one's self

Simmons says, " my body will do what I tell it to. I just... I can't explain it, I go out and run."

Noyes says, ' Probably one of the toughest kids I've ever coached. Most kids are in a good mood light, cross country is fun. Karlee is very driven very focused.'

Now the Rangers have their eyes focused in on a second straight championship.

Noyes, ' and that starts with Karlee. Her attitude, her commitment to the team, showing up on time, her work ethic. It's just such a great thing that breeds a good culture here in Hill City.'

Simmons says, ' I just want to place as high as I can and run for my team because I know they'll be running for me.'

Congratulations to Karlee Simmons on being this week's Athlete of the week. Jeff Voss, Black Hills Fox Sports.