2014 South Dakota State Meet Special Features are written by South Dakota MileSplit Special Guest, Rich Winter. 
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By Rich Winter

    Hard to believe Sturgis athlete Jacob Simmons is still only in the 11th grade.

   He's been a fixture at the South Dakota state meet since his freshman season, and while he's been a high placer in his specialties, the 800 and the 1600, he does not have a state title to his credit.


  As a freshman in 2012, Simmons ran a 1:56 and finished 4th. That same year, in the 1600 meters, Simmons ran a 4:21 and finished 5th.

  As a sophomore, Simmons ran a 1:55.07 and finished 2nd to Sioux Falls Washington's Warwick. 

  In the 1600, Simmons ran a 4:20.5 and finished 3rd in the 1600.

 Didn't follow the AA cross country teams that closely this fall, although I know Simmons worked very hard on his endurance and fitness in cross country. 

  Simmons was 16th in the AA cross-country race last fall, and I would expect some of that strength training to come in handy on Saturday in the 1600. 

 Simmons is the class of the field in this year's AA, 800 meter field. He has the fastest qualifying time of 1:56 and I expect him to go well under that Friday, weather permitting. Gotta be careful though, 11 guys in the AA field have gone under 2:00 and anyone is capable of popping a big one. 

800m Run
Automatic - 1:58.40
1. Simmons, Jacob 1:56.00 Sturgis Brown        
2. Goehring, Josh 1:58.40 SF Roosevelt        
Provisional - 2:04.30
1. Bump, Free 1:58.50 SF Lincoln        
2. Knobloch, Ethan 1:58.60 SF O'Gorman        
3. Sudbeck, Ned 1:58.80 SF Lincoln        
4. Burdick, Kyle 1:59.10 RC Stevens        
5. Wilson, Matthew 1:59.10 RC Stevens        
6. Schroeder, Nathan 1:59.20 SF Lincoln        
7. Selken, Mitchell 1:59.30 Brandon Valley        
8. Olson, Ryan 1:59.50 Yankton        
9. Hegland, Jacob 1:59.60 Brandon Valley        
10. Pfeifle, Tom 1:59.80 RC Stevens        
11. Stiles, Ryan 1:59.80 RC Central
    With Brookings athlete, Addison DeHaven not competing in the state track meet because of injury, Simmons will be looking for another state title in the 1600.

    Simmons has the fastest qualifying time in the 1600, but look for a very competitive race as Will Lauer of Sioux Falls Lincoln has the second fastest 1600 time and has run a 9:05, 3200.

   Will be pulling for Simmons a bit as I went to grade-school and high school with his dad Jeff.

  Good luck kid, you've got all of west river pulling for ya.