Ally Simmons grew up a Michigan fan.
“Fourth or fifth grade,” the Fairless High School pole vaulter recalls when she first followed the Wolverines. “My grandma is a Michigan fan and my uncle, he’s from
Loyalties will shift south now. It won’t be difficult for the reigning Division II state champion and her family.
Simmons has made a verbal commitment to attend Ohio State. She will sign her national letter of intent Wednesday.
A three-time state qualifier and Stark County girls pole vault record holder, Simmons chose Ohio State ahead of Cincinnati and Louisville.
“I really, really like the track team and their coaches were all really super, super nice,” Simmons said. “The pole vault coach just came out of retirement from his job. He’s a full-time volunteer, so he’ll be traveling with the team.
“And just being at the best school in Ohio overall.”
Simmons certainly has a familiarity with the pole vault pit at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Her crowning achievement there came last June when she cleared a county-record 12 feet, 5 1/2 to become Fairless’ first OHSAA girls state champion.
With the college choice behind her, Simmons now can look forward to her senior season.
“I don’t have to be as worried and stressed out about taking visits and missing practices,” Simmons said. “Now I’m just in the full swing of practice and competing.”
Simmons also won the Division II-III pole vault title at last year’s coaches’ indoor state meet. She vaulted 12 feet in her first 2014 indoor meet. Her winning height a year ago was 11-3.
Winning the outdoor and indoor state pole vault titles again are two of Simmons’ “smaller goals.” Her hope is to aim real high.
“I have three bigger goals,” Simmons said. “The first one is to jump 13-1, and that’s the state record. To get in the top five overall nationally, I have to jump 13-6. My third goal would be the all-time high school record, which is 14-2.”
If Simmons reaches her bigger goals, the smaller goals likely will be achieved, too.
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