After admittedly being "stuck at 5-foot-2" for her personal record in the high jump from her eighth-grade year well into her sophomore season, Nixa’s Lily Simmons doesn’t plan on 5-5 being her PR for long.
For her senior year, Simmons has her sights set on the Lady Eagles’ school record of 5-7. That standard, set by Ashlee Johns, has stood since 1997.
The school mark would give Simmons a hat trick of sorts.
“The goal this year is to at least jump 5-71/4,” Simmons said. “My preference would be 5-8, so it’s a full inch better than the school record. That would mean a lot to me. I own the high jump record at the junior high (5-2) and the record for the COC (Meet at 5-5). To hold our high school record would be the cherry on top. I’ve been working for it since the seventh grade, so it would be exciting.”
Simmons, also an accomplished 300 hurdles runner, was hindered a bit in the pre-season by a quad injury. She refers to it as “a tweak," but was careful with it.
“It’s not too bad, I can run on it,” Simmons said. “I’ve done a lot of resting and put a lot of ice on it. Coach always says if you’re injured in any way, ice it.”
If the injury were to linger and Simmons would have to cut an event from her workload, she will always be sure to make the high jump her top priority.
“That’s definitely where my heart is,” she said. “But I want to do both events, since I’ve done both so long.”
Simmons actually cut short her attempts in the high jump at Nixa’s intra-squad meet last week, but not necessarily by choice.
“I jumped 5-3 and then coach pulled from the high jump so I could go run the 300 hurdles,” Simmons said. “We never got to see how high I could go. 5-3 is a consistent mark for me now."
Her prep work has focused on endurance in regard to running and max effort for jumping.
“I’ve wanted to build up endurance for the 300 hurdles and 400 so I've been running a mile and trying to increase my time,” Simmons said. “Also, I’ve done box jumps. Since I don’t do volleyball anymore, I don’t have the repetition (of jumping) like I used to. Doing box-jumps has helped me increase my vertical for the high jump.
“I love box-jumping. I don’t know if it reminds me of volleyball or the high jump, but the feeling of (jumping) is freeing,” she added. “I try to get as high as possible to get my max effort out of as many reps as I can. It’s more about how many times I can go high versus jumping a lower height over and over again.”