Simmons tracks more success at N.C. State
Ever since she was little, Paisley Simmons has been driven to succeed.
Beginning when she was in elementary school, when she ran against — and beat — all the boys, through to a stellar high school track career, in which she has won four state championships.
That drive has landed Simmons, a senior at T.W. Andrews, an opportunity to continue building and accomplishing even more, signing with N.C. State to continue her track career at the NCAA Division I level.
“I’m excited, of course,” says Simmons, the daughter of Zallo and Penny. “I’m starting a new, huge chapter. I’m thankful for all the people who contributed in my track career and my life as a person. But I’m ready and eager.”
Over the years, Simmons, who started running competitively when she was 7 years old after bringing home a flier to her mom, has grown to love running. She says she wasn’t very good in the beginning, but as she continued to work and improve, it finally clicked when she was about 12 or 13.
“A lot of people don’t know that I was not so good starting out,” Simmons says. “They don’t know the struggle of trying to get better. They just think: I need to be quick now; I need to be better now. It was definitely a build-up, and I appreciate all the work I did then to get where I am now.
“You just have a love and a passion for something. And once you figure out what makes you better and you get to the point where you’re happy with your performance, you just want to stick with it and take it further.”
Since coming to high school, Simmons has made a huge impact for the Red Raiders, winning state championships in the outdoor 100 dash as a freshman and the outdoor 100 dash and 200 dash and the indoor 55 dash as a junior. She also set school records in the 100 and 200.
“There are so many things I could say about her,” says Andrews coach Nick Michael, who was also her freshman English teacher. “Just her determination, her smile, her spunk. She’s the type of girl when you see her run, you get excited because you know something exciting’s about to happen. ...
“Paisley’s the type of person who does not like to lose to anyone — it does not matter what it is. It could be thumb-wrestling and Paisley’s going to win. She will find a reason why she has to be the best. But if she does lose, she’s the type of person who thinks: OK, what do I need to do to get better?”
Over the summer and into the school year, Simmons received interest from several schools, including UNC Charlotte and East Carolina. But it was the Wolfpack, who feature Marty DeFrancesco (Bishop McGuinness) and Kevin Permenter (Westchester Country Day) on the men’s side, who were her pick.
“I’m excited and relieved. At first, I was kind of nervous, but it was a good nervous energy,” Simmons says. “At first I wasn’t interested but I fell in love with the coaches and, once I visited the school, I fell in love with the atmosphere and the team, the staff — just everything.”