By Larry Moko, Special to The News
Savannah Simpson of Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School, who won her senior girls’ 100-metre race at McMaster’s Ray Lewis Relays last week, will head south of the border on a track scholarship next fall. It’s not to Savannah, Georgia, however. Instead, her university of choice is Charleston Southern, based in Charleston, South Carolina.
Tonnos Titans track and field coach Helen Downey said Simpson has worked hard and deserves the athletics award. Simpson started out as a multi-event track and field performer – and she was a figure skater — but has recently concentrated more on the 100 and 200.
“Since Grade 9 that girl has improved significantly every year,” Downey said. “She’s so focused and dedicated. She has really excelled.”
Simpson holds the Tonnos female school record for the 100m (12.71) and has the second best time in the 200 (26:07). She raced to victory at the Mac event in 12.85 seconds.
“My training last year wasn’t the greatest,” 17-year-old Simpson said.
“I believe this year is going to be a lot better. Whether my time was good or not, it felt good to win this. I felt strong.”
A member of the Burlington Track Club, Simpson’s coach is Cheryl Thibedeau.
“We’ve been doing a lot of weights and recovery (work),” she said. “I’m not over-training. A lot of relaxing jogs has helped a lot.”
In 2012 and 2013, Simpson competed at the Youth National Championships in Prince Edward Island and Langley, B.C., respectively. Nationally, she was officially ranked fifth in the 200m and ninth in the 100m.
Simpson came second to St Mary’s sensation Christian Brennan – currently on scholarship at University of Oregon – in last year’s 100 and 200m finals of the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference championships.
Tonnos had several other impressive performances at the early-season invitational high school competition which attracted 18 area schools. Nicole Sobolewski of the Titans captured the midget girls’ 800 metre in two minutes, 44.15 seconds and the Tonnos junior boys’ 4×100-metre entry — Daniel Skuse, Nick Furtado, Nolan Wright and Anthony Vespa — took top honours in 48.33.