Only way is up for Simson
RISING track star Jade Simson is determined to keep her feet grounded, despite celebrating her first national medal.
City of Plymouth hurdler Simson made her national breakthrough while competing for her club at the England Under 15 and Under 17 Championships at Bedford.
Simson finished in third place in a close-as-you-like 75m hurdles final in a time of 11.4seconds.
That would have been a personal best time for the Plymstock School student, had she not already set a new mark of 11.38secs in the heats.
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Simson, who turns 15 next month, was joined on the podium by winner Alicia Barrett, of Chesterfield & District AC (11.24), and runner-up Megan Marrs (11.43), who runs for City of Lisburn.
As a result, the fleet-footed Simson is now ranked among the top five female hurdlers, in her age group, in the United Kingdom.
The teenager had been threatening to break through at national level for the past 18 months and earlier this summer served notice of her promise at the English Schools Championships.
Simson just missed out on a medal, finishing fourth in the 75m hurdles in 11.5secs at Gateshead, where club-mate and fellow hurdler David King won a silver medal at 110m.
Eighteen-year-old King, like Simson, has been coached by Steve Endacott at Brickfields, whose other successes include daughter and international sprinter Katherine, who won gold and silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
In addition to working with Endacott, the pair are helped in their preparation by Plymouth AC's strength and conditioning coach Jeff Walsh.
The former Devonport High School for Boys student is about to take up a place at Bath University and Simson would, naturally, be thrilled to try to match King's track record.
So, an international call-up, hopefully, in 2013, is the next barrier Simson wants to clear, and is willing to work hard to achieve that aim.
She said: "I was really pleased to have won my first national medal and get a PB, too, in the heats.
"I came close to winning a bronze medal at the English Schools and was disappointed not to have done so.
"But this bronze medal makes up for that and, anyway, I'll have more chances at the English Schools, if I continue to progress.
"I was really pleased with how relaxed I was at Bedford and at Gateshead this year, as I was very nervous at the English Schools last year.
"I've been lucky in having Steve (Endacott) as a hurdles coach who has helped me achieve PBs and also with the technical aspects of hurdling.
"He never shouts and just encourages me and always has faith in me, which I appreciate.
"It has also been great working alongside Dave (King) and seeing him go on and win stuff. He has been a good example of how far you can get if you work hard."
Simson has shone as a hurdler and is in the final year of the 75m range but is looking forward to stepping up to 80m next season.
"I'm quite tall so moving up to 80m shouldn't present that much of a problem," added Simson.
"Hopefully, I can adjust as I go along and grow older, and continue to progress successfully.
"I'm considering competing indoors this year, as my last outdoor competition will be in the pentathlon at Exeter Arena at the end of the month.
"I'm looking to beat the club's pentathlon record which would be a nice way to end the season."
Simson will be flying the flag for Plymouth at Exeter's Combined Event meeting on Saturday, September 30.