Simonsen places fifth at junior nationals in San Diego

MHS’s Gabe Simonsen, right, placed fifith in the U.S. Track & Field Junior Cross Country Cham-pionships. File Photo.

Mustang High’s Gabe Simonsen placed fifth Saturday afternoon in the U.S. Track & Field Junior Cross Country Championships in San Diego.
Simonsen, a two-time Class 6A state champion, clocked 27:14.8 in the 8,000-meter event (about five miles) at Mission Bay Park.
The race’s winner was Sam Gorgas, a college freshman from Northern Arizona who ran 25:44.8.
Only one high school competitor, runner-up Evan Bishop of East Grand Rapids, Michigan (26:21.6), placed ahead of Simonsen, a junior.
“I wasn’t really worried about my time,” Simonsen said. “I was just trying to place high.”
Simonsen, who monitors his runs with a GPS watch, said the course was longer than advertised.
“I felt pretty good about it,” Simonsen said of his performance. “I did it mostly for fun and experience.”
Mustang coach Mike McGarry said, “The longer the distance, the better he gets.”
Simonsen was competing for the Wings of America National Team, a Native American organization and sponsor.
The team placed first.
Simonsen, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, was the only Oklahoman selected.
Simonsen was chosen after running 15:43 during a 5,000-meter qualifier for the Nike South Regional on Nov. 23 at The Woodlands, Texas.
Simonsen and MHS’ varsity track and field team will compete Feb. 7 in a meet at the University of Oklahoma’s indoor facility, McGarry said.

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