Scholar athlete: Simpson sees athletic growth, has more time to studyPublished 12:01am Thursday, April 25, 2013
NATCHEZ — In Christopher McGraw’s estimation, grades are a good indication of how someone will perform athletically.
The Adams County Christian School track coach pointed to senior Mollie Simpson as an example. Simpson, an A-B student, recently placed first in the triple jump, 4X100-meter relay, 4X200-meter relay, 4X400-meter relay and the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the teams district meet.
“How can I depend on a C-D student when I have A-B students I can always depend on?” McGraw said. “If you look at all my girls, I don’t have any bad-grade girls that are left. The ones with good grades definitely perform better.”
In Simpson’s case, McGraw said there’s been a definite growth in his young runner from her junior season to her senior year.
“She’s gotten so much faster, and it’s because she worked on her own,” McGraw said. “When we started in February, she started turning eyes quickly compared to last year’s Mollie.”
Simpson said the biggest difference this year, both with schoolwork and sports, is having more time as a senior. She’s currently only taking five classes, which allows her to get track practice in during school hours — and have more time in the evenings for homework.
“I’m out here running when they’re still in school,” Simpson said. “I don’t really have that much to study, and I usually go home at 3:15 and study until maybe 6, then get ready for the next day.”
That’s a far cry from last year, Simpson said, when schoolwork piled up and late nights were common.
“I had to run after school, and I didn’t have time to rest for homework (afterward),” Simpson said. “By the time I got done studying, it was 2 in the morning.”
When it comes to grades, Simpson said McGraw is a major source of encouragement.
“He always tells me I have to keep my grades up so I can run and win state, because we have a chance to do that this year,” Simpson said.
Simpson recently signed to play soccer at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and track allows her to stay in shape for that sport as well.
“If I didn’t do this, I’d be so out of shape,” Simpson said.
There’s also some correlation between track and soccer, Simpson added, especially as a sprinter.
“Sprinting helps you, because you have to do a lot of sprinting to the ball and the goal (in soccer),” Simpson said.
Since there were many long nights earlier in her high school career trying to balance school and sports, Simpson said she has good advice for anyone looking to follow in her footsteps.
“Don’t give up, and focus on grades more than sports, but try to do as well as you can in sports,” Simpson said.
McGraw also stressed that grades ultimately are the most important thing.
“You’re a student-athlete, and the student part comes first,” McGraw said.
Simpson is the daughter of Wade Simpson Sr.