Rogers High two-time Class 4A 110-meter hurdles state champion Eric Simpson will continue his track career just 36 miles from his hometown.
Simpson, who also captured a state title in the Class 4A 300-meter hurdles two weeks ago at the state track meet, committed to the University of Washington track team earlier this spring. Simpson won the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.16 seconds and the 300 hurdles with a time of 37.78. Simpson said he built a relationship with the Huskies’ coaching staff during track camps over the years.
“There were a couple of other schools who wanted me, but I have worked with the UW coaches before at camps so I knew them really well,” Simpson said. “I see how much faster they make their sprinters and hurdles. I think I have pretty good form, but the area where I need to make the most improvement is my speed. I just want to become faster in college. That is my main goal.”
Rogers cross country head coach and assistant track coach Ken Zentz thinks Simpson’s calm demeanor will allow him to flourish at the NCAA Division-I level.
“Eric has an outstanding work ethic and has a pretty well-grounded personality,” Zentz said. “One thing that makes Eric successful in the hurdles is that he doesn’t panic. If he gets off balance a little bit or his steps aren’t perfect, he is always able to recover. He has an opportunity to be really successful with that kind of philosophy at the University of Washington.”
Simpson said he will forever cherish the memories of his high school track career.
“The only way to describe it is that it has been a wild roller coaster,” the senior said. “Running track at Rogers has been great. Danny Carlson (Rogers head coach) is my favorite coach I have ever had in my entire life. We clicked since day one and I think that is because we have similar personalities and share a similar passion. He is not really a yeller or a rah, rah guy. We have this thing after every single one of my races where I go find him and we talk about I did wrong or what I need to do to get better. That is the kind of guy and coach he is.”
Simpson credited Carlson for helping him fine-tune his form in the 110 hurdles this season.
“We noticed early in the season that I was going way too high over the hurdles and especially early on in my races,” Simpson said. “We felt like we get it faster and closer over the top. It has made a really big difference. I went from a 14.3 (seconds) to a 14.1.”