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'I want both': Columbia Falls' Malaki Simpson chasing Class A gold in 100, 200 meters

Malaki Simpson
Posted at 7:32 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 11:12:15-04

COLUMBIA FALLS — Malaki Simpson currently holds some of the fastest times for the 100- and 200-meter races in Class A, and after placing second at state for both events last year he has his eyes set on gold.

"I feel a little bit more pressure this year to finally bring home state," said Simpson. "I took second twice last year, so this year is definitely about bringing home that first-place in both the 100 and 200."

Simpson’s individual times of 10.85 seconds in the 100 and 20.05 seconds in the 200, rank first and second respectively in Class A this year.

But as for his success, he gives credit to the team and its culture.

"I’d say our team is really strong. We always try to practice together, we always try to do some type of games," said Simpson. "We're always trying to push each other to be the best we can and that's why we always seem to have someone in every event make it to state because we always support each other, which means a lot to us."

Simpson’s head coach, Jamie Heinz, has watched him develop as a runner the last four years and couldn’t ask for a harder worker.

"As an athlete he's basically rewritten our record books at the high school, so he’s the fastest kid in school history to ever go through here," said Heinz. "And just tremendous work ethic in terms of an athlete to get where he's at. So not only is he a gifted person, but he's also willing to put in the time and effort to get to where he's at."

As a junior and now a senior, Simpson won the 200-meter race at the Russ Pilcher Top 10 meet in Missoula, and even though he placed second at state last year for both the 100 and 200, it’s the 200 he’s slightly more hungry for.

"Both at Top 10 last year and this year, I was able to bring home the win in that," said Simpson. "So I think being able to bring home the win in the 200-meter for state would be quite nice, but obviously I want both."

Simpson has Class A's No. 1 time in the 100 at 10.85, established at the Russ Pilcher Top 10. Glendive's Kohbe Smith is tops in the 200 at 22.01 to Simpson's 22.05.

After watching Simpson’s drive only grow the past four years, Heinz is nothing short of confident he can finish this year crowned a state champion.

"His whole goal and purpose and his determination is to be a state champion because he hasn't been one yet and he's worked so hard," said Heinz. "And he deserves that, so he's keeping that in focus, and by all means (the) Top 10 was a great accomplishment but not his final goal."

Simpson will be looking to claim gold at the Class A state meet in Laurel on May 24-25.