Karlee Simmons takes cross country success to the court

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Hill City High School. The Rangers.

"We're just trying to get better every day," said Hill City athletic director and first year girls basketball head coach Wade Ginsbach.

The girls basketball season is two days from beginning.

"We got five girls that graduated, one that left," said Ginsbach.

And this season is the definition of a fresh start.

"We have a lot of freshman and we pulled up some eighth graders and they're working really hard, too," said junior Karlee Simmons who will be starting and playing many more minutes than she has so far in her high school career.

"The intangibles, remarked Ginsbach. "I mean, she knows what it takes. She knows you have to be dedicated to the sport in order to be successful at that sport."

This brand new batch of basketball players gained experience playing with each other while they were waiting in the wings.

"They're pretty excited," said Simmons. "A lot of nerves, too. But that's a good thing, to be nervous, it means you care."

Simmons cares about running cross country. This fall was just her second year competing in the sport and she finished second at the state meet. And her team, they were state champs.

"Oh we were just high on life," Simmons remembered. "We knew we won state. We made history at Hill City, the first one ever. Yeah, we were pretty jacked. Not a lot of words just a lot of emotions going around."

"She brings in a state championship mentality where she knows that you have to work every day because somebody else is also working," explained Ginsbach.

That experience and mindset will help such a untested group that also has two members of the cross country team besides Simmons.

"They ran all summer with the goal in mind that that's what they wanted to do," said Ginsbach. "And when you have a mentality and you have girls buying into something like that, then it's contagious."
Conditioning came quicker.

"A lot more sprint work, running rather than distances and stuff," said Simmons.

And this team is coming together.

"I really just try to work hard in all areas because there's always room for improvement," said Simmons.

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