Former HS Track Athlete Slain In Austin, Texas Mass Shooting

* Willie Simmons, 18, died on Sunday in a mass shooting on Sunday in Austin, Texas

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Willie Simmons was a young athlete with a life ahead of him.

Those who knew him mourned his life on Monday, and for the future that was taken away without a moment's notice. 

On Sunday, Simmons, a former football and track and field student-athlete for Elgin High School, was slain in a mass shooting incident in Austin, Texas, along with two others. Alyssa Broderick, 17, another student-athlete from Elgin, and Amanda Broderick, 34, the ex-wife of the suspect who was arrested on Monday, also died. 

Simmons was 18. 

Stephen Broderick, a former Sheriff's Deputy for Travis County, was arrested on Monday after a city-wide search following the shooting on Sunday.

This spring, Simmons did not compete on the track and field team at Elgin. But over the course of his high school career, he was very aware of the role track and field played with his potential future. He had competed for the program for three seasons leading into the spring of 2021.

Simmons was headed to the University of North Texas next fall on a football scholarship. 

One particular anecdote rung true for former Elgin assistant track and field coach Omasha Brantley. Recounting the story for USA Today Sports on Monday, he remembered a moment when Simmons was trying to evade an important 400m assignment. 

Brantley explained to Simmons why his impact would be felt. 

"This is one of the hardest races," Brantley told USA Today. "One time around the track, give it all you can. He fought us every day: 'Man, I'm not running the 400. I don't want to run it.' But the day of our district track meet, I told him we needed him. It was the 400 open and the 4x400 relay.

"Our boys team wound up winning district that day and when I tell you that this guy ran the races of his life, I mean it."

Brantley said he remembers Simmons pulling him aside after the meet to thank him for the tough love.

"Running that 400 is not easy, man, but to see him so happy after we won that race and to see him so appreciative after something he fought us on, it just gave me joy just like no other," Brantley added. "I just can't believe it. It's unreal to think that he's gone and that they take some of the best from us."

In 2020, Simmons ran personal best times of 12.37 in the 100m. A year prior, he produced efforts of 23.64 in the 200m and 61.14 in the 400m.