Rohani, Simmons Sprint Toward Ultimate Goal of CIF State Finals
By Matt Lopez
For different reasons, Alex Rohani and Brianna Simmons both knew they had to take big steps forward heading into this track and field season.
For Rohani, the junior needed to mature both on and off the track and finally realize his vast potential. Simmons meanwhile, as a senior, needed to seize the opportunity in her last chance at the high school level.
Both Rohani and Simmons put in the work necessary over the grueling season to earn a shot at the ultimate prize this weekend in the CIF State Championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis.
Beverly High coach Jeff Fisher said Rohani had a lot of growing up to do before becoming the runner he has become this season. Last year, Rohani’s personal record (his fastest run time) would have been good enough for a spot in the CIF State Championships, but he faltered in the earlier CIF rounds and failed to advance.
“We sat down at the beginning of the year and I said this is the year where you have to take it seriously because this year can dictate your future,” Fisher said. “I’m proud of the fact that he’s matured so much and he’s handling success and failure so well this year.”
Rohani said he can see the difference in himself.
“I just have a different mindset this year and that’s because I’ve had some great coaching,” Rohani said.
Rohani enters the CIF State Finals as something of a favorite since he currently holds the fastest 400-meter time in California this year at 47.37 seconds.
“I’m expecting to win,” Rohani said. “I’ll be disappointed if I don’t.”
Simmons, who set a school record in the 1,600m (4:54.06) credited her coaching and her teammate Sydney Segal for her improvement this season. She said she’s excited for her first CIF Final in track.
“It’s nerve-racking, but I’m ready,” Simmons said. “I expect to push myself to new limits.”
Fisher said he’s proud of the progress Simmons made this season.
“It’s been amazing to see, she got focused and started believing in herself,” Fisher said. “She’s seeing the bigger picture and realizing she always had this potential.”