Over the last four years, Central Bucks West’s Emmi Simon has relished plenty of moments.
“I was so privileged to have been able to experience all of the team’s firsts and lasts this year,” said the senior. “Not only were a few of us able to compete in open events for the first time ever at states, but we also got an opportunity to put our talents together and race multiple relays, which was something that was really special.”
Simon was a part of the Bucks’ 4x400- and 4x800-winning relay team at the 2021 PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.
She was joined in the 4x400 by sophomore Claire Dalsass, senior Carlin McFadden and junior Kate Edenson in 3.55.69. In the 4x800, Simon ran with Dalsass, senior Julia Flood and McFadden in 9.20.15.
Edenson took home gold in the 800 in 2:12.36, and senior Chloe Timberg won the pole vault with a mark of 13-0. Freshman Mimi Duffy was second in the 200 in a time of 24.75.
A week after capturing their first-ever district team title, the Bucks took home their inaugural state team Class 3A title, scoring 53 total points.
Head coach Kiki Bell has watched her core seniors of Simon, Flood, McFadden and Timberg blossom like a bud into a full-fledged flower.
“They were just businesslike in a very workable way,” said the veteran coach. “These kids always adapt. They didn’t want to let each other down. They just have a lot of respect and love for each other.
“It became perpetuating. We had six to eight movable bodies who could fit nearly in any slot for relays in recent years. They had an intrinsic drive and motivation that pushed them to the limits.”
From the beginning, Bell saw something special.
“They made an impact in their freshman year,” she noted. “They always lead by example and did so much.
“We knew they would be bosses one day. They were unlike most of the other group of athletes we have had.”
At states, Edenson and company battled through some 40-degree temperatures, double what they were a week earlier. Like her teammates, Edenson wasn’t going to be denied.
“Even in the greatest weather conditions, everyone on our team put in 100 percent effort to obtain this win for the team,” she said. “It was fantastic about our outcomes.
“My performance in the 800 was good, and it was a great opportunity to run the open 800 fresh. It also was special to run it with two of my other teammates. Winning the 4x400 was a great way to finish the day.”
“We definitely knew going into it that we had a large number of runners in a wide variety of events,” she stated. “We had strong sprinters and strong mid-distance runners. This made us more confident toward our success.
“Winning the state meet was something we had talked about and worked hard towards the season. We did have that goal in mind.”
Timberg has been charting her own growth since her freshman season.
“Going into this season, I didn’t expect to hit 14 feet,” she recalled. “I was a 12-9 vaulter. It showed me how far I came from being a little eighth grader who picked up the pole one day. It was a little crazy, and I figured out what I could do as a high school student.”
Timberg has also watched her teammates develop steadily over their high school careers.
“We were still kind of acclimating as freshmen,” she said. “As you start to work, you can see the potential. We all saw the talent around us and it amazed us.”
Bell recognized the outpouring of support from Doylestown during a parade a few days after the state meet. She believes they will someday realize the imprint they left on the program.
“They don’t understand how far their performances have touched so many people close to the program as well as the alumni,” she stressed. “We have heard from many alumni, and how proud they are of this accomplishment.
“They set a standard that the younger athletes want to be part of and now play their role. We’ll be fortunate to basically reload this team instead of rebuilding it.
“These were totally cool kids.”