Former Federal Way High School track and field coach Sam Beesley was watching his television when a highlight of a Pac-12 track and field race came on.
Oregon’s Tanguy Pepiot had a large lead with about 100 meters left of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the Pepsi Team Invitational on Saturday at Oregon’s Hayward Field. So he looked to the crowd and raised his right arm twice hoping to increase the noise level a few decibels as he coasted to the finish.
Washington’s Meron Simon, Beesley’s former pupil at Federal Way, burst past Pepiot at the finish for the stunning come-from-behind win.
“I was watching and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a UW runner — wait a minute!’ ” Beesley said. “I called my wife over — ‘That’s Meron.’ She’s like, ‘What?’
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‘That’s Meron!’ ”
Video of those final seconds has since gone viral. ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon both called Pepiot “a dope” for his lackadaisical finish on their show “Pardon the Interruption.”
But on the other end of that was Simon, a junior, who never gave up on the race, even when trailing Pepiot by about 10 meters.
He’s used to finishing strong. Simon played football instead of participating in cross country his sophomore year. But he switched the next year and placed 71st in the Class 4A state meet.
Simon improved by 62 places, finishing ninth, his senior year.
“He played wide receiver. I was an assistant coach on the team and I remember that was the first time I remember telling someone that they should give up football,” said Beesley, who retired last year after 45 years of coaching track and field.
Simon placed 15th in the 3,200 meters at the 4A West Central District track and field meet his junior year in 2010 and was 16th in the 1,600 meters. Both were out of 16 runners. He did not qualify for state.
The following year? He took third in both events at the state meet and was part of Federal Way’s fourth-place 1,600-meter relay team. He earned All-America first-team honors as part of UW’s distance medley relay team last year.
“I’m just glad I had him on my team because he’s a kid I will always remember,” Beesley said.
WILSON GETS NOTRE DAME JOB
Bellarmine Prep graduate Katie Wilson is leaving her Lakeside head volleyball coach job to become an assistant coach at Notre Dame.
Wilson joins the staff of former Washington coach Jim McLaughlin. Lakeside reached the state tournament in each of its two seasons under Wilson after last making an appearance in the 1986-87 season.
“I always knew in my heart, at some point, I would like to go back to coaching college,” Wilson said in a statement. “Coaching Notre Dame is my dream job and having the opportunity to work with two of the best volleyball coaches in the country, Jim McLaughlin and Mike Johnson (the former head coach at Xavier), made this opportunity one that I couldn’t pass up.”
Wilson began her coaching career as the C-team coach at Bellarmine Prep. She won a state title as the head coach at Seattle Prep in the 2010-11 season and was an assistant at Seattle University before being hired at Lakeside.
So what if he’s a sophomore?
Foster Sarell last week added Stanford to the schools he’s received scholarship offers from, Graham-Kapowsin football coach Eric Kurle said.
Stanford is the fourth Pac-12 school to offer the Eagles’ 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman. He’s also received offers from Boise State, Eastern Washington, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington, according to 247sports.com.
Sarell is rated a five-star prospect by Scout.com.
Federal Way will hold a signing ceremony for Viont’e Daniels at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the school. Daniels has committed to play basketball at Washington State next season. … Daniels, Lincoln’s Josiah Barsh and Bellarmine Prep’s Claire Martin will compete in the Northwest Shootout on Saturday at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon. … Wilson’s Keun Palu-Thompson and Elijah Cotton-Welch liked playing basketball together so much they decided they’ll continue to. They both signed letters of intent to play at Lower Columbia College in Longview. Meanwhile, Gig Harbor’s Casey Gearhart and Chris Drake will play together again at Pierce College.