Austin shooting victims Willie Simmons III, Alyssa Broderick mourned

Omasha Brantley remembers the 400-meter dash and how Willie Simmons III really did not, under any circumstances, want to run it.

In the end, Simmons would run two.

This was in 2017, when Brantley told Simmons he needed to get stronger. He needed endurance, too. Brantley was an assistant track and field coach at Elgin High School as well as an assistant football coach. Simmons, then a freshman, played both. 

“This is one of the hardest races,” Brantley told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. “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 4×400 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.”

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