FAIRFAX, Va (WDVM) — George Mason fifth year senior thrower Jaylen Simmons is in his last year of eligibility. The final season on his illustrious career for the Patriots.
“He has been a centerpiece to our program, and has really come out and led the team whether he meant to or not,” said George Mason track & field assistant coach Michelle Wallerstedt.
“He’s just a big presence,” said junior thrower Bobby Kestyn. “A big guy doing big things. He’s an unstoppable force in a way.”
Simmons has accomplished a lot over is collegiate career, but he has one more goal he has yet to achieve: qualifying for the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
“Reaching that All-American status is kind of like the cherry on top of a career,” said Simmons. “So, I think, for me, that’s what I want to top off my career with, an All-American finish.”
Jaylen has come close in the past. He’s now qualified for three NCAA East Preliminary meets, but has fallen short of qualifying for Eugene. However, this time around, it feels different.
“He’s a hungry dude,” said Kestyn. “He wants to get in, get out, and just win everything he can.”
“He has been preparing himself,” said Wallerstedt. “He’s been eating right, sleeping well. He has been doing all the base work. So, for that reason, I’m confident that he will perform well.”
Whether or not Jaylen qualifies, he will leave George Mason with one of the best careers in school history. He holds the school record for the indoor shot put (19.33m), the weight throw (20.30m), and the discus (53.67m).
On a bigger stage, Jaylen holds the Atlantic-10 conference record in the indoor shot put, and has won multiple conference championships.
“I’ve never seen a better competitor than him,” said Kestyn. “He’ll have off weeks, he’ll have off meets, but at the end of the day, when he really needs it, he will just throw one out there and just blow everyone’s minds.”
“He really has had an amazing career, and undoubtedly should leave here proud of what he created because it is remarkable what happened,” said Wallerstedt. “I personally am more than happy with what he has done with his career at Mason.”
It’s the final ride for one of George Mason’s all-time track & field greats. Jaylen will compete in the shot put and discus at the NCAA East Preliminaries which begin on May 25.