Athlete of the Week: Hard work pays off for Jureall Simmons

Jureall Simmons is declared the winner in his match against Rancho Bernardo’s Omid Zeighami, the third ranked wrestler in the CIF. Photo/Alan Rhodes
Jureall Simmons is declared the winner in his match against Rancho Bernardo’s Omid Zeighami, the third ranked wrestler in the CIF. Photo/Alan Rhodes

By Bill Tamburrino

Jureall Simmons is one of the hardest working athletes at Ramona High School. As a result of his hard work, he is also one of the most improved.

Simmons is a big man and he is becoming a very Big Man on Campus.

He moved to Ramona late in his freshman year. He had never been on a team before. He went out for junior varsity football and improved greatly as the year progressed. He played JV as a junior and earned a starting job on the varsity as a senior.

He decided (with the constant urging of Coach Steve Koch) to go out for wrestling. His lack of experience was evident at first, but his work ethic was also very evident.

“He is what coaching is all about,” said Koch. “He does any and everything you ask of him. He does extra conditioning. He works on technique. He just works.”

Simmons worked his way to the varsity at the end of last season in a very tough weight division. He is 6 feet tall and at 255 pounds is in a weight class that goes to 285. So he often gives up 30 pounds or he is matched against a much quicker opponent.

He is seldom if ever the favorite, and last week was no different. In a match against Rancho Bernardo, he had to face Omid Zeighami, the third ranked wrestler in the CIF and ranked in the state.

Ramona led Rancho Bernardo 27-21 with two bouts left to wrestle. If Zeighami could score a pin over Simmons, it would give Rancho Bernardo the lead going into the 106 bout. A technical fall would tie the match. A major decision or decision for Zeighami would give Rancho Bernardo momentum and the home mat advantage going into the final bout.

The buzz in the Ramona audience was, “Don’t get pinned.” Simmons didn’t go into the match trying to avoid a pin. He knew that a win would ensure a victory for his team, and he’s a team guy.

Simmons was the aggressor in the bout and at the end of regulation it was tied at 2. In overtime Simmons dominated the action and scored a takedown in the final seconds of the period to post a 4-2 win and give the Dawgs an insurmountable lead going into the final bout.

“I just tried my hardest and did what the coaches told me to do,” he said. “I knew if I went at him I had a chance to win. I wore him down.”

Simmons plans to go into the service after high school. The Coast Guard is at the top of his list. He wants to use the GI Bill to go to college.

For his hard work and improvement and for helping his team beat Rancho Bernardo, Jureall Simmons is the Ramona Sentinel Athlete of the Week.

   
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