CRETE | Crete-Monee girls track coach Willie Cole knows the potential he sees in senior Simone Fears. However, the disappointment in Cole's voice is evident for only one reason.
"All this potential, and we don't get it but one year," Cole said.
Fears is a first-year runner who has never competed in any other sports at Crete-Monee. The sprinter has already established herself as one of the fastest runners in the area. She won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the April 23 T.F. South Invitational and took the 200 at the Hillcrest Invitational on April 17, finishing in 25.78 seconds.
"I'm a little bit surprised," Fears said. "I didn't know how fast I was when I joined track. I knew I could push myself. I wouldn't join a team if I didn't think I could bring something to it."
At first, Fears did not want to join any extracurricular activities. She was more concerned with establishing a social life when she began her freshman year. Later that year, Fears did want to try sports, but found out in September during her freshman year that her mother, Adrienne, had cancer.
Fears lost focus on many things during that time period, but still managed to keep her grades up. Her mother passed away in December 2011.
"I felt like I owed it to myself and my mom to do something with myself," Fears said.
Cole said Fears was a welcomed asset to the team the day she came for conditioning.
"She was not slacking off, she was trying," Cole said. "I came to the conclusion she was going to be an asset. She did well in the 55 indoors."
Crete-Monee is filled with talent, and Cole is expecting big things out of his team this season. Part of that success will be with Fears, who is expected to make a huge splash when the postseason rolls around.
"We expect her to be a state qualifier in the 100, 200 and the (400 relay)," Cole said. "If the 200 doesn't pan out, there's always that leg on the mile relay. There's a very good chance she can be on the podium in Charleston. It's only one year, but we're going to be thankful for it."