Birnbaum caps record-breaking career with another amazing performance at State Track Meet

RC Stevens Senior has been on track throughout his HS career
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 11:15 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Speed and endurance were advantages Simeon Birnbaum thought would serve him well in his favorite sport. “Yeah I thought about hockey for a long time! I wanted to go to the NHL for a while. I was definitely on the smaller side and then I kind of had to make a decision. If I want to play competitive, hitting hockey, or run at the top level, you can’t really do both, so I thought I had more of an opportunity to run!” Birnbaum says.

The Rapid City Stevens senior has more than made good on it, becoming the greatest distance runner in South Dakota history with a relentless pursuit of excellence. “To get to really high levels you got to be almost dissatisfied. Not like you can’t be happy with it, but you always got to want more.” Simeon says.

Birnbaum broke half century old state records in the 800 and 1600 meter runs and holds the national mark in the 3200. Last year he became just the 17th high schooler in United States history to run a sub-four minute mile. “Every time I warm up, before I go out on the line, I hear people yelling out the times they want me to run!” Birnbaum says.

Earning Simeon the chance to run at the University of Oregon next year. “We’re getting the best of the best at Oregon, so I’m excited to just get beat. I’m excited to push myself to places I’ve never been before.” Birnbaum says.

And setting the stage for his final run in South Dakota. Birnbaum won four more championships at the state meet this past weekend, ending his career with ten in track and field to go along with two State Cross Country titles. “I think my 3200 and mile record will maybe be 300 years before they’re broken! So I want that legacy to last lifetimes.” Birnbaum says.

Slowing down isn’t something Simeon is apt to do, yet knew he mentally had to as he closed the final race of his prep career. “I was looking at the crowd, I was looking at the time, I was just kind of being in the moment and trying to almost take a mental picture. I mean it may be my last race in South Dakota ever.” Birnbaum says.

And for his final act he broke former Olympian Rod DeHaven’s 39-year old meet record in the 1600 meter run, perhaps a signal that Birnbaum’s own Olympic aspirations. “I’ve never been shy to say that I want to be in Paris in 2024 and obviously I’m going to be going for a medal in Los Angeles (in 2028) hopefully.” Simeon says.

...are right on track.

Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.