SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With the conclusion of the 2023 state track championships this past weekend, it marked the end of the high school career of Rapid City Stevens standout Simeon Birnbaum.
Birnbaum completed his career with the Raiders in a familiar position in his final race, the 1600 Meter Run, as he notched a record time of 4:02.78.
“I wasn’t really thinking anything other than a normal race,” Birnbaum said. “I don’t remember a lot which goes on during a race, but I was moving my eyes over, looking at the crowd a little bit, which you can’t see because I got the glasses on. But I was looking at the crowd, looking at the time. I was just kind of being in the moment and almost take a mental picture.”
Birnbaum won three other titles this year: the 3200 Meter Run, the 800 Meter Run, and he was part of Stevens’ 1600 Sprint Medley win. The graduating senior now owns the meet record in three of those four events.
“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime athlete to have,” Rapid City Stevens head coach Paul Hendry said. “He’s setting some records that I think will be there a long time. I’d be very surprised if they get broken in my lifetime.”
“Besides his talent and the race times too, he’s just such a great kid,” Rapid City Stevens distance coach Jesse Coy said. “He’s such a good leader on our team, and he’s just an inspiring person to be around. He sets high goals and his mindset’s different from most everybody else. He goes after those goals.”
Birnbaum will now head to the University of Oregon, which has a rich history that includes 32 team national titles between cross country and track and field.
“We’re getting the best of the best at Oregon,” Birnbaum said. “So, I’m excited just to get beat. I’m excited to push myself to places I’ve never been before.”
Birnbaum became the 17th high schooler to break a 4-minute mile, which he accomplished last June.