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Senior Spotlight: Lompoc's Ayziah Simmons battles perfectionist nature, re-learns to love sport
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Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Lompoc's Ayziah Simmons battles perfectionist nature, re-learns to love sport

Ayziah Simmons burst on to the Lompoc High School soccer scene as a freshman and quickly became a rising star.

Trouble was, she was putting so much pressure on herself that she had grown to despise the sport she once loved, Simmons wrote in a Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table scholarship application.

“I was pulling away from the sport during my junior year,” Simmons said in a phone interview.

“My athletic director (Claudia Terrones) saw that. She pulled me into her office and talked to me.”

Simmons said she had two conversations with Terrones “and the one we had before my senior year, the second one, helped me turn the corner.”

She said those discussions helped her to shift her outlook from an ideal of perfection, which she could never achieve, to “live for me,” Simmons wrote in the essay.

“It took a lot for me to open up, but as soon as I did I learned that I built my love for soccer around this idea of of perfection,” because she was stuck in a cycle of approval by those around her, Simmons wrote in the essay.

With a new outlook, Simmons had a big senior season. She was named All-CIF by the Southern Section selectors and was the All-Area MVP as the senior striker led the Braves to a Channel League championship and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs.

“I think my senior season was the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Simmons.

She is the Lompoc nominee for the 2020 NSBCART Female Athlete of the Year.

The organization gives its awards at its annual awards dinner, but COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the dinner.

Simmons was a multi-sport athlete at Lompoc. She was on the track team her sophomore and junior years. She was active in the school dance program all of her four years there.

The decorated Simmons had another honor her senior year. She was the school’s homecoming queen.

She will likely be an unfamiliar position - after growing up in an athletic household and being involved in sports since she was a child, Simmons might be done with competitive sports.

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“I have played club soccer for CVSC Outkast and, since I wasn’t ready to completely give up soccer, I thought I might play club soccer during the fall,” she said.

“My dad, Ondray Simmons, is a coach with the club but he also coaches a younger team there, and that looks like the direction he’s going to go.”

If he does, Ayziah Simmons indicated, that is likely it for her competitive soccer career.

Simmons was debating between UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis as her college of choice. She chose UCSB.

“I was originally going to study criminology but they don’t have that at UCSB, so I will study to become an attorney,” Ayziah Simmons said.

She said she will live on campus at UCSB.


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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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