Billings Senior's Malikye Simpson will be taking his speed to the Division I level.
Simpson, who clocked Montana's fastest time in the 100-meter dash last season at 10.68 seconds, has committed to run for the North Dakota State University track and field program.
"The coach," Simpson told MTN Sports for his decision to choose the Bison, referring to sprints coach Reece Vega. "Whenever I needed anything to talk about, I asked the coach. When other teams were trying to recruit me and I had issues, I went to him because I got super close to him."
The Broncs senior has some unfinished business on the track this season, as he didn't run a single race after April 30 due to a broken ankle suffered playing 7-on-7 football. Simpson went through a long rehab process to ensure he could be on the football field this fall for Senior.
"It took a long time, man. At first I was really upset that it happened, but I realized everything happens for a reason," Simpson said. "I'm glad to have my mom behind me to push me everyday to get out of bed for rehab. ... It's mainly just all about patience, really, and forcing myself not to run."
Simpson showed no ill effects from that ankle injury on the gridiron this fall, garnering second-team all-state and first-team all-conference honors at cornerback. Ultimately, though, sprint spikes won out over football pads.
"I spent time with my family and my coaches to really talk about it, and it was just mainly health-wise, what would be best on my health and how my body would feel in the future. I felt that track would be the best option, especially after breaking my ankle," Simpson said.
Another goal Simpson has his sights set on is the Montana all-class record of 10.50 seconds in the 100, set by Great Falls CMR's Damien Nelson in 2018.
"You all should be ready for some blazing times," Simpson laughed. "I'll have to keep (the record) in mind."