KEARNEY – Gracey Simms told herself to remain calm and focused before singing in front of thousands of people on Saturday morning.
The Plattsmouth High School senior achieved her goal with a successful performance in Kearney.
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Simms delivered her rendition of the national anthem at the beginning of the state duals wrestling tournament. Thousands of people from across Nebraska came to the Buffalo County Fairgrounds Arena for the event. The tournament featured 32 teams from Classes A, B, C and D.
Simms arrived at the arena before the start of the 9 a.m. session featuring Classes B and C. The public address announcer introduced her to the crowd and she walked to the middle of two mats to perform the song. The audience gave her a loud ovation after she finished.
Simms submitted a taped audition to Nebraska School Activities Association officials this past fall. She had to complete her version of the national anthem without accompaniment by piano or any other instrument.
NSAA officials notified Simms earlier in the school year that they had selected her to sing at the state duals wrestling tournament. Her parents and Plattsmouth High School Vocal Music Instructor Chris Work came with her to Kearney for the performance.