Who to Watch in Fall Sports

by Amy JohnsonStaff Writer

Simpson’s athletic programs are well into their fall seasons, and several key athletes are hoping to lead their teams to success in their remaining contests. Jill Berner – Women’s TennisRanked number one in both singles and doubles for Simpson’s tennis team, junior Jill Berner doesn’t seem to feel the pressure. As the oldest member of the team, Berner has taken on the role of being a leader to the younger girls.

“My personal goal has changed,” Berner said. “It’s slightly different every year. I’ve taken it upon myself to be more of a leader this year. Being in the number one spot is tough. I need to focus most on keeping the other girls encouraged through matches and being a good example.”

An early elementary education major, Berner led the Storm in single and doubles victories her freshman season. Her 14 singles wins are the fourth-most in a season by a Simpson player.

“When I came to college, I didn’t know if I’d be able to compete or be on the same level,” Berner said. “The opponents I knew and played against growing up who were ranked high, I’m playing against now in college. They recognize me and know my name. I’m well-respected by them and that’s a big accomplishment to me.”

Berner is accomplishing her goals one year at a time. Focused most on how to help out her younger teammates, she is looking to have a solid season in a competitive conference.

Catie Ellingson – Women’s Cross CountrySimpson cross country started the season off right on Sept. 5 at the Central Invitational, placing second out of six. With three meets under her belt, junior standout Catie Ellingson seems to be running her races quite well. During the Central Invitational, Ellingson placed second with a time of 18:56.

The Indianola native also had a nice showing at the second meet of the year in Grinnell, finishing fifth with a time of 22:45. Always trying to better her time, Ellingson finished 11th at the Roy Griak Cross Invitational held at the University of Minnesota. In a field of 500 runners, an 11th-place finish with a time of 23:06 is impressive.

Not only does Ellingson find herself setting the pace in cross country, she is also a standout in indoor track. During her freshman year, she was selected for All-Conference in cross country and was also an All-American at the 2008 NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships in the 800-meter run.

With one more season to go, Ellingson is sure to be a threat in both cross country and indoor track.

Megan Smith – Women’s GolfSenior Megan Smith seems to find herself on the top half of the leader board at Storm golf meets. In three previous meets held in September, Smith has had two 18th-place finishes and placed 14th after the first round at Central.

At the latest meet, the 2009 Iowa Conference Women’s Golf Championship held on Sept. 25-26 in Cedar Falls and Oct. 2-3 in Decorah, Smith finished with a score of 333 (+45). She took eighth place in the tournament, and Simpson finished second overall. Megan Petersen – Women’s SoccerAs a new face on the field for the women’s soccer team, freshman Megan Petersen had big shoes to fill. Petersen is taking over the role of goal keeper for Whitney Franker, who is now the women’s assistant coach.

So far, so good. Petersen has 29 saves on the season, recording her first career shutout in her collegiate career against St. Catherine. She recorded seven saves. During her collegiate debut against UW-River Falls, the athletic training major had 10 saves, the most for Simpson since the second game of the 2008 season. Petersen came into the season ready to roll.

“I wanted to learn and experience as much as I could being a freshman,” Petersen said. “Overall, I just want to be successful in the box.”

Successful she has been. Petersen, young and athletic, will be around for the Storm soccer team for three more years. She looks to help take the team to new levels.

Tyson Unkrich – FootballSenior quarterback Tyson Unkrich, a leader both on and off the field, has had a superb four years for the Storm. Unkrich transferred to Simpson after red shirting a year at Iowa State University and quickly found his role on the team.

Way-beyond-average stats bring Unkrich into his senior season, and he keeps tacking on to his passing yards. During the home opener, Unkrich tallied up six of the Storm’s seven touchdowns with a total of 343 yards.

He also had a good showing against Loras in which he led the Storm for the second time this season in rushing, accumulating 58 yards to go along with 116 passing yards. With only four games completed in the 2009 season, Unkrich is setting himself up for some impressive numbers and a winning season for his senior year.

Amy Schuster – VolleyballOutside hitter for the Storm, junior Amy Schuster, is no stranger to the court. In both her freshman and sophomore years, she was named second team All-Conference and doesn’t plan on letting up.

“The big goal for this season is to win conference and hopefully make it and do well at Nationals again,” Schuster said.

Simpson finds itself in a tough conference yet again this year. The team returns five of their six starters, including Schuster.

“It might be cliché, but Central is my favorite conference team to play,” Schuster said. “It is usually the best because it brings the best crowd. Competition wise, it’s Loras. There was a lot of revenge brought into the game this year.”

The 5’11 Indianola native has tallied up 162 kills and 126 digs so far this season and gave Simpson something to brag about while participating in the 2009 Puget Sound Premier volleyball tournament in Washington. Schuster made the all-tournament team after slamming 34 kills with a .168 hitting percentage.With half the season left to play, Schuster plans on leading to the Storm far into tournament play.

Ryan Edwardson – Men’s Cross CountryRyan Edwardson, a sophomore on the men’s cross country team, is off to a hot start. In his first meet this year, Edwardson placed second with a time of 19:40 at the Central Invitational.

At the Grinnell Les Duke Invitational, a 12th-place finish was recorded for the Spencer native with a time of 26:42; he helped the Storm grab a seventh place finish overall.

At the latest meet, the Roy Griak Invitational held at the University of Minnesota, the men’s cross country team finished 20th of 35 teams in one of the most competitive meets of the season. Edwardson ran a time of 27:54.2, placing himself 87th in a field of 370.

Corey Miller – Men’s SoccerCorey Miller, senior midfielder for Simpson, already has three stellar years done and can only this year brings equal success.

As both a freshman and sophomore, Miller was chosen as second team All-Conference. In 2007, he led the team in points with 10 and assists with four. In his first season with the Storm, Miller finished 23rd in assists per game at the Division III level.

With half of his senior season done, Miller has tallied up three goals for a shot percentage of .200. One of those goals came against Crown in the beginning of the season – he scored in the 16th minute, giving his team the momentum needed to start the game off strong.