Manny, wrestlers poised for success

Manny, wrestlers poised for success

by Ben RobisonStaff Writer

The 2008-2009 wrestling season is upon us. Under new direction of Head coach Clint Manny, the Simpson wrestling team is looking to make drastic improvement from last year’s disappointing 4-10 season.

“This is going to be a good season for us,” Manny said. “Our expectations have changed, and we’ve set our goals high.”

The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is notorious for being one of the toughest conferences in the nation. With programs like Coe, Luther and 12-year title defender Wartburg, the Storm will have a tough road in front of them.

“We’ve got stiff competition, but we’re preparing well,” junior Calvin Barber said. “We’ll hold our own.”

Manny’s new system seems to be a hit.

“We’ve transitioned very smoothly,” senior Ben Hektoen said. “It’s super intense, and we’re ready to go.”

Barber echoed Hektoen’s thoughts.

“We’ve responded really well to the new training,” Barber said. “We kind of knew what to expect because [Manny] was an assistant for the last three seasons.”

The Storm are anchored by the middle of their line up. With the team’s only NCAA qualifier in junior Curtis Barber at 165 pounds, and twin brother Calvin at 149 pounds, the team is looking to make a statement.

“The middle weights are the heart of the lineup,” Manny said. “We’re going to be tough. We’re young, but [141 pounds-174 pounds] are solid. There are five or six guys looking to do well.”

With great depth at 157 and 165 pounds, Hektoen, senior Geoff Murtha and junior Wade Dowling, as well as Curtis Barber will all be vying for serious action.

At 174 pounds, sophomore Jordy Ammons should see quite a bit of action. At 184 pounds junior Ryan Napoli will be the starter. Junior Sam Collora will take over at 197 pounds. Sophomore John Bunch should take the starting position at the Heavyweight level.

In the lighter weights, the 125-pound and the 133-pound spots will see some competition between sophomore Casey Miller and freshman Austin Glick at 125 pounds and between sophomores Mike Jablonski and Levi Vogel at 133 pounds

Sophomore Caleb Brus will return for his second season at 141 pounds. He was second in victories for the Storm last year with 22, behind only Curtis Barber with 28.

Freshmen Tommy Mosher at Heavyweight and Sam Thielen at 165 pounds round out the roster for the Storm.

Hektoen, who also serves as team captain, is excited about the lineup.

“If we can keep everyone healthy, we’re going to have a successful year,” Hektoen said.

Manny agreed.

“Our goals are to have some guys in the national tournament,” Manny said. “If we keep the intensity up, there’s no reason why we can’t.”

Manny and his wrestlers are trying to drum up support as they lead the Simpson wrestling program, which has a storied tradition of success in years past, into a new era.

“We want to get the college excited about it again,” Manny said. “We want to get people to the home duals.”

Calvin Barber agreed.

“I hope that people will come out and help us get Simpson wrestling back into the [limelight],” Calvin Barber said.

The Storm will host Luther and Williams in Hopper under the spotlight on Dec. 5 for their first home dual. Then, on Dec. 6, they will host the Simpson Invitational Wrestling Tournament.