Fall sports come to an end with celebration, heartbreak

by Robbie LehmanStaff Writer

Simpson fall sports teams were on their game during the final weeks of their seasons competing at the Iowa Conference Championships. Here’s how they all finished.

Men’s Cross Country The Storm scored 81 points and finished fourth at the Iowa Conference Championships Nov. 1 in Storm Lake. Senior Eric Osterhaus and junior Eric Patten earned All-Conference honors by finishing in the top 15. Osterhaus finished fifth and with Patten right behind him in sixth, they put together the best performance by Simpson runners since 1995. Freshman Ryan Edwardson crossed the line next for the Storm in 17th place, just missing All-Conference honors.

Women’s Cross Country The Storm finished fifth (136) at the Iowa Conference Championships Nov. 1 in Storm Lake. Sophomore Catie Ellingson earned All-Conference honors for the second consecutive season as she finished 14th in the meet. Simpson runners two through six finished together placing 29th-33rd. “We worked really hard this year,” Ellingson said. “We ran against a lot of tough competition but we had a lot of fun doing it.”

Men’s Soccer After beating Dubuque in the final game of the regular season to qualify for the Iowa Conference Tournament, the Storm matched up against the Spartans for the second time in five days. But they were unable to pull out another victory, falling 3-2 in overtime in Dubuque. The Storm goals were scored by freshman forward Chris Allen and sophomore forward Lucas Haack on assists from junior midfielder Corey Miller and junior defender-midfielder Matt Winegard. Simpson finished the season with a 6-10 overall record, but seven of the losses were by one goal. The Storm graduate just one senior in defender Evan Johnson and look to be a strong contender in the IIAC next season. “We had all the elements to be a good team, but we just didn’t catch those breaks,” Winegard said. “We are only losing one senior so I know the team is already excited about next year.”

Women’s Soccer The Storm entered the IIAC Women’s Soccer Tournament as the No. 4 seed, but fell short to No. 1 seed Wartburg 4-0 in the semifinals on Nov. 7 in Waverly. The Knights scored two goals in each half and outshot Simpson 31-2. Senior goalkeeper Whitney Franker completed a career in which she surpassed every Simpson goalkeeping record in the books. Among the major record categories, Franker ranks first in career wins (37), saves (401) and shutouts (24). Along with Franker, Simpson loses two senior starters: defender Johnna Kripal and midfielder-forward Alyssa Stoll. The Storm finished the season with an 11-6-2 overall record.

Men’s Tennis The Simpson men’s tennis team plays their main season in the spring, but played a short non-traditional season this fall. The Storm lost both meets by the score of 8-1 to Central and William Jewel.

Women’s Tennis The Simpson women’s tennis team also played a full season as always this fall, finishing with an overall team record of 7-9, 5-4 in Iowa Conference play. The Storm saw two athletes win individual conference titles at the Iowa Conference Individual Tournament Oct. 18 in Cedar Rapids, a first since 1996. Senior Alissa Nance earned the “B” Flight Singles title after winning four straight matches, coming from behind in two of them. Fellow senior Gwen Kingsbury won the “C” Flight Singles title, beating her own Simpson teammate, freshman Lynae Gruber, in the finals. Gruber earned runner-up.

Men’s Golf The Simpson men’s golf team played in a total of six meets this fall, with four top-10 finishes. The team split in half for their own Simpson Fall Invitational on Sept. 9. Team #1 finished third overall with 324 strokes, while team #2 finished fifth at 350 strokes.

Women’s Golf The Simpson women’s golf team competed in six meets this fall, placing in the top four in five of them. The team finished fourth overall at the Iowa Conference Championships Oct. 3-4 in Des Moines. The Storm were led be juniors Katie Vaux and Megan Smith, who both earned All-Conference honors for the third straight time. Vaux finished third while Smith placed 10th at the championships.

Volleyball The Storm beat Central in the semifinals of the Iowa Conference Tournament, but stumbled against No. 1 seed Loras in the finals. However, Simpson earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. They faced St. Benedict on Nov. 13 in St. Paul, Minnesota, but lost to the Blazers three sets to one to end their season. The team finished with a 20-15 overall record. Junior libero Brittany Friesth is 38 digs away from breaking the school career record. Junior setter Tara Christensen is 113 away from breaking the school career record for assists. Senior middle hitter Jayna Fischbach completed her career with the eighth-most kills in school history. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to play with my senior year,” Fischbach said. “Making it to nationals was fun and exciting. I’m looking forward to see what the girls can do next year to build on what we accomplished this year.”

Football The Storm ended the season on a high note as they defeated Central 24-17 in overtime Nov. 15 in Pella. Junior quarterback Tyson Unkrich tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Nick Burden on Simpson’s possession. Senior linebacker Tim Stover capped off the win by intercepting a Dutch pass. Stover also tallied nine tackles and a sack. Unkrich threw for 179 yards and three TD’s but also rushed for 110 yards. Burden turned in a 131-yard performance on seven catches. Senior running back Adam Reutzel ran for 127 yards, making it the ninth time out of ten games this season he ran for over 100. He finishes his Simpson career first in total rushing yards (3,731) and attempts (814). The victory was Simpson’s first over Central since 2003. The Storm finished the season at 7-3 overall and placed third in the IIAC at 5-3.