Wrestling team and coach fired up after reaching milestone

Wrestling team and coach fired up after reaching milestone

by Robbie LehmanStaff Writer

After reaching a milestone by collecting the program’s 400th dual meet win in school history, the Simpson wrestling team did something special to celebrate, considering the nature of their sport.

“We went out to eat, which is always really fun,” sophomore Sam Collora said.

The Storm took down Central by a score of 42-3, to earn the record-setting victory, bringing the program’s all-time record in dual meets to 400-368 since the program began in 1924.

This year, the squad stood at 4-10 overall and 1-7 in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as they entered the conference tournament last week.

Collora, who pinned his opponent to win the 197-pound match, admits that it took the team a little longer than expected to achieve the big win, but it was still just as sweet.

“It’s pretty cool to be a part of a team’s history and to reach a milestone like that,”Collora said.

Ron Peterson, head wrestling coach and assistant athletic director, is stepping down at the end the year after 13 seasons leading the Storm.

Peterson had a major impact in reaching 400 as he compiled a 196-102-2 record in dual meets, good enough to become the winningest coach in school history. However, Peterson was reluctant to take credit for his final victory.

“It’s really a tribute to past wrestling greats who had a big hand in it,” Peterson said. “It shows that Simpson has had a lot of success in wrestling and hopefully it continues.”

Senior Geoff Murtha, who also won his 157-pound match by a pin, and the rest of the team, wanted the win especially for their coach.

“We were happy to get to that for Coach Pete before he retired,” Murtha said. “We were looking forward to getting that this season.”

The team was aware that they were closing in on history, but didn’t talk about it much. With the record in sight as well as a chance to earn it against bitter rival Central, the team was more than ready to achieve their goal.

“We went out expecting to win,” Murtha said. “We were pretty confident.”

Collora agrees with Murtha, and attributes confidence as well as excitement to the successful victory.

“Everybody was ready to go, everyone was jacked,” Collora said. “I think that’s part of the reason we wrestled so well.”

Peterson was no exception to the enthusiasm and saw the same things from his team out on the mat.

“It’s always fun to beat Central,” Peterson said. “Our kids always get a little extra fired up. It was a fun way to dominate them to end our dual meet season.”

When asked what sticks out most about this current group, the coach was complimentary of his team’s physical and mental toughness.

“It’s that never-say-die attitude,” Peterson said.

With most current wrestlers coming back next year, big things will be expected once again. For now, the team is zoning in on a strong finish to the season at hand.

“The focus is to get ready for conference and nationals,” Peterson said. “The goal is to get as many people to nationals as we can.”

Although he is taking things one match at a time, Murtha isn’t shy about pointing out the powerful momentum that number 400 had on the entire team.

“It was a huge stepping stone going into conference,” Murtha said.