Focused on season, Storm wrestling looks to rebuild

Focused on season, Storm wrestling looks to rebuild

by Kristin SimpsonStaff Writer

The Simpson wrestling team is looking ahead and hoping for a year of improvement.

Ron Peterson, head wrestling coach and assistant athletic director, said that the team lost three very good senior wrestlers from last year: Kellen Delaney, Tom Koch and Tony Hager. However, Peterson said that he is extremely excited about the wrestlers they have.

“We’re going to miss those guys but we feel like we really got a talented group of kids that I think are going to take this (program) to a higher level than we were last year,” Peterson said.

Senior Garett Kiley expects the young, close-knit team to be improved from last year.

Senior Geoff Murtha has noticed that everyone is working hard in practice and is committed to getting better.

“We are really working hard so that we can win some matches this year,” sophomore Sam Collora said. “We have a lot of young talent on our team and just need to bring it out.”

According to Peterson, key wrestlers to watch for this season are sophomore Calvin Barber, a returning national qualifier, and his twin, Curtis Barber. Peterson is expecting big things from junior Ben Hektoen and Collora as well. He also notes that since Kiley has been a good leader in the past, the team is going to need his senior leadership this season.

Peterson expects five or six freshmen to be able to start varsity.

“We’re in a rebuilding process,” Peterson said. “Our goal is to get the [freshmen] experienced and to peak at the right time.”

Kiley says that those freshmen who won’t be able to come in right away on varsity will be able to help out in practice.

“You don’t have to be varsity to be a big part of the team,” Kiley said.

Peterson said that last year the team had some injury situations and didn’t have a very successful season. The area of focus for this year is down on the mat. They are currently working on a lot of different drills to help work on their defensive positions.

“We’re a pretty good team on our feet, we just have to be able to get out from the bottom so we don’t get rolled and pinned,” Peterson said.

Peterson said the team is always emphasizing three things- great technique, great conditioning and great attitude.

Collora believes that the team’s positive attitude is their biggest strength.

“The attitude is really good,” Murtha said. “The coaches are doing a really good job of making us better in every practice, mentally and physically.”

Simpson also continues to strive for the goal of wrestling well at the end of the season.

“We’re looking at as we grow and mature, we’re probably going to take some lumps early,” Peterson said. “But with the talent that we have we feel that at the end of the year we can be fairly competitive, and hopefully get some wrestlers into the national tournament.”

According to Murtha, success at the end of the season will come if the team can focus on their own improvement.

“The goal for our team this year is to get better as the season goes and bring it all together at the conference tournament,” Murtha said. “We need to make our own luck and not worry about what everyone else in the conference is doing.”

All hope for increased support from the student body this year. To attract spectators, Peterson believes it is the job of Storm wrestling to be exciting. To Murtha, however, wrestling meets can sell themselves.

“The atmosphere is just amazing,” Murtha said. “There’s nothing as exciting on campus as a packed Hopper ‘Dome’ with the spotlight shining down on the mat.”