Downing sets sights on nationals for himself, championship for team


by Erin Kreiman

The Simpson wrestling team has been in the top-10 in the nation for the past two years, but hasn’t gone all the way to number one. If senior co-captain Cody Downing has anything to do with it, the third time will be the charm.

Downing is anticipating a great year. The last three years, he’s wrestled at 184 pounds. In better shape this year, Downing made the decision to wrestle at 174. It was a better choice, he said, because this year he’s going to make it to nationals.

This is the year he’s determined to be an All-American.

“I’ve had disappointing finishes the last few years,” Downing said. “That’s my biggest source of motivation. I think of it every day, and I don’t want it to happen again. There’s a sense of urgency to do well now.”

With four seniors on the team, Downing said it’s realistic that four or five guys could make it to nationals.

“The young guys will have to take some lumps and learn from it,” he said. “Hopefully the upperclassmen provide some leadership.”

Wrestling Coach Ron Peterson is counting on Downing to provide some of that leadership for the team.

“Cody’s a great kid,” Peterson said. “He’s a great role model for other kids and he has a good work ethic. He is one of those guys that is truly committed to being a successful student-athlete. He works as hard as he can in the classroom, shows up to every practice and never misses an optional workout.”

Downing is preparing for the season by working hard in the wrestling room. He works out daily.

“He’s not a slacker by any means,” Peterson said. “He works as hard or harder than anyone out there.”

Senior wrestler Bryan Llewellyn said Downing is definitely an asset to the team.

“He really keeps guys motivated at practice and pushes us to work harder every day,” Llewellyn said.

Downing is looking forward to the wrestling season, especially because his roommate, senior Brett Christensen, is the team’s co-captain.

Downing said rooming with a fellow wrestler is a source of motivation because they are always there to support each other when the going gets tough. He added that having Christensen on the team, and as a roommate, makes them both work harder.