The Storm Bunch

by Kate paulman

The Storm Bunch – has a neat ring to it, doesn’t it? This school has some definite leaders on the court, field, and course this fall.

No matter their age, size, or gender, these individuals have set their goals high and are willing to do what it takes to be successful. Athletics are team-oriented but it’s hard to hide the talents and accomplishments of some Simpson Storm athletes.

First, take a look at women’s golf coach Bob Darrah. He is in his 17th season with the team and has been named IIAC Women’s Golf Coach of the Year 10 times. Darrah has helped lead the Storm to 87 wins.

While golf is a solitary sport, a volleyball team has six players on the court at a time who all have to depend on each other to do their share in order to win. These women have a special connection on and off the court, explained junior Tiffany Everding.

“This game is a complete team concept,” Everding said. “You have to work hard for yourself, each other, and the team, and then you will become victorious.”

The team has a record of 13-9 for the season, while three women are setting their own records. Senior Ashley McGraw is currently third in the school’s history for the most career digs with 1,238. Junior Marcie McQuinn is currently sixth in the school’s record books for the most career assists with 2,696. Everding is has 1,032 digs and is closing in on 1,000 kills – doing so would make her only the sixth player to do so.

“I am more focused on the team having a winning season than my own record,” Everding said. “We are happy for the individual achievements but there is more emphasis on the team.”

The football team at Simpson has a winning tradition proven by its 13 conference titles. A team with this level of success in its history makes it more difficult for an individual to be remembered as an outstanding player.

But this year, three senior Storm football players in particular will be remembered for their achievements. Chris Kern has set a new record of the most tackles in a game with 26. Dusty Kain has already broken two records, most career receiving yards and most career receptions, and is very close to breaking the record for the most touchdown receptions. Jason Ripke, a dominant force on defense, has been named to three pre-season All-American Teams.

“Right now, we’re all focused on the rest of the season, not our personal success,” Kain said. “The more each individual player does for the team, the more wins we will get.”

Senior women’s cross-country runner Jen Wendt is leaving her mark in Simpson athletic history as well. Wendt was recently named IIAC Female Athlete of the Week and the following week she was named IIAC Cross- Country Runner of the Week.

Simpson will be losing strong leaders when the seniors graduate, but underclassmen are already stepping up. Freshman soccer goalie Whitney Franker currently has the conference’s best save percentage.

“The level of competitiveness rose drastically between high school and college, but I am willing to step up to the challenge for my team,” Franker said. “The team knows me as a tank and since I am the last person to stop the other team from scoring, I live up to the name.”