Ripke leads Iowa Conference in sacks


by Laura Dillavou

Speed, strength and stamina.

Tackles, talent and tenacity.

These six words are often used to describe a fine athlete – they also describe senior Jason Ripke.

Ripke, a defensive end for the Simpson football team, has been named to three prestigious pre-season All-American football teams. Lindy’s Division III, and Street and Smith named him first team, based on his 2004 statistics.

“I was excited when I found out,” Ripke said. “Now though, I have to work even harder because I feel like there’s a bulls eye on my back – it’s a target.”

Working hard has paid off. Head football coach Jay Niemann recognizes the effort this senior has put into making the Simpson Storm one of the best teams in the Iowa Conference.

“He ranked real high – among the top five for quarterback sacks in the country,” Niemann said. “He’s competing against 300-some DIII schools. He has a combination of speed and strength you don’t normally find in that position, which makes him so valuable.”

Ripke, competitive by nature, said his parents are to thank for his determination and perseverance on the field.

“Both my parents were competitive in sports when they were younger,” Ripke said. “They got me started early in baseball, football, any sport. I was in Run-Punt-Pass competitions for years. It’s always been a part of my life.”

As the sports administration major starts his senior year, there are certain things he credits to his dedication to the sport.

“When I started at Simpson, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do this – I didn’t know anybody and felt undersized,” Ripke said. “After about a week, I knew it was the right place. I just wanted to make an impact on the team and the conference.”

And he has.

With statistics to make anyone’s head spin, Ripke has given the Storm something to be proud of.

“It is always good for players to be recognized,” Niemann said. “Whether it’s at a conference, state or national level – it puts the school’s name on the map.”

Ripke is quick to credit those around him for his success as well. As a senior, Ripke not only holds records, but responsibility as well.

“He has tremendous leadership,” junior Nathan Seberg said. “His greatest asset is leading by example – everyone wants to be like him. He motivates us by being the best in the nation.”

But being the best isn’t without struggle. Through good times and bad, Ripke has made football a priority in his life.

“I always try and practice my hardest and I know there are things I always need to work on,” Ripke said. “It’s the best when we win and it’s the hardest when we lose – that’s the way it goes though.”

For the upcoming season, the Storm looks to have success, especially in strong numbers and team unity.

“We are going to have a really good season,” Ripke said. “A lot of us have played together for a long time and we are returning 19 starters. Our whole team has a positive attitude and we’re going to be noticed in the Conference.”