Storm teams escape to Florida for spring break

by J.C. Blomstedt

With new sports seasons approaching, many of Simpson’s athletic teams are heading to events in Florida over spring break.

Simpson’s track and field squad is heading to Tallahassee, Fla. for the Florida State Relays on March 18-19. The baseball team is off to the Florida Coast Spring Training Camp in Fort Pierce, Fla. to play from March 13-18 and the softball team is sliding into Kissimmee, FL for the Rebel Spring Games.

Softball coach Henry Christowski is a veteran of spring trips – this will be his 10th. He said the spring break trips helps him get a handle on his team.

The trip is important for the softball team because it prepares the team for the conference schedule and the conference championship because it qualifies the winning team into the NCAA tournament.

“We’ll almost be in conference play immediately after and it helps me put people in situations to see how they do,” Christowski said.

According to Christowski, the trip also helps prepare his team because of the high level of competition. The Lady Storm will play 14 games against teams from across the country.

“Six of the 14 games will be against teams that qualified for the regional playoffs last year,” Christowski said.

Christowski also said coaches benefit from taking their teams on a spring trip. He’s able to renew friendships with a lot of coaches at the Rebel Spring Games because the same programs and colleges often go back every year.

Christowski’s team does pay for the trip, but he said it’s very affordable because the athletes who go pay for their expenses by doing $200 more in fund-raising than the players who aren’t going.

Junior Dusty Kain, a member of the Simpson baseball team, said players received credit toward the baseball team’s trip for every T-shirt sold over the minimum of 10.

Kain said the baseball team will also see solid competition during its time in Florida.

“The competition is pretty good,” Kain said, “Last year we played a team twice that got third the year before in the Division III World Series and we played another team that went on to qualify.”

Kain also said going to Florida allows a large quantity of games to be played.

“You get to play so many games,” Kain said, “A lot of quality baseball early – that’s hard to do in Iowa.”

Senior Matt Albert, a member of the track and field team, said the main benefit for the track team is the opportunity to build team chemistry.

“The main reason the trip is important is because it lets us build team unity,” Albert said. “It’s just the track people and we have a lot of fun.”

Albert said it’s easy for athletes and coaches alike to have a good time when they go on spring break trips.

“We have practice in the morning but practice is practice wherever you are,” Albert said. “Then we pretty much pack up and do whatever we feel like doing at Disney.”

He said the obvious importance of the track and field team’s trip is the level of the competition it will face in Florida.

“The last few years have been pretty tough,” Albert said, “There have been a number of national qualifiers from Division I, II and III. It’s a great opportunity to see how we are and it’s a big enough meet where everyone will have someone better and someone worse than them.”

According to Albert, sometimes it’s just nice to get to a warmer climate. He appreciates it as a runner, too.

“It’s nice to get warm weather training where you don’t have to worry about pulling a muscle because of the cold,” Albert said.