Campus, opportunities bring athletes to Iowa

Campus, opportunities bring athletes to Iowa

by Jack Sawyers

Why on earth would anyone want to give up the sun and scenery ofArizona and Texas for Indianola, Iowa? Better yet, why would anyonefrom out of state, let alone out of country, end up at Simpson?

“I took a tour of the campus and thought it was probably themost beautiful campus I’d been to. I think it was the brickbuildings,” said Sara Kahler, a senior and softball player atSimpson who transferred here from Arizona State University aftertwo years.

“I came on a visit, and really liked the campus,” agreedfreshmen Jason Burkhardt, who competes on the Simpson basketballteam.

Burkhardt said that he made his decision to come to Indianolafrom Scottsdale, Arizona in part because assistant coach SteveEllens

had previously coached at his high school, and also because hecould play here.

“We don’t have any Division III [schools] in Arizona,” said


Simpson junior Kate Brandt had a similar reason for making herjourney to Indianola from her home in Vancouver, Canada.

“There’s very little collegiate softball at Canadianuniversities,” said Brandt, who pitches for the Storm.

Angel Salcido, a sophomore on the soccer team, had a verydifferent reason for attending Simpson – he won a scholarship fromhis high school in El Paso, Texas. Salcido, who rode a bus acrossthe Rio Grande River from his home in Juarez, Mexico, to highschool in Texas, said that he has noticed that Iowa Division IIIathletics are quite different from sports south of the border.

“In Mexico, we don’t practice that hard,” said Salcido.

Kahler also noted that Division III was different from whatshe’d experienced while playing softball at ASU.

“People play sports in division three because they love it,

not because they’re getting paid,” said Kahler.

Despite the contrasts between these athletes’ former lives andthe ones that they lead now, all of them said that they feltenriched because of their experiences in Simpson athletics.

“They’ve made me feel at home, and they support me witheverything,” said Salcido.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people through the team and itkeeps me involved with everything,” said Brandt.

Kahler shared a similar sentiment about her connections atSimpson.

“I think it’s fun to meet people from a small town becausethey’ve got a different perspective on life,” said Kahler.

In fact, few had anything bad to say about their stay inIndianola. Even being over 1,000 miles from home didn’t seem to bea problem.

“There are obviously some times when you miss home,

but I’m not sitting around homesick,” said Brandt.

“It was hard at the beginning, but now I’m used to it,” saidSalcido about the distance between him and his family.

The only complaint that anyone had was the same complaint thatmost Iowa natives share as well.

“The cold is horrible,” said Burkhardt.