While the majority of Simpson College was gearing up for an exciting spring break in Florida or Cancun, three Storm wrestlers were making a trip to Ada, Ohio.
Junior Bart George, sophomore Clint Manny and freshman Brett Christensen all competed in the Division III national wrestling tournament on March 7 and 8.
Manny took home a fourth place finish. “Clint Manny probably wrestled as well as he could have wrestled,” said Head Coach Ron Peterson.
Manny pinned his first opponent, won by a major decision in his second match, lost to the eventual national champion, beat a wrestler from Wisconsin LaCrosse and then lost in the third place match.
The 149 lbs. weight class was one of the most competitive classes this year, the two wrestlers that wrestled for seventh and eighth place were both three time All-Americans. The outstanding wrestler of the tournament was also in that weight division as well.
George upset the No. 7 seed in the first round then took the eventual national champion to a tie-break where he was thirteen seconds away from winning the match.
” I lost focus for ten seconds and that’s what cost me,” said George. George then lost his next match and came back to win his last match for a seventh place finish.
“He wrestled really well, he really only made one mistake in the tournament and it kept him from being probably third or fourth,” said Peterson.
Christensen wrestled at the heavyweight division and did not place. He drew the eventual runner-up in the first round, then got beat in his next round and lost in the wrestled back.
“I am disappointed for him, not in him but for him. He worked really hard and just wasn’t able to come up with any wins out there,” said Peterson.
Even though he did not place, Christensen gained a lot by wrestling in the tournament and if history means anything, then Christensen will be back next year.
Last year both George and Manny went 0-4 at nationals and came storming back to be All-Americans this year.
The team ended up 14th overall, which is good for the third best finish in Simpson College school history. With all that was said and done, Peterson is looking to next year already.
“The most important thing is that our young kids continue to make some progress,” said Peterson.
The Storm are not satisfied with 14th and are looking to take home a trophy next season.
“We should be able to (take home a trophy), we have enough guys coming in and a couple already on the team and enough that didn’t make it (to Nationals) this year that should have been there. Once we are all there we should be able to do it,” said George.
With all 10 starters returning, two All-Americans and a 14th place finish at nationals, it’s safe to say that Peterson has the Storm pointed in the right direction for next season.