Wrestlers stay on top

by Laura Dillavou

A young team, a drought of seniors and a field of freshmen look to make this year interesting for the Simpson wrestling team.

The team has many young wrestlers, some coming in with years of experience, others had only a few years under their belts.

However, this team is turning heads, and looks to do more than that at the IIAC tournament and nationals coming up on Feb. 9-20, and March 7- 8.

Simpson is part one of the top wrestling conferences in Iowa, which makes the field of competition stiff.

Head Coach Ron Peterson feels that Simpson should have a good representation at the Conference tournament and hopefully at nationals.

One of the biggest goals, said Peterson, is to finish in the top 10 in the nation. He feels that this is still plausible and very attainable for the young talent that Simpson is hosting.

Overall, Simpson is 19-8 in the regular season. The team will send 10 freshmen and sophomores to the junior varsity tournament and 10 varsity men to the regular tournament. As of now, freshman Brett Christensen (31-7), sophomores Clint Manny (30-3) and Quent Christensen (30-9) and juniors Bart George (32-8) and Jason Mitchell (29-10) have the best records on the team.

Many not only have the team goal to work toward, but also set personal goals. Junior Bart George worked very hard this season, but some of his goals are not yet met.

“I am looking to go to the national tournament, as well as become an All-American,” said George.

While his goals are set very high, others such as freshman Josh Stirling set goals that he knew would be quite attainable.

Coming in with less experience than most, Stirling’s first goal was to make the varsity team. After he accomplished that, he said his next goal is to make nationals, though that may be difficult because, “conferences are just harder,” said Stirling.

Either way, by reaching small or big goals it gives each team member something to strive for, and to celebrate when it happens.

When looking towards the future, Peterson has set a high goal for next year, to be in the top five in the nation.

Although to many this may sound far-fetched, he feels that the team will be even stronger next year and that becoming a top team is very possible.

Simpson wrestling will not be losing any seniors this year, which makes it all that much easier to stick together as a group and work together.

George feels like the team has become close over the year and hopes that it can pull it together at the national tournament.

Team members, as well as Peterson, feel that next year will be the big year for the Simpson team. By having such a young team, it will be able to grow and progress together, fill out each other’s weaknesses and strengthen themselves overall.

Older competitors have helped out the underclassmen. “Not only has that helped a lot, but it has also brought the team closer together,” said Stirling.

Leadership and team unity have been a big part of why this team works so well together.

Without the support of Simpson students, faculty and parents, Peterson feels that the team would not be where it is today. Through the dedication and teamwork of many young men, Simpson wrestling has pulled off yet another successful season and hopes to continue at the IIAC and national tournament this postseason.