Simpson Wrestlers ride high on young talent

Simpson Wrestlers ride high on young talent

by Megan Stout

As the second half of the season gets underway for the Storm wrestlers, they face several daunting challenges.

The Iowa Conference is arguably the toughest around-it boasts #6 ranked Luther, #11 Buena Vista, #15 Loras, #23 Coe and Simpson is currently at #16. The Storm will face all of these teams on Jan. 26 in the IIAC duals meet.

Although the team is rather young-6 of the 13 starters are freshman-the Storm wrestlers have had a strong first half of the season. Clint Manny, the freshman 149- pounder, has won 11 matches in a row, dating back to the Dec. 8 Central duals.

According to the Sports Information Department, this streak is the third longest in school history. Sophomore 184-pounder Jason Mitchell has won 16 of his last 17 matches which included a winning streak of 15 which is the second longest winning streak in school history.

“You can’t really think a lot about it or else you get consumed by it. Coach said we needed points to win matches and I just tried to to do my best,” said Mitchell.

“You just take it one match at a time. You do what you can for the team.”

Only Simpson’s National Champion from last year, Nick Ackerman, can boast a longer winning streak with 20.

Head coach Ron Peterson credits his young wrestlers for their confidence and strong work ethic. Peterson also noted Justin Song (16-3), Quent Christensen (13-3), Tysen Christensen (17-7) and Bart George (17-6), as powerful forces on the wrestling squad. Junior 174-pounder Brannon Hilton is also having an outstanding season. He currently has a 12-2 record and is ranked #8 in his weight class.

“We’ve got a really young team, but we’re very confident,” said Mitchell. “We have no doubt that if we wrestle well, we will win. Even with one of the toughest schedules in the nation.”

Peterson also cites strong senior leadership as being a key factor in his team’s success.

While Peterson speaks of the team success and work ethic, he has also reached a personal milestone as well. The Storm defeated Concordia (Wis.) 42-12 on Dec. 30, 2001 for his 100th dual meet win.

Storm wrestlers now turn their attention to the second half of the season. The Conference Dual meet will be followed by matches at Central on Jan. 30 and the Wheaton Invitational on Feb. 1st and 2nd.

Simpson also hosts the IIAC JV duals on Feb. 13 and 14.