INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson College athletics has provided a number of student athletes opportunities beyond the games, practices and facilities while they pursue their degree and play the sport they enjoy.
Matt Jeter, head football coach, tries to make the sport more than just a game.
“One of my philosophies is to make playing college football at Simpson one of the most incredible opportunities of that athlete’s life,” Jeter said.
Coaches at Simpson are looking to give student athletes experiences they might not get elsewhere.
Traveling is a major difference between high school and college athletics. Once in college, teams often travel out of state and stay overnight before games.
Senior softball player, Anne Stolte, said she didn’t have the same opportunities in high school.
“We would take the bus to our conference schools, but we never really went out of state, so that was one of the bigger changes from high school to college as far as traveling,” Stolte said.
The softball team travels to Florida and the Storm baseball team travels to Arizona over spring break. They play for a week down south against tough competition to help the team get ready for their seasons.
Teams also take the occasional trip to tour a division one facility.
Sam Sasso, a senior quarterback for the Storm, said the football trip to Kinnick stadium this season was a great opportunity for the team.
“It’s been an awesome experience and the coaching staff has done a nice job of putting us in positions to succeed not only on the field, but off the field,” Sasso said.
Getting to stay overnight and make memories with friends and fellow teammates is one of the many joys about competing for a national championship, too.
The track team traveled to Geneva, Ohio, last year to run at nationals and came back as All-Americans.
Emmitt Wheatley, junior track sprinter, enjoyed being with his team at nationals.
“It’s cool to get to hang out the whole week and get to experience everything,” Wheatley said. “They have been a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Many teams for the Storm also go beyond the game to help the community by incorporating volunteer services into their athletes’ lives.
Simpson athletes have volunteered at places like The Village and Wesley Woods, along with helping around the campus. Many athletes enjoy giving back to their community and often feel like they owe it to those who have supported them as they achieve their goals.
Being part of one team is special, but playing two or more sports in college is something not many college athletes get to experience.
This is another opportunity the division III level brings that athletes can’t get at higher levels. Coaches work with athletes to meet on their schedules so they can perform their best on competition day.
“Playing two sports my freshman year had me really busy and coaches were flexible and helped me with my scheduling,” Wheatley said.
Renovations have also given athletes at Simpson an opportunity to fine tune their skills and put their best effort on game days.
The facilities at Simpson were updated in 2013 with a $6 million project. The Steven Johnson Fitness Center was one of the highlights of the project.
The weight room, aerobic space, athletic training lab and multipurpose rooms are used by athletes at all times of the day.
Student athletes who have chosen to come to Simpson, a Division III school, have the opportunity to continue playing the sport they enjoy. They have put in the work, and the coaches and donors have provided an experience that will last a lifetime in the minds of Simpson student athletes.