Wrestling back on track at Simpson


Photo Courtesy of Simpson College

Simpson’s wrestling team is gearing up for their first “normal” season since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

by Jenna Prather, Staff Reporter

Wrestling is back in action at Simpson’s campus for a full season after only competing against conference opponents last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Senior and one of four wrestling captains Dylan McChesney said that it has been exciting to return to a normal season. 

“This year, preseason looked a lot more normal,” McChesney said. “We’ve got a full team at practice; we’re not trying to get groups of three and worrying about the whole COVID protocol.”

Last year, the wrestlers and other athletes were tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis so that players could safely participate in sporting events. Added restrictions were also imposed to stop the spread, one of which was that the team could only compete against conference opponents last year.

Despite these challenges, McChesney and junior Robert Silva had a very successful season. Silva was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-America Team and McChesney finished fifth at the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Championships in March, and had a record of 13-3.

While he’d like to repeat his previous successes, McChesney said his goal for this year is just to enjoy himself. 

“I just let go of all the pressures and everything and just go out there and have fun,” he said. “This is technically my last season so I’m going out there and having fun.”

Head Coach Dylan Peters said he is excited for the team to grow more this year in ways they couldn’t due to the previous limited season and is already seeing the team support each other and bond as the season begins.

“It has been great,” Peters said. “The opportunities we’ve been given as a team and to be together, I appreciate it so much more. I see guys coming in 30 minutes to practice playing games, talking with each other. It’s a support group, it really is.”

The team was ranked eighth out of nine schools in the conference by the coaches poll from earlier this season and that is something that senior Shyler Langley, another team captain, is ready to change.

“We don’t want to be eighth, we don’t think we’re eighth. That’s something we talk about every day, going out there and competing with the best guys in the country because that’s our conference. So, they might put us at eighth but we’re going to work a lot harder than that,” Langley said.

Langley also said he thinks that this year’s team is showing some of the best worth ethic in his four years. 

“Nobody’s ever gotten upset with the rules and requirements of this team and everyone’s shown up early and done the right things,” Langley said. “So, I think this season you’re going to see that.”

Next year, the Hopper gymnasium will be the wrestling team’s new home and will be one of the largest wrestling rooms in the state, featuring four and a half mats worth of space. It will allow the men and women’s teams more opportunities to grow their numbers and compete in a larger setting.

“I think it’s an exciting time for Simpson,” Coach Peters said. “Seeing all these programs continuing and being brought in, trying to grow the campus and bring everybody together. I think Simpson is truly starting.”