Thanks to brand new light weight mats, the Simpson College wrestling team was able to participate in the first annual Black Box Brawl on Feb. 24. The wrestlers were preparing to compete in the Central Region Championship Saturday Feb. 28.
Freshman Devan Berrian said, “It is kind of a confidence booster for the guys to come out and get a win before this weekend.” And win they did. All the wrestlers competing at Regionals won their matches. Jonathan Melton, Jake Mize and Bryce Wignall all pinned their opponents and Brett Roberts won by technical fall over Clay Harris.
The Storm wrestlers were coached by Nate Hansen and fellow teammates on the opposing side were coached by seniors Ethan Calvert and Brian Haynes. The opposition wrestled in singlets from South Dakota State University, University of Iowa and other various teams.
This was the first ever Simpson Athletics event in the Black Box, and it will not be the last. Coach Hansen said, “We have a meet the team day in the fall that is usually in the wrestling room, and parents come out. We will probably do that up here from now on. We might even have a conference dual meet up here sometime.”
The rows closest to the ring were filled and most balcony seats were taken. Music played the entire time and a spotlight illuminated the center of the mat.
One notable spectator was head football coach Jim Glogowski. He said, “I wanted to support the wrestling guys; I really respect their program. They’re doing a great job and working hard. I want to see them do well next week.”
More Simpson athletics teams could follow suit and utilize other areas on campus the way the wrestling team aims to. Coach Nate Hansen also hinted at the possibility of wrestling in the Kent Campus Center atrium or having a preseason event on the newly built Pedestrian Plaza.