Wrestling battles, falls to nationally ranked Coe, Loras and Luther

by Ben Rodgers

INDIANOLA, Iowa – Simpson College wrestling hosted one of the two Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference duals on Saturday, welcoming Coe College, Loras College and Luther College to Cowles Fieldhouse.

Simpson would get two wins from Brett Roberts (174) and Devan Berrian (141) but couldn’t generate enough to overcome a No. 25 Loras, No. 18 Luther and No. 9 Coe Saturday.

“We faced some of the best team you can face in the country today, and we fought hard against them,” head coach Nate Hansen said.

Luther College (9-6, 3-1) came out of Saturday spotless, going 3-0 winning 20-16 over Coe, the decision coming from 285 pounder, Conner Herman, 9-4 to give the Norse the win.

Luther would then edge Simpson (6-9, 0-4) 31-15 and then complete their day with a 22-19 victory over Loras, thanks to back-to-back pins by Justin Kreither (174) and Jayden DeVilbiss (184).

Coe (7-8, 4-1) faired well, going 2-1 on the day, taking down Loras 25-15 and then Simpson 36-16 as they came back after dropping their first match to Luther.

Ferai Sewara, the No. 1 wrestler at 165, improved to 19-1 after Saturday as No. 4, Ryan Harrington (174) stayed perfect at 12-0 after winning three on Saturday.

Loras College (8-9, 2-2) hung tight in all of their matches but would come out of the dual with a 1-2 record on the day.

The Duhawks began with a 39-4 drubbing of Simpson before suffering back-to-back losses to Coe, 25-15, and Luther, 22-19.

Loras’ Steven DeWitt (157) improved to 25-2, as No. 6 Nick Steger (141) would stay perfect at 18-0.

Match 1 – Loras 39, Simpson 4


Loras started off up 26-0 until Brett Roberts broke the scoreless drought, giving the Storm their only points against the Duhawks on a 14-5 major against Ben Kindle.

Eric Quador (184) narrowly lost to Awais Arain, 4-3.

Match 2 – Luther 31, Simpson 15


Things would start out slow against for the Storm as they quickly trailed 10-0 after forfeiting six points to their opponent without the help of a 125 pounder.

“I hate talking about how we would be in the fight with some of these teams with a 125 pounder,” Hansen said. “But it’s tough wrestling nine guys against 10.”

Devan Berrian would then pin Brian Burchett to make it 10-6 Luther to cut the Simpson scoring drought.

Once more, Brett Roberts chipped in, winning his second match of the day on a 6-3 decision over Justin Kreiter as the sat at 22-9 in favor of Luther.

Simpson wouldn’t record another point until Colby Vlieger (285) pinned Clayton Jennings as the match was brought to its final score of 31-15.

Vlieger, the Indianola High School graduate, would go 1-2 on the afternoon.

Match 3 – Coe 36, Simpson 13


Once again, Simpson’s lack of a having a 125 pounder gave Coe a quick 6-0 advantage.

But the Kohawks lead wouldn’t last for too long before Zach Johnston (133) pulled one of the most exciting matches and victories for the Storm.

The freshman Johnston was in danger of being pinned all match as Coe’s Mike  Gussarson held a 14-7 advantage over Johnston.

Johnston, who had been up since 5 a.m., grinding to cut weight, was likely already exhausted, as it was his final match of the day.

But a switch clearly flipped for Johnston as he changed the whole complexion of the mat, pinning Gussarson 34 seconds into the third period.

“Zach is one of those guys that is just dangerous,” Hansen said. “If you knew what his day was like you wouldn’t believe it. It began at 5 a.m. and I think I’ll be telling the story of his day for the rest of my coaching career. Let’s just say he was cutting weight. But, he got stronger as the day went on and got it done.”

Berrian would follow up Johnston with a 6-1 decision over Luke Kremer as Berrian earned his second victory on the day, improving to 11-3 overall.

Simpson kept rolling, as freshman Jonathan Melton (149), who earned December male athlete of the month honors at Simpson, won on a major, 6-1 against Josh Donkle.

Melton would finish 1-2 on the day and is now 12-9 on the season.

The Storm would command a 13-6 lead, but back to back pins for Coe over Jake Mize and Brian Haynes would allow the Kohawks to jump ahead, 18-13.

At 174, Brett Roberts nearly won his third match of the day but was just barely ousted, 3-2 by a 12-0 Ryan Harrington.

Roberts, who went 2-1 Saturday, got himself within one win of 20 for the season, sitting at 19-15 currently.

Simpson would be shut out the rest of the dual with Coe as the Kohawks tallied 30 unanswered points to win 36-16.

Other Varsity Wrestlers for Simpson:


Zach Johnston (133; FR): 13-8 overall, 1-2 Saturday

Jake Mize (157; SO): 19-13 overall, 0-3 Saturday

Brian Haynes (165;SR): 8-7 overall, 0-3 Saturday

Spencer Ward (184; JR): 16-10 overall, DNP Saturday

Eric Quador (184; FR): 5-12 overall, 0-3 Saturday

Ethan Calvert (197; SR): 5-12 overall, 0-3 Saturday

Colby Vlieger (285; SO): 10-19 overall, 1-2 Saturday

Looking Ahead –


Simpson will face off in a dual with the University of Dubuque on Friday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m in Dubuque.

Coach Hansen continues to see improvement and progress since his arrival in Indianola three years ago.

“Step one when I got here was to have the fight to win,” Hansen said. “We have taken care of that. Step two is to get guys that have offense and the ability to score. We have addressed that. Now, step three is just getting the consistency to perform like our wrestlers can, all of the time. If we do that we can be a team nobody wants to mess with.”