Wrestlers continue to make a statement in season

by Andrew Harris, sports reporter

The Simpson Storm wrestling program continues to make great strides, continuing on from their success in 2013, 2014 and will lead to a great finish in 2015.

Wrestler Brett Roberts talked about the program making great strides. “Last year we only won 3 duals and this year we have already doubled our win total. We are definitely getting better and I’m thankful. The workouts are definitely tough and have made us tougher both physical and mentally.”

A highlight for the program was the Storm recently going undefeated in the Knox duals. Heavyweight Colby Vlieger reflected on the tournament.

“Going 3-0 was statement for our program; we wrestled a tough Platteville team, an up and coming program College of the Ozarks and a tough North Central College. Overall, [it was] a success and we’re thankful. For the 1st time, we were able to use the techniques and strategies that Coach Hansen has been hammering in all season and everyone finally locked in,” Vlieger said.

“I thought we displayed some real toughness, wrestled really well and came together as a program. We displayed, without a doubt, that we are the best program at the tournament,” Roberts said.

Following the team’s outstanding weekend at Knox, the team traveled to Nashville where they got better on and off the mat.  The Nashville duals were a great measuring stick for the program overall nationally. The IIAC is widely regarded as one of the top, if not the top, wrestling conference in the nation, so to wrestle teams outside the conference and pick up wins displays the growth of the program.

One of the best parts about traveling as a team was being able to connect off the mat with teammates.

“We beat a ranked team and it was a great achievement for the team. What was really awesome was the ability to hang out as a team afterwards to get closer,” Roberts added.

Despite stiff competition from the rest of the IIAC, the outlook of the program is bright and will continue to rise and compete.

Vlieger has high hopes for the remainder of the season.

“We will continue to peak and wrestle well for the rest of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if several of our teammates qualify for Nationals,” he said.

“We are definitely heading in the right direction. I expect to see a couple of guys qualify for Nationals and definitely raise awareness about our program as a whole,” Roberts added.

There have been growing moments and injuries, but the program as a whole has gotten tougher physically and mentally.

“As a team, we are in so much better shape, guys are really working hard. The group overall is working hard and it is showing on the mat,” Roberts said.