Bergstrom and Severn earn Capitol One Academic All-District First Team Awards

by Brock Borgeson

Earlier this month, two players on the Simpson College football team, junior left tackle Blake Bergstrom and senior defensive tackle Alex Severn, earned 2014 NCAA Division III Capitol One Academic All-District 8 First Team awards.

The District 8 team was comprised of 24 players who were selected amongst all Division III colleges throughout AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, IA, ID, KS, LA, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY and CANADA. College Sports Information Director of America (CoSIDA) selected the award winners.

This was Severn’s second Capitol One Academic All-District 8 First Team award, and he also earned Academic – All IIAC awards in 2012 and 2013.

For his peers and teammates, it’s no surprise that Severn received this award again.

“First off, Alex is totally deserving of the award,” senior wide receiver and Severn’s roommate Nate Connealy said. “He’s totally committed to everything he does and gets everything done to the best of his ability.”

A senior from Treynor High School in Council Bluffs, IA, Severn boasts a 3.86 GPA, majoring in applied philosophy while minoring in mathematics and political science. For him though, school is far from over as he plans to attend graduate school for public policy.

Severn’s studious mindset extends to the football field, making the job easier for the Storm coaching staff.

“He’s been a leader but also a coach on the field,” head coach Jim Glogowski said. “There have even been times that he’s corrected linebackers, and with them playing him on the defensive line, that’s impressive. He’s been like this his whole career.”

Amongst managing responsibilities as a team captain, member of the Simpson’s co-National Championship team in College Public Forum Debate, student body president, and at one time, president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Severn has still found time to contribute on the field.

Heading into last Saturday’s game, Severn had 88 tackles. Despite the success, Severn recognizes that it hasn’t been easy, but support from friends, family and coaches have carried him through.

“It’s been extremely hard to balance all of my responsibilities,” Severn said. “I’ve had a good support group, whether it’s been friends, families or coaches. My parents have been a big influence. Here at Simpson I can’t say enough about the people and coaches who are willing to help us out, whether it’s been with our schedules, classes, football, or just life.”

Bergstrom, a junior from Ankeny, IA, has also benefited from the support group as a 2013 IIAC All-Academic Team winner ascending to the level of All-District Academic award winner in 2014.

The 6’ 5”, 255 lb. junior majoring in physical education and minoring in coaching, has built a 3.71 GPA, all the while earning a starting spot on the offensive line two years in a row, starting every game at left tackle.

Bergstrom’s attitude and work ethic have been large contributors to his success on both fronts.

“Blake is just a great kid and is always upbeat,” Glogowski said. “He’s been consistent on and off the field. He’s well liked on the football team, and he’s always out there conditioning. He’s done a great job reshaping his body for the position, and it’s paid off for him.”

Playing at left tackle defending the quarterback’s blindside, Bergstrom has had to be a student of the playbook, being at a highly accountable position. Responsibilities on or off the field haven’t been hard for Bergstrom to field though.

“Being at left tackle, you definitely have to study the playbook, think, and know what you’re doing out there,” Bergstrom said. “You definitely have to balance time for academics as well as time on the football field. But at this level, you know you come here for the academics and understand that education is first.”

Although both Bergstrom and Severn have appreciated the honor of being first team selections, both players will have an opportunity to earn first, second or third team All-American honors nationwide in voting later this month.

So although the play on the field has ended for these two players and the rest of the Storm football squad, work in the community, classroom, weight room, and around campus has not ended. This continued effort in all phases of life is part of the reason Simpson football has continued to generate more than just players, but student athletes.

“They [these awards] are a testament to the atmosphere here at Simpson,” Connealy said. “Being a student really comes before being an athlete, and that’s just part of the culture here. It’s something our coaches value, and the ability for our players to receive these types of distinctions isn’t a fluke or one-time thing.”