Vegas deemed success for SC wrestlers

by David Adams

The Simpson College wrestling team is fresh off a busy and productive winter break.

First, the team went to the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas. According to junior Jeff Sand, the team had a lot of fun.

“There was rarely a time when we weren’t packed into groups strolling the strip in our down time,” Sand said.

But this trip wasn’t all fun and games for these athletes.

The team came to Las Vegas intending to win. They competed hard, and as a team they ended the Desert Duals tournament with a 3-1 record.

There was one athlete that stood out at the Las Vegas tournament: freshman 157-pounder Bryan Haynes from Gladstone, Mo. He ended the tournament with a 3-1 record and was the team’s top performer not only in Las Vegas, but for the entire month of December, and he was elected as Simpson College’s Student Athlete of the Month for December. Haynes finished the month with a record of 8-3, and of those eight wins three were pins and two were major decisions.

Haynes will be one to watch in the months and years to come.

Las Vegas wasn’t the only stop for the Simpson wrestling team over break, as the team made its way from the west to the east coast to Williamstown, Mass. only one week later. This trip involved more challenges as the team competed in the Williams Invitational on Jan. 7.

The Storm placed seventh of nine teams, but had four individuals advance all the way to the consolation championships. Freshman Devin Rausch (125), sophomore Stephen Blayer (149), sophomore Justin Bruce (174) and sophomore Jared Bevins (197) all lost in their consolation matches, ending the tournament in fourth place.

Since winter break the team has been practicing hard and preparing for conference matches, and Bevins is ready to keep competing.

“We have had a good week of practice so far since returning from Massachusetts and hopefully we can keep raising the tempo looking forward to some tough Iowa Conference competition,” Bevins said.

The Storm wrestling team is very hopeful about the rest of the season, and Sand is confident in the team.

“The season is looking up for us,” Sand said. “We have definitely had a lot of ups and downs individually and as a team, but we are working every day to improve and you can definitely see it. By February, the Storm will be a team to be reckoned with.”