INDIANOLA, Iowa - The Simpson wrestling team heads to Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday for the 2015 NCAA Central Region Championships. The last guaranteed tournament of the season, eight Storm wrestlers will try to punch their ticket to nationals from one of the country's toughest regions.
Coming off the program's best dual season since 2005-06, head coach Nate Hansen is hopeful the team will have a representative at the national tournament. That hasn't happened since 2006.
"We're feeling confident and prepared," Hansen said. "When the brackets are released, it won't matter to us where we're sitting. It's going to take three to five, hard-fought matches to take a place at the NCAAs, and we have eight guys who believe they're going to do just that."
The tournament will take place at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque and is being hosted by Loras. Visit the Regional Website for information and links to live results and live video.
What's at stake
The top three placewinners in each bracket advance to the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships, held March 13-14 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Penn.
Augustana (Ill.), Buena Vista, Central, #17 Coe, #18 Cornell, Knox, Huntingdon, #28 Loras, #16 Luther, Simpson, Dubuque, Ozarks, #1 Wartburg
Who's taking the mat
141 - Devan Berrian | A freshman from Brandon, Fla., Berrian closed the season with the team's top winning percentage, going 12-5. He tied for second on the team with three wins in the Iowa Conference and had three pins on the season.
149 - Jonathan Melton | Another freshman who made an immediate impact, Melton received honorable mention recognition in the d3wrestle.com Individual Rankings during the season, the first wrestler under Hansen to crack the rankings. Melton finished the regular season 13-11.
157 - Jacob Mize | A sophomore with lots of mat experience, Mize also found himself in the honorable mention category during the season. His 19 wins were second on the team, going 19-16 overall. He tied for the team lead with seven pins.
165 - Bryce Wignall | Battling injury for part of the season, Wignall - a sophomore - enters the weekend as a relative unknown after wrestling just six matches during the season. He posted a 4-2 record and was a perfect 2-0 in duals.
174 - Brett Roberts | One of two elder statesmen in an otherwise youthful lineup, Roberts has been the Storm's top wrestler for the past two seasons. His 21 wins are a team-high, going 21-16 with a 4-3 mark in IIAC duals. The career 50-match winner also led the team in major decisions with seven.
184 - Spencer Ward | After spending his first two seasons wrestling at lighter weights, Ward has found a home at 184. The junior is in the midst of a breakthrough season, going 17-14 after collecting just five wins in his first two seasons.
197 - Eric Quador | Teammates with Melton at Staley High School in Missouri, Quador is the third freshman suiting up for the Storm this weekend. He started the season as a 184-pounder but has moved up due to injuries on the team. He posted a 7-14 mark in his first season of collegiate wrestling.
285 - Colby Vlieger | Riding a three-match winning streak entering the weekend, Vlieger looks to continue that momentum in the regional. He went 14-21 during the season and tallied three pins.