INDIANOLA, Iowa – The Simpson wrestling team opened the 2015-16 dual season with a split on Tuesday, falling to Cornell 27-18 before earning an exciting 25-18 win over Graceland in the nightcap.
Competing in the multi-purpose Black Box Theater inside Kent Campus Center for the first time, the Storm (1-1) got some crucial wins down the stretch to beat Graceland.
"Guys stepped up to score us big bonus points instead of coasting," head coach Nate Hansen said. "Those guys stepped up to follow through, and we needed those points to get a team victory."
Bryce Wignall pinned Tyler Howell at 165, Brett Roberts pinned Deric Ginther at 184 and freshman DeVaughn Scott scored a major decision over Ryan Paige at 197, helping Simpson come back from a 12-0 deficit in the dual.
Decisions by Jonathan Melton and Garret Jay brought Simpson within 12-6 before Wignall's pin tied it up. Graceland responded with a pin at 174 but Roberts pinned Ginther to the mat at 4:42 to tie the dual 18-18.
Simpson's wins leader as a 174-pounder a year ago, Roberts already has two pins to his credit this season. He won by fall against Jarod Cadena in the Cornell dual.
"He didn't go out and dominate the match, but he closed it out. That's just as important," Hansen said.
After a loss earlier in the night, Scott responded with the dual on the line. He dominated the match with five takedowns, beating Paige 16-5 to put Simpson up 22-18.
"[DeVaughn] has a ton of potential. We can see it," Hansen said. "We're just going to try to get him on the right track early and maybe speed up his learning curve, because he can be something pretty special."
Colby Vlieger closed the night out with a tight 2-1 decision over Drew Aho in the 285-pound match.
The first dual of the night didn't start out well for the Storm as Cornell opened with four-straight wins to pull away early. Three of the four wins went for bonus points as the Rams (1-0) led 20-0 going into the 157-pound match.
"We were exposed a little bit against them," Hansen said. "They came out ready to go."
TURNING POINT – Simpson trailed 18-12 in the Graceland dual before Roberts pinned Deric Ginther to tie it 18-18. Roberts led just 5-3 when he registered the momentum-swinging pinfall with just 18 seconds left in the second period.
STAT OF THE NIGHT – Of Simpson's nine wins, five were pins or major decisions. Roberts picked up two pins to lead the way.
UP NEXT – Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Luther Open; Sunday, Nov. 15 at the Harold Nichols Open (Ames)