Clark, Vlieger lead Storm wrestlers at NCAA Regional

Clark, Vlieger lead Storm wrestlers at NCAA Regional

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Jason Clark and Colby Vlieger led the Simpson wrestling team at the NCAA Central Regional on Sunday. Clark placed fifth in the 157-pound bracket, the team's top finish, while Vlieger came in sixth in the 285-pound bracket.

The 2015-16 season comes to a close for the Storm, who failed to send a wrestler to the national tournament from arguably the toughest regional in all of Division III.

Following a first-round loss, Clark had to work has way back into contention in the consolation bracket. He pinned Central's Mike O'Connor then earned a 12-10 win in sudden victory over Dubuque's Kody Krenz to advance to the consolation semifinals. There, he suffered a 5-1 setback to Tristan Zurflu of Luther before winning by injury default to take fifth place.

Like Clark, Vlieger had to go the long way to give himself a shot at qualifying for nationals with a top-three finish. After losing to Luther's Conner Herman following a first-round bye, Vlieger earned a pair of narrow wins. He beat Dubuque's Nolan Smith 3-1 in sudden victory then edged Cornell's Erick Tucker 3-2. he lost to Augustana's Jack Seaman in the consolation semifinals before getting pinned by Loras' Quin Gilliam in the fifth-place match.

Jacob Mize finished the day 2-2 at 165 pounds while Zach Johnston (133) and Spencer Ward (174) each earned a win. Mize won his first-round match before losing to eventual champion Farai Sewera of Coe in the quarterfinal. He edged Loras' Samuel Schuler 14-11 on the backside of the bracket before bowing out with a loss to Cornell's Michael Maksimovic.

Team Notes
•  Seniors Sam Reichenbacker, Ward, Brett Roberts and Bryce Wignall saw their careers come to a close. 

•  Roberts closed his career with 74 wins, going 74-52 during his career. He went 20-9 in 2015-16, his third-straight 20-win season. 

•  Vlieger had a career-best 20 wins in 2015-16, tying Roberts for the team lead.

Storm Report
125 - Chase Erickson, 0-2
133 - Zach Johnston, 1-2
141 - Jason Kiehne, 0-2
149 - Sam Reichenbacker, 0-2
157 - Jason Clark, 3-2 (5th place)
165 - Jacob Mize, 2-2
174 - Spencer Ward, 1-2
184 - Brett Roberts, 0-2
197 - RJ Brown, 0-2
285 - Colby Vlieger, 2-3 (6th place) 

Team Scores
1. Wartburg, 160; 2. Luther, 130; 3. Cornell, 97; 4. Coe, 86; 5. Millikin, 84; 6. Central, 70; 7. Loras, 66.5; 8. Augustana (IL), 60.5; 9. Dubuque, 34; 10. Buena Vista, 26.5; 11. Simpson, 20; 12. Huntingdon, 8; 13. Ozarks, 0