Simpson Athletics, Gone for Now, Not Forever
By: Ariana West
Photo Credit: Simpson Red Hawks Twitter
Many of our athletic teams on campus were not able to finish out their seasons due to the current pandemic, COVID-19.
While this has been devastating for many, it’s especially disappointing for senior athletes who could not finish out their last seasons.
Dan Tating, the head baseball coach, stated in an article for the Red Hawks website, "I really feel for our 12 seniors. They've been working for the last couple years to show that we could build a winning program here at Simpson, and it's devastating to not be able to showcase their hard work. We've been playing the best baseball I've seen here."
Since the season was cut short, one question athletes have is if they are going to get their year of eligibility back.
According to Athletic Director, Tom Galbraith, “We are working with the NAIA to come up with a final plan for eligibility and how that will play out in future seasons.”
Many of our teams were well on their way to great success. This included baseball ending with a 6-2 record in conference play, and achieved a school record of an eight-game win streak. Men’s and women’s wrestling had individual champions in regional tournaments, including a Cascade Conference Champion for the first time in Simpson History.
Men’s basketball qualified for the conference tournament for the third straight season. Track and field posted an individual title in their only track meet of the shortened season. Men’s volleyball earned a first-team all Cal Pac selection despite being in an extremely tough conference. Women’s golf had back-to-back second-place finishes before their spring season was cut short.
Women’s softball was well on its way to establishing itself as an NAIA power of the West Coast before their season ended abruptly, which included a win against the No.1 team in the country and defending national champions, Southern Oregon University.
Men’s and Women’s swimming had an impressive inaugural season with seven national qualifiers in just 19 events, plus a two-time All-American, Galbraith said.
Junior swimmer Tom Higdon also explained that the swim team had multiple individual victories over NCAA DII and DIII swimmers. Higdon said, “We were able to place top 16th in the nation for all our relays and I was able to place second and fifth in the nation for the 100 and 200 breast.”
Higdon had been training for the 2020 Olympics, and while he has still been training and doing everything he can to stay in shape while out of the pool, he stated that the Olympic trials and the Games themselves have been pushed back a year. His focus right now is leading his team to their second winning season and making sure they are as fast as they can be for their next national meet.