Senior Spotlight: Simaz Heads to the Hawkeye State

MISportsNow is putting the spotlight on northern Michigan high school senior student-athletes who had their seasons cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

With more than 1,200 wins and 12 individual state championships to their credit, the Simaz family could be considered the state’s First Family of Wrestling.

Traverse City St. Francis senior Andy Simaz, along with his father and coach, Mike, a champion at St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic, and cousins Kyle, Cameron and Eric, who wrestled at Allegan, have their names etched throughout the state’s record books.

The younger Simaz won the MHSAA Division 4 152-pound state championship as a junior in 2019 and was eyeing another title as a senior before being sidelined in mid-December with a torn ACL.

Andy, who has more than 120 prep wins to his name, set forth the goal of wrestling for an NCAA Division I institution, and is set to do that and better this fall as he travels west to the University of Iowa and joins one of the most successful programs in all of collegiate athletics.

Iowa’s program, made famous under the tutelage of 1972 Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable, has won 23 NCAA team national championships, 54 individual national championships and produced more than a dozen Olympians.

“It’s so, so great, and especially being out of the blue, you know, it was never on my radar,” Simaz said. “I never thought that I would ever be wrestling for a school like Iowa, so just to have the chance to go out there and prove myself as an individual and glorify the gifts that I’ve been given in my life. I think that’s a huge opportunity and it’s something that I just really want to do.”

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Categories: Wrestling