In a small, understated ceremony Wednesday afternoon, four Simley High School student athletes signed letters of intent to attend major universities on athletic scholarships.
Senior wrestlers Jake Short and Nick Wanzek plan to join the University of Minnesota wrestling team for the 2013-14 season. Kyle Gliva committed to wrestle at the North Dakota State University next season.
"To have three Division One athletes on your team is a dream for a coach. It's where you want your program to be," varsity wrestling coach and Simley activities director Will Short told Patch. "Today is really special for me for two reasons: number one, it's my son and, number two, I've worked with Nick and Kyle since they were in kindergarten."
Senior swimmer and six-time All-State selection Alec Kandt also signed a letter of intent to attend Michigan State University next Fall.
Following the ceremony, Short took off his coaching hat to comment on the achievements of all four young men. When asked what it means to Simley High School to have these student athletes walking around the halls, Short waxed philosophical:
"I think it impacts belief; belief that you can do something higher. It helps students believe they can do something really special at Simley High School. If you don't have anyone attaining that highest level, it gets further away from kids. On the other hand, if kids can walk through the hallway and say 'yeah, it can be done right here at Simley High School, then it becomes attainable. ... Not only that, we are very fortunate that these four young men are fantastic student athletes. All of them have very high GPAs—I believe all above 3.0—and they all take honors and AP courses here at Simley."
Patch caught up with all four newly-committed student athletes after the ceremony. Check out their mini-biographies below:
NICK WANZEK, University of Minnesota, wrestling
- Two-time Minnesota Class AA state champion (2011, 2012)
- Currently ranked first in Minnesota (170-pounds)
- Currently ranked fourth in U.S. (170-pounds)
- Runner-up ASICS/Vaughan National Tournament (Fargo, ND)
Nick's advice for young wrestlers: "Stick to it everyday. Make the most of everyday. You can get better everyday. Don't waste any opportunities to get better."
JAKE SHORT, University of Minnesota, wrestling
- Three-time Minnesota Class AA state champion (2010-12)
- Won ASICS/Vaughan National Tournament (cadet)
- Won ASICS USA Folkstyle National Tournament (2010, 2011)
- Currently ranked first in U.S. (145-pounds)
Jake's ambitions for college wrestling: "I would like to be the first three-time NCAA champion. I'd also like to be a four-time All-American. We'll see what happens."
KYLE GLIVA, North Dakota State University, wrestling
- Two-time Minnesota state champion (2011, 2012)
- Runner-up Minnesota state tournament (2010)
- Placed ASICS/Vaughan National Tournament (7th, 9th grade)
Kyle's hopes at NDSU: "I want to be successful on the mat and in the classroom. I also hope to be an All-American."
ALEC KANDT, Michigan State University, swimming
- Six-time Minnesota All-State selection
- Six-time Classic Suburban Conference All-Conference selection
- Five-time Minnesota state tournament qualifier
- Two-time runner up Minnesota state tournament
- Three-time third place winner Minnesota state tournament
- State champion and All-American selection, relay (2009)
- All-American consideration, individual (2011)
Alec's advice to young swimmers: "Never give up. Swimming is a hard sport and it takes a lot to get to the top. The more you put in at the beginning, the better results you get at the end. The more work you do, the better you can get. Don't give up."