Feb. 28, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - For the fifth time in his illustrious career, senior Nick Simmons (Williamston) has been named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week, the conference office announced on Wednesday. Last Friday against Oklahoma in his final home dual, Simmons set MSU's all-time falls record by pinning Henry Roman in just 58 seconds. It gave Simmons 46 falls for his career, passing Jim Mason, who collected 45 from 1980-84. The win also vaulted Simmons into second place in the MSU record books with 130 career victories.
"I just wanted to go out there and get it done with, get it out of the way so I wouldn't have to worry about it at Big Tens or nationals," Simmons said after his record-setting pin. "It felt good though, to go out there and get that pin. It was good to get it on the last home dual match. Really, it's good to just get it over with before it gets real hectic. Now I can focus on the task at hand, and like I've said, this record is only second tier for me right now."
Simmons hopped on the wrestling platform at Jenison for the final time in his career to a standing ovation. The patient crowd had waited all evening for Simmons to break the record - and the Williamston native did not disappoint. He recorded a takedown less than 10 seconds into the match, and from there, it was only a matter of time. Simmons recorded near-fall points to go up 5-0 at the 2:19 mark, and with Roman on his back, Simmons positioned himself for the record-setting pin. It came just seconds later, at the 2:02 mark. Simmons then waved to the crowd on his way over to shake hands with Oklahoma Coach Jack Spates.
"With Nick and Andy, I've said this over and over, there's symmetry to their careers," said MSU head coach Tom Minkel after the dual. "And that was the case here, as Nick breaks the all-time pin record in his last dual. We just drew the matches randomly at the beginning, and it worked out that he's the last bout of the night. It's like it was meant to be. At that point, you just knew.
"I'm really, really happy for him. He exemplifies what aggressive wrestling is all about. He's always trying to pin you, no matter what, so he certainly deserves that record."
Simmons has previously earned Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors on Nov. 11, 2004, Nov. 9, 2005, March 3, 2006 and Nov. 15, 2006.
The 22nd-ranked Michigan State Spartans host the Big Ten Wrestling Championships this weekend (Saturday-Sunday, March 3-4) at the Breslin Center. All session tickets for the event are $30 for adults and $15 for youth. For tickets, call the MSU Ticket Office at 355-1610 or log onto www.msuspartans.com.