April 22, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa. - Former Michigan State wrestler and four-time collegiate All-American Nick Simmons finished second at the Olympic Trials in the 55 kg/121 pounds freestyle division on Sunday. Simmons defeated 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo in the semi-finals before losing to Sam Hazewinkel in the championship match.
Simmons competed for the Spartans from 2002-06 and is one of Michigan State's most successful wrestlers in program history. Along with earning All-America honors four times, he placed a career-high third at the 2007 NCAA Championships and won three Big Ten titles (two at 125 pounds, one at 133 pounds).
In his first match in the challenge bracket on Sunday afternoon, Simmons faced the 2012 NCAA Champion, Matt McDonough of Iowa. Simmons won by decision over McDonough in front of a record crowd of 13,784 people at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 1-0 in the first period and 5-0 in the second.
Simmons then faced 2008 Olympian, Henry Cejudo in an epic semifinals match. The former Spartan took the first period 3-0 but dropped the second to Cejudo, 9-5.
Simmons won 5-2 in the third and deciding period and took the decision, two periods to one, setting up a finals match-up with Sunkist Kids teammate, Sam Hazewinkel.
With an Olympic spot on the line, Simmons faced off against Hazewinkel in a best-of-three series in the finals.
In the first round, Simmons notched a decision over Hazewinkel with scores of 3-0, 0-5, and 5-4.
Hazewinkel, a former Oklahoma Sooner, evened up the match with a second round decision over Simmons. Hazewinkel lost the first period, 1-0, but managed wins in both the second period, 1-0, and the third period, 2-0, to seal the decision and set up a third round match.
In the deciding match, Hazewinkel won by decision over Simmons by a score of 0-1, 4-0, and 3-0. Simmons finished second at the Olympic Trials, one day after current MSU wrestler Steve Andrus placed second in the 120 kg/ 264.5 pounds Greco-Roman division at the Trials.