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Five Simley Athletes to Watch This Fall

Keep a close eye on these football, volleyball, cross country and soccer players this fall, as they take up leadership roles on their respective teams.

As the fall high school sports season gets underway, these five athletes are primed to lead their teams to wins and glory.

Darion Fletcher

Fletcher is a 5' 9", 165-pound senior cornerback/wide receiver/wingback on the Spartans football team. In his third year starting for the Spartans, Fletcher has seen his skill level and confidence soar with standout performances at summer football camps. Fletcher was named the defensive backs MVP in a national underclassmen combine in Burnsville and followed that up with top performances in additional combines in Indianapolis and Oklahoma.

“He’s a great teammate and a great player,” said Simley head football coach Rex King. “He’s a good student, carries himself well in public and works unbelievably hard all the time.”

Fletcher is fast and strong, and has quick feet, good hip movement and an explosive change of direction—all essential skills for playing cornerback. He’s getting interest from colleges such as the University of Northern Iowa, South Dakota State University and North Dakota State University.

A captain for the Spartans, Fletcher’s offensive talents should be well employed as a wingback in the new Simley High option offense.

Margie Freed

Just a 13-year-old eighth grader this season, Margie Freed is expected to lead the Simley High School girls cross country team.

Freed's talent for cross country runs in the family—her mother was also a runner. She has been running since the sixth grader and put in roughly 20 to 25 miles each day during the summer to prepare for the season.

“She’s somebody who simply enjoys running,” said Spartans cross country coach Tim Kersey. “Right now we’re not so concerned how she places in meets. Enjoying it (running) is the most important thing for her well being.”

Freed was an honorable mention all-conference selection last fall. She’s gearing up for the fall season by training with the Simley boys.

Max Wellens

The future is now for 17-year-old senior Max Wellens, whose goal this season is to qualify for the state cross country meet.

Wellens has been running for Simley since the seventh grade. Last season he finished in the top five in almost every race, until a disappointing 14th place finish in the section meet, in which the top 10 move on to state. So he’s got a clear goal in mind for his final season.

“This year I’m really holding nothing back,” he said.

“He’s made steady improvement,” said cross country coach Tim Kersey. “He’s always been passionate about cross country.”

Wellens finished third in the Classic Suburban Conference cross country meet last fall. He has speed to go with his endurance, with a best time of 4:32 in the mile.

Wellens is following in the footsteps of his older brother Andy, a 2007 Simley graduate who was a two-time state cross country meet qualifier.

Emma Russ

One of two bookend 5' 8" outside hitters for the Simley High School volleyball team—along with teammate Roda Mena—senior captain Emma Russ is set to lead the Spartans to an improved season this fall.

“She’s a great athlete,” said head volleyball coach Mark Kaschke.

In addition to being an outside hitter and digger, Russ is one of the team’s primary serve receivers.

This season is the third year Russ has started on the varsity. She also earned an all-conference honorable mention as a junior.

Russ believes the Spartans will be improved over last year. “We have a lot of young talent,” she said.

“My goal for this year is to have my head in the game at all times,” she said.

Russ showed her speed and jumping ability by finishing second in the Class AA 300-meter hurdles at state last season in a time of 44.77.

Joe Trenzeluk

A senior captain for the Simley High School boys soccer team, Joe Trenzeluk was an all-conference selection in 2010.

“He’s a good leader and very athletic,” said boys soccer coach Noel Quinn. “We rely on Joe being as good as any player on any other team.”

This is Trenzeluk’s second season on the Simley varsity team, where he helps lead the Spartans’ defense.

“I think he’s got a good chance to be all state,” said Quinn. “Certainly he’ll be all conference.”

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