BY JEFF CHANEY
Cam Simaz’s decision was made when he stepped on the mat on January 8.
The Cornell University senior 197-pounder suffered a severe left hamstring pull during the Body Bar Invitational in November, and spent the next month rehabbing the injury.
Simaz could have shut down his season, (medical) redshirted, and come back next year healthy to try and win an elusive national championship, both for himself and his team.
That decision needed to be made before Cornell and Lehigh wrestled January 8 at Newman Arena.
“I talked to the coaches, my family and our trainer, and he (Cornell trainer Chris Scarlata) was straightforward with me,” said Simaz, a three-time state champion for Allegan High School in Michigan. “He said how I recover will tell us a lot. If I get back and feel great then I would be good to go. I trained as hard as I could with Chris, he told me to go as hard as I could, and if I tweaked it we would call it a year. I made it through without tweaking it too bad.”
So Simaz stepped on the mat against Lehigh’s Kadeem Samuels, and he beat him 10-2 to improve his record to 13-1 this year.
Simaz, a three-time All American for the Big Red, including a pair of third-place finishes the past two seasons, is still the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class, even with the injury.
“Honestly, the hamstring felt fine [against Lehigh],” Simaz said. “He wrestled me well, but I wasn’t satisfied with the way I wrestled, 10 points wasn’t enough. But the hamstring was fine.”
Now Simaz, who does not have the opportunity for another year, looks forward to winning that national championship in March in St. Louis.
“I’m going for it now,” Simaz said. “My opportunity is now gone to redshirt, so we’re going to go for it and hope to win a national title.”
And if the hamstring acts up and prevents that?
“In this sport you don’t have a lot room to worry about that,” Simaz said. “If you do that, you are not doing what you should, going hard. I don’t want to worry about this being my last year and getting hurt because there is life after wrestling.”
“At this point, more than anything in the world I want to win that title,” he added. “But I need to keep that in perspective.”