Simley's first match pitted them against a strong team from Buffalo. Simley would only win two of the first four matches. Wade Short and Bob Smith got the Spartans on the board with lopsided victories. Tom Calvin squeaked out a 2-0 win, and the Spartans were on their way to seven more wins with Will Short beating a former Simley wrestler in Jason Hanson. Dan Harrison followed with a Technical Fall. Kevin Ahern scored a pin, and the route was on. Brady Harrison kept Buffalo searching after a tough 7-4 victory. The undefeated Chris Short pounded his opponent with a Technical Fall in 1:22, and Joe Schmidt finished off Buffalo with a 13-6 win. The final score of the dual meet was 43-11.
The victory over Buffalo presented the Spartans with a familiar foe. Waiting in the Semi-finals was Apple Valley. Earlier in the year the Spartans had split with the Eagles. The pressure of meeting the Eagles was mounting. Simley's goal was to try to win a key match or two in the lower weights in the hope of keeping the score close. The Spartans wouldn't have to wait long. Simley's 98-pound wrestler and son of Head Coach Jim Short pulled of a huge upset. Wade Short put Apple Valley's Brian Kemp on his back and wouldn't let him up. Earlier in the season Kemp pinned Short at an Owatonna Tournament. The fall presented Simley with an early 6-0 lead.
Apple Valley was reeling after the upset victory and managed close victories at 105 pounds, 112 pounds, 119 pounds, and 126 pounds. The four consecutive victories gave the Eagles the 13-6 lead, but it wasn't going to be enough. Simley's Will Short scored a big win over Tom Haze and gave the momentum back to the Spartans. Derek Jones off a huge upset of three-time State Champion Matt Demaray of Apple Valley dominated Rob Ingels and gave Simley the lead. Demaray beat Dan Harrison 3-0, but Kevin Ahern came right back for the Spartans with a solid win over Bobby Green by the score of 9-1. The dual meet score was close at 20-16. Time was running out for Valley. Jason Skapyak handled Simley's Brady Harrison giving the Eagles their last lead of the night (22-20). Chris Short put the Spartans up for good with a Technical Fall. With a 26-22 lead it was up to Joe Schmidt to put the Spartans into the finals. Joe never left the outcome in doubt with an 11-3 win. Simley had earned a tough victory and a place in the finals.
The Championship matched put Simley in a difficult position. Their opponent, Grand Rapids, was a bit of an unknown. Simley was expecting St. Francis to come out of that region. The early weights had the same goal as the previous dual meet. Keep it close so the bigger wrestlers could put it away. Unfortunately Simley would lose five of the first six weight classes, the last coming with Joe Seeger upsetting Will Short in a very exciting match.
The losses put Head Coach Jim Short in a difficult spot. He looked down his bench and decided to bring in Eric Lacher and move up his wrestlers up one weight class. Lacher hadn't wrestled in the tournament and was losing 5-0 to Chad Holm after the second period. Another loss here would put Simley in deep trouble. The team score was 15-3 and losing this match would have Jim Short scrambling for the victory. Lacher wasn't going to let that happen. The senior went on the offensive and managed to cradle Holm. With 20 seconds left Lacher scored the pin, and Simley had new life.
It was now Simley's turn for a string of victories. Derek Jones scored a Technical Fall bringing the team score to 15-15. The Jones win was followed by Dan Harrison's major victory providing Simley with their first lead. Kevin Ahern widened the gap by beating Bob Brink 7-2. Chris Short put the match away with another Technical Fall, and Simley had the school's first ever State Championship. Joe Schimdt tied Carey Tribbett, and the final score was 30-17.
The Minnesota Wrestling Championships celebrated its fiftieth year in 1987. Simley was very proud to be celebrating their first championship. The Spartans had only three seniors (Eric Lacher, Chris Short, and Joe Schmidt) on the squad. The Spartans were still a young team with seven returning state qualifiers. The pressure of winning a State Championship would be back in 1988.
Simley Spartan 1987 State Championship Team:
98 - Wade Short
98 - Andy Kirchner (State Qualifier)
105 - Cory Nelson
112 - Bob Smith
119 - Rick Spychalla (State Qualifier)
126 - Tom Calvin
132 - Will Short (State Qualifier)
132 - Scott Stowell
138 - Derek Jones (State Champion)
138 - Eric Lacher
145 - Dan Harrison (3rd Place)
155 - Kevin Ahern (4th Place)
167 - Brady Harrison (State Qualifier)
185 - Chris Short (State Champion)
HWT - Joe Schmidt (State Qualifier)