Andy Simmons isn’t one to look back on the past.
But there are times when the Williamston native is reminded by others of the impact he and older brother Nick made with their wrestling skills.
Simmons emerged out of a wrestling family as one of the most accomplished in the sport at the high school level in state history. He followed that with a strong career on the mat at Michigan State University. And Simmons will join his brother and seven other individuals and three teams as part of the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame’s latest class of inductees on July 30.
The 31-year old Simmons is one of the youngest people to be inducted into the hall of fame.
“I was actually surprised,” Simmons said. “I wasn’t expecting to get in since I just turned the age that could qualify you to get in.”
But Simmons’ accomplishments on the mat were significant and made him worthy of early admission by the selection committee. He is one of 21 wrestlers in state history to win four individual state championships and owns the fifth longest win streak (219) in Michigan High School Athletic Association history.
The 2002 Williamston graduate concluded his prep career 219-0 and had the most wins of any mid-Michigan wrestler when he graduated. He currently ranks third in career wins among area wrestlers after being passed by St. Johns’ Taylor Massa and Leslie’s Zehlin Storr in recent years.
Simmons followed his decorated career at Williamston by being a two-time All-American at MSU. He was the 2006 Big Ten champion at 141 pounds and has the eighth-most wins (115) in program history.
Simmons points to the support system he had for aiding his success on the mat.
“It was just surrounding yourself with the right people and always trying to make adjustments to get better at what you do and trying to master your craft,” Simmons said. “The time and energy that is spent, I don’t think a lot people can appreciate what goes along with not just wrestling, but non-revenue sports in general.
“The time that is invested — for not just me and (Nick) — but some of these young men who are doing it now is a compliment to those guys and their character.”
It also helped Simmons being pushed by a sibling during his time growing up in Williamston and his college days at MSU.
“It’s always good to have someone that has the same goals and aspirations as you do,” Simmons said. “Even though it’s an individual sport, it helps if you’re on a team with another guy that wants to do the same thing. It’s energy you can feed off of, especially if it’s somebody in your direct family.”
Older brother Nick agreed.
“It’s a family sport,” he said. “My dad was a two-time state champion, our little brother won a state title in wrestling as well, and there is what Andy and I did. It was just all fun. We’re a wrestling family.”
GREATER LANSING SPORTS HALL OF FAME
•When: 5 p.m., July 30.
•Where: Lansing Center
•Tickets: $35 per individual, $280 for table of eight and can be purchased at lansingsportshalloffame.org
•Hall of Fame class: Chuck Block (Lansing Community College track/cross country), Jesse Gallegos (boxing), Fritz Kellerman (Sexton/University of Michigan wrestling), Scott Kemp (Grand Ledge/Eastern Michigan baseball), Andy Simmons (Williamston/MSU wrestling), Nick Simmons (Williamston/MSU wrestling), Stephanie Smiley (Holt/Eastern Michigan basketball), Kim Spalsbury (DeWitt/Fowler/Grand Ledge cross country/track), Jamie Wesley (Morrice/MSU basketball), 1960 Haslett football team, 1977 DeWitt softball team, 1979 Lansing Eastern boys golf team.
•Richard Letts Community Service Awards: Larry Cockroft, Judge George Economy
•Hall of Fame sponsors: Magic Johnson Enterprise, Dean Transportation, Auto Owners Insurance, Applegate Home Comfort, Dan Henry Distributing