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All big business at Hill-Murray and beyond

By AARON PAITICH, Special to the Star Tribune, 03/02/12, 6:41PM CST


Hill-Murray's Dave Simmet lost 45 pounds to improve his lifestyle after sports, but he still plans to play two sports in college.

Hill-Murray senior center David Simmet, who also plays football, has benefitted from losing 45 pounds.

Dave Simmet wasn't the healthiest kid. One look at the scale during his sophomore year at Hill-Murray clarified that.

The 6-foot-8 football and basketball player weighed in at 340 pounds. It began to worry him, and not for athletic purposes.

"More just for life, in general. I just needed to be healthier," said Simmet, now 6-9 and 295 pounds. "That was the biggest thing, because eventually sports are going to end. It's more of the lifestyle I want to live after that."

His lifestyle after athletics might include a future in business. In the fall, Simmet committed to play both football and basketball for the University of St. Thomas, where he hopes to dabble in the business program academically. An A-student with National Honor Society credentials, Simmet has excelled in the classroom.

Balancing schoolwork, athletics and other extracurricular activities can be a hefty load, but it was his busy schedule that eventually brought him to a healthier size. Along with his mom's healthier foods, he couldn't help but lose weight.

"It wasn't something I consciously tried to do. It's just that I was so active, that it happened," Simmet said.

He's consistently led the Pioneers in both scoring and rebounding. After garnering all-conference honors last season, he will be up for accolades once again in the Classic Suburban, where he's helped Hill-Murray to a 10-6 record.

Losing that weight also helped the senior post player quicken his feet. He was much easier to stop as a sophomore. Now, with an improved ability to change direction, use both hands and reverse pivot, the conference's biggest post player poses a challenge for opposing teams.

Football and basketball have helped improve his quickness, but not his hands.

"He's always had good hands," Ghizoni added. "If he gets the ball in the area where he has to catch it, he usually catches it. And that's huge for a big kid, because he's getting passes in different directions and different lengths away from his body."

Constantly drawing double- and even triple- teams in the post, Simmet opens up options.

"So much attention is being directed toward him and stopping him, because he is a big force inside, no question about it," Ghizoni said.

A force on the football field, basketball court and classroom, indeed. Simmet will continue his demanding lifestyle at a rival school, considering much of his family pedigree.

"I grew up and my dad was a Johnnie, my mom was a Bennie and my sister's a Bennie. I never even contemplated going to St. Thomas. Now it seems like the best place for me," Simmet said.

In what has become a rarity in college athletics, St. Thomas gave Simmet the option to play both sports. For someone who's been playing both sports for as long as he can remember, he couldn't have been more thrilled. There never has been a moment in his life where he felt the need to choose between his favorite activities.

"It was always stick with both of them. They're letting me make the decision to play both. If it becomes too much, I can always choose, but right now they're saying I can do that," Simmet said. "That's my goal and I hope I can do it."

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