Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Daniel Sullivan waited four years to serve as a leader on the Regina defense.
Sullivan wasn’t about to endure a similar wait to fulfill his passion of serving his country. So the summer before his senior year Sullivan joined the Navy.
As top-ranked Regina (10-1) prepares to face No. 3 Denver (11-0) in the Class 1A semifinals on Saturday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Sullivan splits time between prepping to make plays as a linebacker and his training to serve in the military.
“As basic as it is I just want to serve my country,” Sullivan explained. “It’s a lot to juggle but I just have to stay focused on the right path to success.”
Sullivan knew he was headed for a career in the military. Rather than waiting until after graduation Sullivan got a jump start by joining last June.
By signing up early Sullivan is able to get a head start on training as well as learning general orders before heading to Boot Camp after graduation.
“The school is good enough to let me go out and train with them some during the week,” Sullivan explained. “I’ve never been the kind of guy to sit around.”
His Navy training responsibilities have made for a hectic schedule for Sullivan this fall.
Regina senior Daniel Sullivan
A starting linebacker for the Regals, Sullivan juggles school work, morning lifting sessions with the football team, Navy training during the days and practice in the afternoon.
Regina coach Marv Cook has tried to lighten the load for Sullivan at practice on days he trains with the Navy but hasn’t had much luck keeping Sullivan off the practice field.
“There are days when he calls me and he says he has training today and when he tells me what he is doing, which are these intense training sessions, and I’ll say let’s just walk through practice and the next thing you know he shows up and is practicing,” Cook explained. “It’s an amazing deal because it’s intense training that they are putting him through and then he comes and works out with his team as well.”
“It’s a tribute to him and his dedication. I’m just obviously extremely proud of him as a young man and very thankful for his commitment to our country.”
His demanding schedule hasn’t stopped Sullivan from become a key contributor on a Regina defense thank ranks among the best in Class 1A.
In his first season as a starter the 5-foot-10, 205-pound Sullivan ranks fifth on the team with 31 tackles from his linebacker spot.
“It’s finally my turn to do my part for my team,” Sullivan said. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
After playing primarily on special teams for the first several years on varsity Sullivan has become a key contributor on both sides of the ball as a senior.
In addition to his work on defense Simpson has rushed for 130 yards and four touchdowns and filled a key role as a lead blocker on offense.
“He was a special teams guy and did everything we asked of him and as times we’ve used him at running back and he does a really well there,” Cook said. He does a great job with pass protection and does a great job running the ball when we ask him to do it. He’s a great team player.”
Like the rest of the Regina seniors Sullivan is attempting to end his prep career with four state titles.
Regina is seeking its seventh straight title and is 50-3 over the past four seasons.
“It’s incredible,” Sullivan said. “It’s an incredible experience that I am going to have the rest of my life to cherish and the values that the coaches have taught me I am going to carry that on to my military career for sure.”