Dinner with champions? At Morningside College, that meant beef filets with red wine sous vide and Santa Fe fried potatoes and broccoli. Sodexo Executive Chef Nick Gunn prepped a special meal for the reunion. Both Connor Niles and Trent Solsma complimented the chef and agreed to share a bit more insight into their friendship.
HOW COMPETITIVE ARE THEY?
NILES: “We’re happy when any of us does anything. If I score a touchdown or my teammate scores a touchdown, it’s the same reciprocating excitement and happiness.”
SOLSMA: “That’s what makes football the best game in the world. It’s 11 guys going at one time. It’s all coming together as one. You build up trust.”
WHEN SOLSMA WAS NAMED NAIA PLAYER OF THE YEAR, HOW DID NILES REACT?
NILES: “I didn’t really care. He’s my best friend and he’s got to do more than I do. I just have to run and catch it. He has to throw it.”
SOLSMA: “That’s his vantage point. But I knew all that Connor did for me. He caught half my footballs, half my yards, half my touchdowns. I know what he did and how great he is.”
WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS TO LONG HAIR?
NILES: “Mine got pulled a few times, which I wasn’t happy about.”
SOLSMA: “It’s annoying. If I was going to work out, I had to think, ‘What am I going to do with my hair?’ Now, I don’t have that.”
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING ABOUT THE OTHER?
NILES: “One of the top five most entertaining things is watching him watch Iowa. I like watching sports, but I never scream at the TV like he does.” (In defense: “I used to get really fired up if Iowa didn’t play well. Now, I’m just kind of past it,” Solsma says).
SOLSMA: “He’s the most entertaining dude to watch. He’s always hooting and hollering about anything and everything. He always wears these stupid shorts he worked in that got cut up by a wood chipper (‘a concrete mixer,’ Niles corrects) and he still wears them, even though one leg is normal and the other is chopped off halfway.” Niles also likes going without a shirt before a game, even on days when it’s snowing. (“I’m pretty warm-blooded,” Niles says. “I hate wearing long sleeves during games.”)