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Jeff Kolpack, Published July 18 2009

California comfort: Golden staters make themselves at home at NDSU

The USA Wrestling Junior and Cadet national tournaments begin today at the Fargodome. If anybody needs directions, ask somebody from California.

The state team has been here for a week by virtue of holding its team training camp at the Bison Sports Arena. It’s gone so well that state leaders are hoping the concept doesn’t catch on to other states.

They’ve enjoyed having the Bison Sports Arena practice facility to themselves.

“Then we’d have to fight for mat time,” said Greg Chappel, director of national teams for California.

The idea of holding its state training camp in Fargo instead of California was the result of coaches sitting around and talking about it. They were looking for ways to sooth the hectic schedule.

Last year, California had its training camp at San Jose State from Sunday until Wednesday. They flew to Fargo on Thursday, a day that included the tournament registration process in Fargo.

The team practiced Friday in Fargo, albeit with thousands of other wrestlers in town, and the Cadet first round started Saturday.

“It was a lot of extra work,” Chappel said. “Here, we just set up one time.”

The state association cites two factors for the camp-in-Fargo concept: it costs about $55 a day per wrestler to have a camp in California versus $35 a day in Fargo.

If you’re going to be away from home, you might as well do it as economically as possible.

“And, we just got to thinking, maybe it would be better for the kids just to get out of here,” Chappel said.

At NDSU, they’ve been given access to almost the entire BSA, including the Bison practice room.

NDSU’s thinking is simple: why not give potential recruits exposure to its facilities? Whether that translates to a potential wrestler is debatable, but Division I is Division I.

NDSU did not charge for use of the facility, said head coach Bucky Maughan.

“The only thing recruiting-wise is if they’re a good kid and they’ve been to Fargo,” Maughan said.

By summer’s end, several California wrestlers will have a summer to talk about. Several are in the midst of a road trip that would make Major League Baseball jealous.

“It was pretty cool not being home,” said Josh Rodriquez, a 14-year-old from Guadalupe, Calif. “But now I miss home.”

By the end of next week, Fargo could be a home away from home. The team traveled in waves, flying in groups of 30, 70 and 55 for the boys tournament and 23 for the girls tourney.

It’s possible they’ll do it again next year. Fargo is in the first year of a three-year renewed contract to host the tournament.

“The California boys come here and say, ‘You know, this isn’t so bad,’ ” said Duane Morgan, the California state chairman. “Right now, I would say we’ll do it again.”

Returning champions

The USA Wrestling Junior and Cadet national tournaments begin today. Here are the eligible returning champions:

Boys

Junior (ages 17-18)

Greco-Roman

Jake Bellis, Illinois, (98 pounds);Ryan Mango, Missouri (112); Logan Stieber, Ohio (119); Luke Goettl, Arizona (125); Eric Grajales, Florida (130); Dylan Alton,

Pennsylvania (135); Kendrick Sanders, Florida (145); Kalvin York, Wisconsin (152); Ethen Lofthouse, Utah (171).

Freestyle

Tyler Fraley, New Jersey (98); Mango (112); Stieber (119); Dylan Alton (135); Andrew Alton, Pennsylvania (140); Matt Lester, Missouri (145); Chris Perry,

Oklahoma (189).

Cadet (ages 15-16)

Greco-Roman

Nick Roberts, Pennsylvania (84); Mary Grey,

New Jersey (140)

Freestyle

Roberts (84); Zachary Horan, Pennsylvania (112);

Grey (140)

Girls

Junior

Carlene Sluberski, New York (95); Victoria Anthony,

California (102); C.C. Weber, Michigan (109); Helen Maroulis, Maryland (116); Adeline Gray, Colorado (153); Marina Lambert, Virginia (165); Alisha Beach,

Washington (190); Yadinma Nwaiwu, Texas (220).


Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the WDAY Golf Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia