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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 14 2011

Tag team: Balancing raising a child with Bison wrestling responsibilities makes for busy, rewarding lives for NDSU sophomore and his wife

There are two teams that have Trent Sprenkle’s attention every day. The first requires him to be at about 125 pounds on competition day.

That’s his life with the North Dakota State wrestling team, where the sophomore is 23-6 overall and 6-1 in duals. After redshirting last year, he’s responded by being ranked in the top 20 in the country at his weight class.

He gets another national test tonight when the Bison host Northern Iowa in a Western Wrestling League dual at the Bison Sports Arena. At 6-1, including a win over then ninth-ranked Central Michigan, the Bison have continued their maturation in Division I wrestling.

And speaking of maturity, it doesn’t get much better than Sprenkle, a 23-year-old chemistry major who has more responsibilities than just his weight.

He and his wife, Danielle, have an 11-month-old daughter, Paige – his second team. This week provided a typical parental challenge when Paige developed a fever and was up at all hours.

“My wife is really good at keeping me on track,” Trent said. “She is so awesome. She gets up every night with the baby and she works really hard so I can do well in school.”

No complaints, Danielle said, saying life at 95 University Village is “wonderful.”

The daily schedule is a balancing act in time management. Trent is at the Bison Sports Arena by 6:15 most mornings for the first of two-a-day workouts. Then it’s off to classes, and any free time between them is spent studying.

The afternoon practice begins at 4 p.m. in the wrestling room at the BSA.

“There’s a lot going on, but Trent does really well with balancing everything,” Danielle said. “It’s been amazing. We really love our life here.”

Trent is not one to get hot-headed over anything, either. “He’s always in a good mood,” Danielle said.

He went on a two-year mission trip before enrolling at NDSU. He went 10-17 as a Bison freshman, and last year’s dual team hiatus was primarily because Danielle was pregnant. But it was also a chance for him to gain weight.

The Bison coaches were hoping Sprenkle would be the regular 133-pounder and Justin Solberg would be at 125. Turns out they had to switch spots. Sprenkle was put on a campus meal plan and the object was to chow down.

“That didn’t work out real well,” Sprenkle said. “I ate a lot of meals, but I just didn’t gain enough weight.”

Normally, most lightweights worry incessantly about losing weight. Sprenkle is the exception.

“After all those meals, he got up to 127,” said NDSU head coach Bucky Maughan. “But I think the year off helped improved his technique and his intensity. He’s a tough kid.”

Said Sprenkle: “I think more than anything it’s confidence. I’m finally starting to beat some ranked kids and that’s helped. Plus, I’m finally catching on to the more aggressive style that we have here.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. 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