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Jeff Kolpack, Published May 02 2012

National champion signs with Bison wrestling

FARGO – The recruiting push for Josh Rodriquez of Santa Maria, Calif., took a few more steps forward when he won his weight class at the National High School Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Va., last month. North Dakota State, however, held its ground.

The Bison signed the senior from Righetti High School this week to a letter of intent. Helping NDSU’s cause was the fact his high school coach, Andrew Domingues, was a former teammate at the University of Minnesota of NDSU head coach Roger Kish and assistant Manny Rivera.

“They let us know to keep an eye on Josh,” Kish said. “He just kept getting better and better and we got to know Josh over the course of his senior year.”

Rodriguez told the Santa Maria Times newspaper that NDSU actively following his prep career made an impression on him.

“We built a good relationship with him, his family and his coaching staff,” Kish said.

Rodriguez won the senior 120-pound title at senior nationals, a feat that caught the attention of a lot of Division I schools. It was competition that NDSU had to fight off.

“After he won senior nationals, he had dozens of phone calls,” Kish said. “But at that point, I think he was committed to us and the program and I think it became an easier decision after that.”

Rodriguez wasn’t the only Bison recruit to make a splash at senior nationals. Hunter Weber from Marshall, Wis., who signed last fall, was a runner-up at 126 pounds.

“Getting the kids is half the battle,” Kish said. “It helps from a recruiting standpoint because guys want to see other good guys to train with.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia