Elliott column: Tech wrestler signs with NDSU

Elliott column: Tech wrestler signs with NDSU

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Elliott column: Tech wrestler signs with NDSU

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Jerrad Nieland changed his mind.

After considering South Dakota State to be the place he’d like to further his wrestling career, Nieland decided on North Dakota State.

The St. Cloud Tech senior signed his NCAA national letter of intent to wrestle for the Bison on Friday afternoon at the Tech Tiger Den.

“The reason I chose North Dakota State is because there are a lot of people I know who are going up there,” Nieland said. “They have a nice campus and I really like their exercise science program. They also have a nice coach.”

Nieland also is a captain on Tech’s boys track and field team. He and the Tigers compete at 9:30 a.m. today at Sauk Rapids at the Mega Meet.

“It should be a fun meet,” he said, not knowing much about the competition.

Nieland leaves Tech as one of the most successful wrestlers in school history. He was 35-6 in 2012-13, placing fifth in Class 3A at the state meet at the 285-pound class.

He was 39-7 and took third as a junior. He finishes with a 105-36 career record.

“He’s had a lot of success,” said Tech head coach Bob Boeck, who was an assistant at North Dakota State from 1982-85 before becoming head coach at St. Cloud State from 1985-90. “You can ask him about this, but Grant and Mitch are going up there, so he’ll have some people he’ll know up there.”

Grant and Mitch are Grant Nehring and Mitch Bengtson. Both wrestled for St. Cloud Apollo and also are headed to NDSU. Nehring is a senior at St. Cloud Christian School.

Having three Division I college wrestlers from St. Cloud in one year is highly unusual. It may be the first time in the city’s history that it has happened.

Nieland is Tech’s first Division I wrestler since Eric Schmiesing, a 1996 graduate who wrestled for Hofstra University in New York.

Nieland decided to become a wrestler in fifth grade when he figured out basketball wasn’t going to work out. He said he got serious about the sport as a sophomore when he realized he had the potential to be good at it.

Besides placing at state, he’s a two-time state junior freestyle champion, winning his second straight title last Saturday at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

He also played nose tackle for Tech’s football team and was a two-time captain on the wrestling team. He’ll close out his prep career in track. He recently took first in the shot put at the Monticello Invitational, going 48 feet, 1.5 inches.

Then, it’s on to college.

He said North Dakota State was persistent in its recruiting efforts and that’s a reason why he changed his mind.

He admits he’s ready for the next step after a very good high school career.

“I think change will be a little good for me,” Nieland said.

He’s happy to have his college choice wrapped up.

It’s getting late in the school year for these sort of things.

“It was bugging me a little bit,” Nieland said. “I was feeling that I should be picking a school by now.”

It’s done. Congrats.

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