32 wrestlers on roster to start season
The Chadron State wrestling team began practice Oct. 10, signaling the beginning of the winter sports season. Head Coach Brett Hunter has 32 men on the roster this season.
There are 10 returning lettermen, 10 returning squad men, 10 true freshmen and two transfer students. The lettermen include seniors Reed Burgener, of Douglas, Wyoming; Josh Miller, of Bennett, Colorado; and Taylor Summers, of Plymouth; juniors Jacob Anderson, of Central City; Chance Helmick, of Beatrice; and Johnny Porter, of Bellevue; and sophomores Copper Cogdill, of Chadron; Brandon Kile, of Hastings; Shane Rodenburg, of Kent City, Michigan; and Brock Thumm, of Watervliet, Michigan.
Anderson was a starter for the Eagles his first two years at Chadron State, but missed most of last season due to a shoulder injury.
The transfer students include former Nebraska State Champion Willy Cogdill, of Chadron, who redshirted at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, last season; and Tristan Ezell, junior of Buckeye, Arizona, who wrestled for Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, before coming to CSC.
D2Wrestle.com released the regional rankings last week after the 15 coaches of the NCAA South Central region voted to rank the region’s top eight wrestlers in each weight class. Chadron State College wrestlers ranked in the top five in six out of 10 weight classes, and the team was ranked No. 9 out of the 15 teams.
Summers, CSC’s returning national qualifier, was ranked No. 2 in the region at 133-pounds, coming off of a second-place finish at the 2016 regional tournament. The only wrestler in the region ranked above Summers is Martin Ramirez, of Adams State. Summers defeated Ramirez at the 2016 regional tournament in Gunnison, Colorado, but lost to him twice: once at the home dual and once in the RMAC Championship finals.
Summers is also ranked No. 10 at 133-pounds in the National Wrestling Coaches Association top-10 rankings. Ramirez is ranked ahead of him at eighth.
At 141-pounds, Luke Zeiger, junior of Glasgow, Montana, is ranked No. 4 in the region. Two of Zeiger’s five losses last season were to D-I wrestlers from Wyoming and Nebraska, and one was to an eventual All-American from UNK.
Returning at 157-pounds is Anderson, a three-time Nebraska high school state champion. Anderson finished the 2014-15 season as an All-RMAC honorable mention recipient going 21-10 with a UNK Holiday Inn Open champion and two wins over Newman University, Wichita, Kansas, wrestler Tyler Mies, who is now the top-ranked wrester at 149-pounds. Anderson was granted a hardship waiver after encountering a shoulder injury that allows him to repeat his junior year of eligibility.
Helmick is moving from 165-pounds to 174-pounds this season. Last season at 165, Helmick was the RMAC runner-up and earned second team All-Conference honors. Rodenburg, at 165-pounds, and Cogdill, at heavyweight, are both ranked No. 5 in the regional poll.
Chadron State was voted into the fifth spot on the preseason poll, earning 31 points. The Eagles came away with a sixth place finish in the 2016 RMAC Championship. The preseason poll is voted on by the conference’s nine head coaches, with eight points awarded for first place, continuing in descending order. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, will also be joining the region this season.
The Eagles will begin their competitive season at the Cowboy Open Tournament hosted by the University of Wyoming Saturday.