BRITTANY HOFMANN | THE SPECTRUM
Last Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period for high school athletes to declare their intent for college. North Dakota State squads had multiple players from around the nation sign to bring their talents to NDSU.
With the season just starting for the Bison men, the team announced three new faces for next year. Jarius Cook, Jaxon Knotek and Vinnie Shahid make up the 2018 recruiting class.
Cook comes out of Park Center High School (H.S.) in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 15 points per game in his junior year for the Pirates.
Knotek offers good size at 6-foot-5 coming out of River Falls, Wisconsin. He averaged 20 points and 6 assists as a junior, while shooting 40 percent from three-point range.
Wrapping up the class is Shahid, a 5-foot-11 guard from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Shahid played at Hopkins H.S., before playing for Western Nebraska Community College last year. At Hopkins, Shahid earned all-state honors as the Royals won the state title in 2016. Last year at WNCC, he averaged 15 points.
The NDSU women’s team signed one recruit for 2018, Reagan Heun from Spring Branch, Texas. Heading into her senior year at Canyon Lake H.S., Heun already holds the all-time records for points scored, three pointers made and free throws made. She averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds last season as a junior.
It was a busy day for the Bison baseball team, getting seven players committed to the program.
Outfielder/left-handed pitcher Brock Anderson will wrap up his high school career at Alexandria H.S. (Minnesota), before joining the Bison in the fall of 2018. Anderson has already been the Cardinals’ MVP twice, including last year when he hit .423 with a pair of home runs. During his last Legion campaign, Anderson hit .535 while also going 2-0 with 47 strikeouts from the mound.
Infielder Peter Brookshaw will leave Prescott H.S. (Wisconsin) with many records before joining the Bison. Brookshaw already holds the school record for at bats, hits, doubles, batting average and slugging percentage. As a junior, he hit .538 with a pair of home runs. Also had a fielding percentage of .975.
Spencer Gillund is the only transfer joining the Bison. The Enderlin, North Dakota native played for Bismarck State College last year. The infielder ended his freshman campaign with a .410 batting average, 13 home runs and 53 RBI.
Barron Holtz from Plainview, Minnesota is one of three right-handed pitchers (RHP) in the recruiting class. Holtz went 4-1 as a junior for Plainview-Elgin-Millville H.S., giving up just eight earned runs and striking out 79 batters.
Austin Nikolas from St. Cloud, Minnesota is the second RHP. Nikolas closed games for St. Cloud Tech H.S. last season, claiming seven saves. He gave up seven runs during 20 innings of work.
Ben Smith rounds out the pitchers. The South St. Paul (Minnesota) product went 4-4 during his junior campaign with an ERA of 1.29. He struck out 61 batters in 48.2 innings.
Billings, Montana native Ben Tallman wraps up the class for the Bison. Tallman hit .333 as a junior at Billings West H.S. He also had 32 RBI and scored 34 runs.
Starting in 2018, three new faces will be in the dugout for the Bison softball team. Paige Vargas, Avery Wysong and Nicole Licea all signed for the Bison Wednesday.
Vargas will join the Bison from Mission Viejo, California after she wraps up her high school career at Santa Margarita Catholic H.S. She already has compiled a record of 46-17 in the circle, which includes a 20-6 record as a junior last season. Vargas also hit .337 at the plate.
The catcher Wysong comes to NDSU with a wealth of experience. The Beaver Creek, Minnesota native has been a member of numerous state championship and national tournament teams. Wysong has played for the Minnesota Renegades, Midwest Speed and South Dakota Renegades in summer league over the past seven years.
Licea is also a California native, hailing from Corona. As a junior at Hillcrest H.S., the shortstop hit .474 with 33 runs scored. Licea’s summer league team have qualified for nationals each of the five seasons she has played, including the 2014 PGF Platinum National Championship.
The Bison welcomed six newcomers to the team starting next season.
Belleville, Illinois native Chase Bittle goes into his senior year with two Illinois state titles. He also has been a runner up at state for Althoff Catholic H.S. He has compiled a 140-2 record with 106 pins.
Austin Brenner will travel to Fargo from St. Cloud, Minnesota. At St. Cloud Tech, Brenner has made it to the state championships four times at four different weight classes. He was runner-up in 2015 at 132. Last year, he finished third in the state at 152.
Noah Cressell enters his senior year at Wabash H.S. (Indiana) with an 89-19 record. Cressell has made it twice to the Indiana state championships. As a junior, he won conference, county, sectional and regional championships at 182 pounds.
Dylan Droegemueller went on to finish third at the Minnesota state tournament at 120 for Anoka H.S. The Champlin, Minnesota native has compiled a 119-13 record in high school.
Three time Arkansas state champion Jimmy Noel will join the Bison from St. Louis, Missouri. Wrestling at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, Noel has won at 152, 160 and 172 in the last three years. He enters his senior year with a 149-4 record and 100 pins.
Jared Franek will stay local and wrestle for the Bison in 2018. The Harwood, North Dakota native has helped West Fargo H.S. to a pair of state championships. Franek goes into his senior year with a 212-13 record and three state championships himself. His signing came in the middle of a busy week personally, as he also helped the Packers to a state football title as well.
Head coach Jennifer Lopez gained three recruits for her first class for the volleyball team.
Kalli Hegerle is in her first season at West Fargo H.S. (North Dakota) after moving from Sheyenne H.S., where she was a three-year starter. At Sheyenne, Hegerel was a two-time all-state performer. In her high school career, the setter has 1,751 kills, 1,340 assists and 857 digs through the start of November.
Ally Murphy has helped Eagan H.S. to four straight Minnesota state championships. After a runner-up finish in 2014, Eagan has won the last two state titles. Murphy was an all-state selection in 2015. The outside hitter also led her club team to the U.S. Junior National 17-under Championship this year.
Verona, Wisconsin native Kirstin Tidd rounds out the class for volleyball. Tidd is a two-time all-conference performer at Verona Area H.S. The middle hitter leads the team in kills and blocks, leading the team to conference and regional championships last year.
From Green Bay, Wisconsin, Jed Baranczyk will join the Bison in 2018. The Bay Port H.S. product was a three-time all-state selection. Last spring, Baranczyk averaged 72.4 in tournament play. He was also a medalist at the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier and the Wisconsin Junior PGA Champion.
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota native Maddie Herzog signed her Letter of Intent to join the Bison in 2018. Herzog has helped Detroit Lakes H.S. win two team state titles. As a junior, she earned section medalist honors and finished fifth at the state tournament.
Women’s track and field
The Bison will gain four North Dakota athletes for the incoming 2018 class.
Sprinter Grace Zimmerman has won a pair of state titles in the 200m. The Hazen native also claimed state championships in the 100m and 4x400m relay last year as a junior. She has also helped Hazen H.S. to state team titles each of the last three years.
Fellow sprinter Gracie Wright has won three straight 400m state titles. Wright also has an 800m crown from last year and two state titles in both the 4x400m and 4x800m relays for Hillsboro-Central Valley H.S.
Fargo Davies product Kaia Beil is a three-time defending state winner in the 100m hurdles. The Fargo native holds the school record in the event and was a part of the 4x100m relay that won two state titles.
Pole vaulter/ high jumper Lexi Jordheim from Dickinson rounds out the group. Jordheim is the defending state champion in the pole vault after clearing 10-9 as a junior.