As the regular season came to a close Sunday, North Dakota State is on the hunt for redemption and motivation as the next competition is the Big 12 Championships on March 5 and 6 held in Kansas City, Missouri.
With a winning streak of 25 consecutive duals, senior Hayden Zillmer, who is ranked 4th in the nation at 184 pounds is looking forward to his last postseason as a student-athlete.
“To win the conference and hopefully a national title,” Zillmer said about the postseason goals for the Bison.
Another key component for the NDSU squad this season has been 125-pound junior Josh Rodriguez who is ranked at No. 17 by InterMat.com. Placing in multiple tournaments throughout the season, his contributions to the team haven’t gone unnoticed.
Having a well-rounded student-athlete as the Bison have in ZIllmer, Rodriguez said his leadership will be the key to postseason success.
“I think every year he grows as a leader and his work ethic is always improving,” Rodriguez said of Zillmer. “Us younger guys always look up to him.”
With the season winding down, head coach Roger Kish said the team has focused in each wrestler specifically to attack their late season goals.
“As we get into the last few weeks here, we really try to focus on each individual’s goals,” Kish said. “What they’re doing well so we can work on each guy’s individual details.”
Kish is confident in his team, especially in one particular student-athlete.
“[Zillmer] has to keep doing what he’s doing,” Kish said of the lone senior. “Keep doing what he’s doing right now, and for a guy like Hayden Zillmer, the only thing we’re waiting for is the opportunity, so we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing, and the opportunities will present themselves.”