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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • NHS standouts headed to college

  • Three Neosho High School athletes signed letters of intent Friday afternoon to play for colleges in their respective sports.
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  • Three Neosho High School athletes signed letters of intent Friday afternoon to play for colleges in their respective sports.
    Tyler Johnson will head to North Central Missouri College in Trenton, Mo., to play baseball, while wrestlers Nate Rodriguez signed with Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Ark., and Montana Drum is on her way to Missouri Baptist College, St. Louis, Mo.
    “It is always a great opportunity for us as a school, we are very blessed and very proud to not only be a part of this, but to have these student athletes represent us,” Neosho High School Athletic Director Cory Roy said prior to the signing of the letters of intent at the high school’s atrium. “I know Tyler is a super, super athlete, I have been able to see some of his development over the years. I expect a lot of great things from him in the future.”
    Said Wildcats baseball coach Donny Pennington, “Tyler’s a great kid and a great player. He’s a kid that I’ve had the opportunity to coach since he started high school. Winning is great, but coaching a young man that has the opportunity to go play at the college level is just a great, great feeling as a coach because know you’ve helped them grow.
    “He’s just a remarkable young man.”
    Johnson, the son of Vance and Angela Johnson, is currently hitting .319 with four doubles, four triples and 12 RBIs through 16 games this season, will join five former teammates in continuing his career with the Pirates.
    Asked why he chose North Central, Johnson said, “There is a lot of athletes that have came from Neosho that are going there now. They have really driven me to head there. I have really liked seeing (everyone) on my visits up there.”
    For Drum, she chose the school because of wanting to help the wrestling program.
    “I want to help them build their program and I really like the coach,” she said. It is going to be a new environment wrestling with all of the girls, but I am excited for it.”
    Drum’s parents are Todd and Becky Drum.
    “I know that it is the first time that we have ever had a female go onto the college level to participate in wrestling,” Roy said. “That is a very, very phenomenal feat for her. She is going to do great things. With her hard work, determination and her spirit, she is going to accomplish many things for her in a sport that not many females excel in, and she has laid that path and proven what she can do.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Said wrestling coach Jeremy Phillips, “Montana is a great example, too, for sacrificing more than oneself. She made huge sacrifices for our team that says a lot about her. Plus, the competitiveness and toughness that she demonstrated competing against boys is very impressive … to do what she did for all those years speaks volumes about her character.”
    Rodriguez, son of Robert and Gina Rodriguez, is the first four-time state finalist in NHS wrestling history. A three-time individual and team champion, the 132-pounder was one of the top-ranked wrestlers in the nation this year.
    While helping guide the Wildcats to their third state title in four years this season, he himself cruised to the individual title at 132. He garnered plenty of interest from some top division I programs, saying in an earlier interview with the Daily News that Missouri and even Harvard had shown interest, but said he chose the university because of their pre-med program.
    “I am extremely pleased, excited, just going to see a different part of the country,” said Rodriguez.
    Said Phillips, “Nate (is a) great asset to our program as he is an example for all my kids, present and future, on and off the mat. He illustrates where work and persistence will take you. (I) truly believe the best is yet to come for him and Montana, too.
    “For both, I know they will continue to make our program, school and community proud.”

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