Former Neosho High standout and Maryville senior Nate Rodriguez qualified for the NCAA Division II national tournament when he earned a Super Regional title at 141 pounds Saturday.

Former Neosho High standout and Maryville senior Nate Rodriguez qualified for the NCAA Division II national tournament when he earned a Super Regional title at 141 pounds Saturday.
Rodriguez won all four regional matches to improve to 28-2 on the season. He’s the No. 1 ranked wrestler in his weight class.
In the finals, Rodriguez met familiar foe Darren Wynn from Great Lakes Valley Conference rival McKendree, the defending national champion at 141.
Well, Rodriguez continued to have Wynn’s number this season, earning a 8-5 decision for the regional title, and Rodriguez qualified for his fourth national tournament, his first two with Ouachita Baptist, the program that once had Neosho graduates Dallas Smith, Payne Hatter and Rodriguez on its roster. Rodriguez is a two-time All-American, his junior season curtailed by an injury after a 20-0 start.
En route to the finals, Rodriguez won a 6-1 semifinal decision against St. Cloud State’s Jarred Oftedahl and he won by pinfall his first two matches, Minnesota State-Moorhead’s Kristian Vasquez in 4 minutes, 4 seconds and Southwest Minnesota’s Zachary Beaumaster in 2:34.
Maryville finished third in the regionals overall with 102 points, behind St. Cloud (147) and McKendree (121).
The NCAA-II Championships will be held March 10 and 11 in Birmingham, Alabama, part of a winter festival that will honor national champions in men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, and wrestling. Alabama-Huntsville hosts this extravaganza at the Crossplex in Birmingham.
Earlier in the week, the GLVC handed out its inaugural all-conference selections.
Rodriguez (141) led eight Saints selections, including five on the first team. Dakota Bauer (133), James Krischke, Zeb Wahle (184) and Donnell Walker (285) joined Rodriguez and Greg Hegarty (157), Derrick Swaney (165) and Ethan Sherertz (197) made second team.
Additionally, Rodriguez took home the James R. Spalding Sportsmanship Award.
Maryville finished 10-3 in duals overall and 5-1 in conference competition.

Hailey’s season comes to an end
Meanwhile, former Neosho High standout and Ouachita Baptist sophomore Austin Hailey (197) saw his season fall short of the nationals with a pair of losses in the NCAA-II Super Regionals West out in Golden, Colorado.
Chadron State’s Matthew Kindler pinned Hailey in 3:26 and then Colorado-Mesa’s Jareb Aziz took a 10-8 decision from Hailey.
Hailey’s final record stands at 14-8.

Drum takes 4th at        national tourney
Former Neosho High standout and Missouri Baptist senior Montana Drum recently won fourth at the WCWA Nationals at 143 pounds.
Drum lost a 10-0 tech fall to King’s Jessi Kee but rebounded for a 6-0 decision against McKendree’s Jasmine Bailey in the consolation semis. Then, Southern Oregon’s Desiree Zavala won a 11-0 tech fall against Drum in the third place match.
Drum rolled through her first three matches in the tournament — a 10-0 tech fall against Campbellville’s Sophia Carson, a 9-0 decision against Southern Oregon’s Jasmine Ivey and a 4-3 decision against Lafayette’s Skylar Grote.
Drum’s teammate Cheyenne Youngblood won a national title at 130.