SIBLEY, Iowa | Fargo has been good to Hunter DeJong over the years.
He became a two-time All-American in freestyle and Greco-Roman there two years ago, and a conversation sparked by Sibley-Ocheyedan head coach Ben Strandberg while there this summer led to another big moment this week.
The Generals senior signed his letter of intent to wrestle for Iowa State and head coach Kevin Dresser.
“It started when I went to Fargo because my coach Ben Strandberg talked to Kevin Dresser and that was when Coach Dresser said he was interested,” DeJong said. “Ever since then it progressed and I finally went on my official visit a few weeks ago. I enjoyed my tour of campus and seeing the team and being up in the wrestling room.
“I loved the environment and when coach Dresser offered a scholarship I couldn’t turn it down.”
The three-time state qualifier said the disappointment he felt after not reaching the podium at the state tournament as a sophomore and following that up with his double All-American effort that summer in Fargo got him believing he had the potential to wrestle at the Division I level.
“We kind of went back to the drawing board and started talking about freestyle and Greco and getting involved with the Iowa team and the Fargo team,” Strandberg said. “He was able to do that and kind of splashed into that … I think that was kind of a big step forward for him.
“He does a lot of traveling and spends a lot of time in different clubs, a lot of people will open their doors for him.”
DeJong had a strong junior season with the Generals finishing fourth at state at 195 pounds while winning a Pan-Am championship and a preseason national crown in the offseason.
“It was a decent summer for me and I was really ecstatic because freestyle and Greco can really translate into folkstyle,” he said. “Being able to do the things I did this summer makes me feel really confident going into this upcoming season.”
The General joins a sizable number of fellow Iowan's as part of the Cyclone 2018 recruiting class including West Des Moines Valley's Grant Stotts and Joel Shapiro, Iowa City West's Francis Duggan, Glenwood's Anthony Sherry and Isaac Judge of South Tama.
DeJong, who has a 136-22 record going into his senior season, said he noticed some similarities between the Cyclones and the Generals in their practice habits that he believes will help him reach his potential.
“They do their practices a lot like Strandberg runs ours where it is high pace, tempo, and you always want to be the best you can,” he said. “They are pushing you to be the best you can possibly be and even push yourself beyond your own limits.”
DeJong said he will likely begin his career with a redshirt season with an eye on the 197-pound weight class.