Photo by Hillary Ehlen
HOMETOWN: Long Grove, Iowa
HIGH SCHOOL: North Scott High School
FINDING A WAY TO WRESTLE
Before he hit the mat unattached in his first year with NDSU, Cordell Eaton underwent surgery on his thumb to correct an injury suffered during his senior year of high school football. But the injury didn’t stop him from wrestling that winter, putting off the surgery until after his senior season.
Cordell Eaton will receive a Harvest Bowl Scholarship this season.
SNAP SHOT OF CORDELL’S 2016-17 SEASON
• Overall Record: 17-15
• Duals: 9-10
• 6th Place at Big 12 Championships
• 1st Place at Bison Open
• Started season with major decision victory against Iowa State
For Bison wrestling newcomer Cordell Eaton, choosing a school that had an agriculture engineering program was at the forefront of his decision-making process.
NDSU was the perfect fit for Eaton not only because of the strength of the athletic program, but for the academic side as well. “My major is exactly what I want to do,” said Eaton about his experience so far with the engineering program.
In addition to his test-engineering internship with Case IH and his classes, Eaton is dedicated to tackling obstacles on and off the mat for Bison wrestling. During his freshman season, he took sixth at 197 pounds in the 2017 Big 12 Wrestling Championships, finishing with a 3-3 record. A notable victory of the season for Eaton was the 2016 Bison Open with a 3-0 record and a pair of major decisions.
“Anything I can do to help the program is something that I want to do,” said Eaton. “It’s also a nice honor to be recognized for doing well in academics as well as athletics.”
BI: How did Coach Kish hear about you?
Cordell Eaton: “I don’t really know. I just got a call one day and it was him. My assistant coach in high school wrestled at Iowa with Derek St. John who used to be a coach here, so I think that might have been how they noticed me. It was out-of-the-blue, I wasn’t really expecting it.
“At that point, I wasn’t planning on wrestling in college at all. I was planning on just going to Iowa State for school, then I got called to come up here and check it out. A lot of the schools that wanted me to wrestle didn’t have engineering, and that’s why I was going to go to Iowa State and not do wrestling. I didn’t necessarily want to wrestle there, but I wanted to go to school there because they had my major. It ended up being perfect here because they had wrestling, a program that I liked and a school that I liked.”
BI: Where does your interest in agriculture engineering come from?
CE: “I just really like machinery and stuff. The focus of my major is powered machinery so right now I have a test-engineering internship at Case IH working on their four-wheel-drive tractors. I started in the spring semester part-time, then I worked full-time in the summer, and now I’m still working part-time during the school year. I run tests on machinery and report back. We work on new things in machinery, I’m in the vehicle test group so we do tests on the whole vehicle.”
BI: You started out pretty hot at the start of last year, what was the rest of the season like?
CE: “After starting out with such a good match, it was hard going through some tough matches. But then, I started getting the hang of it around the Virginia tournament. It was definitely a big jump from the tournaments you wrestle as a redshirt freshman to actual
BI: How has coming up just one place short of qualifying for the NCAA tournament last season motivated you this year?
CE: “I should have won that last match of mine, and I should have got fifth. If I would’ve, I would have gone to the NCAA Championship meet. I think I should have qualified. It’s not just that match specifically, it’s a lot of different things. I don’t like to sit there and think about the one guy, but it’s definitely motivating when I was close to going, and that I should have gone.”