Some signing day notes and quotes that were too numerous to fit into print:
- Men’s basketball
Brett VandenBergh is no kid who faxed a letter of intent, he’s physically ready to go. It will be interesting how he teams with his ex-high school teammate, Chris Kading, who is a freshman on the Bison roster. Kading appears to be the real deal, although he will probably redshirt this year. As for Dexter Werner, his development over the summer AAU circuit got to the point where NDSU could no longer ignore him. He’s 6-foot-6, but is wing span is 6-11 and like VandenBergh, is physically ready to go right now.
- Women’s basketball
Holly Johnson from Minot, N.D., is regarded as a pure scorer and shooter, a combination that always isn’t available. Bison coaches think the 6-foot forward has grown since she verbally committed. She’s from a basketball family; her father and sister played at Minot State. It will be interesting to see how Brittany Wiebe from Brandon, Manitoba develops in basketball. A hockey player until three years ago, she’s a rare Division I basketball recruit from Manitoba.
The Bison have had a lot of success in Wisconsin with 5-11 outside hitter Jenni Fassbender from Kaukauna, who is from a school with one of the great nicknames ever: the Kaukauna Galloping Ghosts. She led the GG’s to a state title in 2009 and a runnerup finish in ’10. Head coach Kari Thompson compared her athletic ability to former Bison player Sheila Parrish and is expected to compete for a spot in the rotation immediately. Also signing was Emily Riese, a 5-foot-10 setter from Fon du Lac, Wis. She was an all-state second team pick as a junior and first team this year and was also a state track and field qualifier in the discus throw in June.
- Men’s golf
Head coach Billy Iverson was hot on the recruiting trail for West Fargo’s Connor Holland before the Pine-to-Palm tournament in August. Holland won it, and Iverson had to worry about other coaches coming at Holland. “Sure,” Iverson said. “He defeated all of my team and most of the Gophers team. He’s already experienced at our level without going to a class.” NDSU now essentially has a F-M high school all-star team with Trenton Olson from Shanley and Bill Carlson from Fargo South.
- Girls golf
Head coach Matt Johnson, in the early stages of recruiting, was in contact with Cassie Wurm of Hudson, Wis., and Hailey Boner of Stillwater, Minn. It turns out both players knew each other, in part because Hudson and Stillwater are just across the river from each other and they played in junior tournaments together. “Both of these players are experienced beyond just the high school game,” Johnson said. Wurm is the daughter of former standout Bison wrestler Lloyd Wurm. She was the ’09 Wisconsin Junior Match Play champion.
When this group of eight recruits walk off the bus, it will be hard to tell what sport: basketball or baseball. Two of them stand 6-5, four are 6-3 and another is 6-2. Six are pitchers and all are following head coach Tod Brown’s footprint of being from colder climate programs.
Signing were 6-3 infielder Sean Terres from Rocori High (Minn.), 6-3 pitcher Adam Lambrecht from Burnsville, Minn., and teammate pitcher-1B 6-5 Brian Vandewoude, 6-4 pitcher Tanner Schumacher from Blaine, Minn., 6-3 pitcher Zach Mayo of Vauxhall, Alberta, 6-3 pitcher Adam Moorse of Apple Valley, Minn., outfielder Aaron Janz from Mandan, N.D., and pitcher Alex Bray from Bismarck. “They are big athletic kids who play multiple sports,” Brown said. “And they have high test scores and that has translated well for us.” And it certainly didn’t hurt NDSU that freshman David Ernst was drafted – and didn’t sign, instead opting to honor his NDSU commitment.
It’s the biggest class in head coach Darren Mueller’s years at NDSU with eight players. “I’m used to two or three a year,” he said. Five are from the NDSU recruiting-rich ground of California: Jenna Isbel of Fontana, Logan Moreland of Woodland, Cheyenne Garcia of Vista, Alyssa Reina of Auburn and Cassidy Szeredy of Pittsburg. Two are teammates from Omaha Burke High School: Katie Soukup and Sam Peterson and pitcher Tabby Bayers is from North St. Paul High School.
Speed is the operative word with these kids. Mueller said a good time from home plate to first is 2.7 to 2.9 seconds. Isbel and Moreland run a 2.5. Reina, a catcher, runs a 2.7.