Byron’s Petersen commits to North Dakota State
When Mitchel Petersen’s parents drop him off at college next fall, the phrase ‘Bye son,’ will have two meanings. The first meaning is the usual goodbye, but they will also be saying his new title as he recently committed to being a Bison, the North Dakota State (NDSU) mascot.
While that’s a spin-off of a common joke, there’s nothing funny about Petersen’s wrestling ability.
Byron wrestling Head Coach Ryan Radke said Petersen thrives on facing top-notch competition.
“He’s always been pretty naturally gifted, but he really likes competition. He likes going against really good guys and he likes wrestling on big stages. He’s not afraid to go up against good competition,” he said.
Getting to face strong competition is one of the reasons Peterson chose Division I NDSU, but Radke said getting a degree is also important to him.
“Once he got there [NDSU], he really liked the facilities and he liked the options as far as some interests in different majors that he was interested in, because he’s said several times ‘My plan is to get a degree and I know that that’s first and foremost.’ There were several different options that he was interested in that played a part in that,” he said. “He wrestled up there in Fargo so he has some history there and there’s some kids from southeast Minnesota there so it’s nice to know some other people. He got along with the coaches and the facilities were excellent for him. He thought it was the right fit.”
Before he moves up to Fargo, Petersen has one more chance to capture a second state championship. He was state champion as a sophomore and runner-up last year.
To give him the best chance to succeed, Radke said he’ll probably start off somewhere around 132 or 138 pounds, but he’s not 100 percent sure yet
However, Petersen does have experience being successful at an even smaller weight.
“He did go down to the Super 32 down in North Carolina, which is a pretty prestigious tournament, and was one match away from placing. He made it to the final 16 bracket, and he did really well down there at 126. That’s pretty early in the season to get down to that weight so I don’t think he’ll be starting there by any means,” he said.
Radke expects Petersen will be voted a captain once again this year. It would be his third straight year as a captain.
“The kids know he’s a hard worker, a leader, and look up to him. He’s really good with the younger kids too and has started mentoring them and helping them get better.” he said. “His brother, Maxwell, is the same way. They’re not afraid to tell someone ‘Hey, if you do it this way or change it this way,’ and that’s really beneficial. It’s like having another coach in the room, him and Maxwell.”