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Red Halverson Invitational

Dallas Andrade, of Minico, takes the back of Dekker Anderson, of Highland, on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, during the Red Halverson Invitational at Minico High School in Twin Falls.

Dallas Andrade was a big contributor to the Minico High School wrestling team’s back-to-back 4A state titles in 2017 and 2018, and now he’s looking to make his mark at the collegiate level.

Andrade signed his National Letter of Intent to wrestle at Chadron (Neb.) State on Wednesday at Minico High School.

Andrade initiated the search for a college in February with the help of Jen Anderson, a college counselor at Minico, according to Spartans wrestling coach Boe Rushton. The two helped push out a recruiting video to colleges across the nation, and Chadron State was one of the schools he heard from.

“I emailed the coach, and he emailed me back pretty soon,” Andrade said over the phone. “Right away, there was a spark of interest, and they ended up offering me (a scholarship).”

By the end of spring break, Andrade had decided to join the Eagles.

Andrade was unable to tour the campus, as the round trip from Rupert to Chadron takes nearly a full day to complete and would cost he and his family a good bit of money to pull off. But he got a lot of resources from the school and was able to tour the school virtually, he said.

Though it’s a ways from home, Andrade said his family was happy with the decision.

“They liked that it wasn’t too close to home, so they didn’t have to see me too much,” he joked. “But really, they’re happy I’m able to come home. It’s only one state over.”

Rushton knows a thing or two about college wrestling. As a senior at Boise State in 2003, he finished third at the NCAA wrestling championships in the heavyweight division.

Though he said he didn’t play a big role in Andrade’s recruiting process, Rushton helped out with the decision making and thought Chadron State was a nice fit for Andrade.

“He’ll excel there,” Rushton said. “They’ll take care of him and watch after him.”

Rushton also thinks Andrade will fit in with the team because he has a naturally friendly personality.

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“He’s kind of a goofy kid,” Rushton said. “He’s always got to hug you. That shows on the wrestling mat. A lot of people looked up to him because he’d talk to everyone. That kind of leadership was great.

Chadron State competes at the NCAA Division II level, but wrestled against quality Division I schools like Wyoming last year. Andrade said he wished he had the chance to face Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith, who finished second nationally in the 141-pound weight class.

“I want to compete at the highest level possible,” he said. “Even though DII is not the highest, it’s right up there. We still get to wrestle those DI schools.”

In high school, Andrade was often the best competition his opponents faced. He finished this past season with a 45-4 record and medaled at the 4A state tournament three times during his varsity career: fifth in 2015 (106 pounds), third in 2017 (126 pounds) and second in 2018 (132 pounds).

Andrade is also proud of all that his team accomplished and the way the younger guys contributed to send he and his fellow seniors out with another title.

“Last year was more of the seniors looking at my class like, ‘You have to help us ride off into the sunset,’” he said. “(This year) I looked at those younger guys to help us. They stayed long after practice to learn extra moves and really stepped up for the team.”

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