Photo By Nolan P. Schmidt
Given the sport he competes in, one may believe that Dylan Droegemueller fulfills a “tough guy” aesthetic. While this writer would not want any part of a scrap with the 141-pounder, you’ll quickly realize that wrestling is a facet in a more complex visage.
Not only is Droegemueller incredibly kind with his time, but he is also thoughtful especially as he ponders the answer to a question. Maybe it is that deep thinking nature that has helped the Champlin, Minnesota, native to succeed at NDSU. Becoming the full-time starter at 141 pounds last year, Droegemueller capped off a solid year with a 3-2 performance at the Big 12 Championships. Those three wins all came against nationally-ranked opponents and it helped Droegemueller qualify for the NCAA Championships.
His demeanor has also allowed him to thrive in the classroom at North Dakota State. For the first time, Droegemueller was named to the Big 12 All-Academic first team last year. In total, 10 Bison were named to the first team.
As a finance major, Droegemueller has not zeroed in on what he wants to do after NDSU. With his sights set on a Master of Business Administration degree in the future, one cannot deny the success on the horizon.
How did you get interested in finance and how did that eventually become your major?
I knew I wanted to do something in business because my dad is in the business field and sales. I’m actually getting my sales certificate as well. I just have some family that’s in finance and I’ve always been good with numbers. I always thought business was a very interesting subject because I did take some business courses in high school. That’s really what got me interested in it. I think I was kind of along the same lines as most college students not knowing really what they wanted to do right away. I knew finance could give me a lot of options.
Once you graduate, do you have an idea of what you want to get into? Or what kind of goals do you want to accomplish on the professional side of things once you do have that degree?
I definitely want to get a Master’s and I haven’t really talked with my advisors about what degree I want to do. I’m thinking I’m going to do an MBA because I know that opens more doors for me. Also, since I’m doing this sales certificate, I can see myself doing something in sales. I don’t exactly have a specific job that I really want right now. The skills I’ve gotten from wrestling will help me in whatever career I land on. Hard work and determination is going to allow me to be able to excel in whatever I end up doing.
I know Roger [Kish] is really keen on instilling those
values of hard work, grit and determination. How much does athletics feed into how you approach academics and things away from wrestling? Those qualities transition into academics, but all areas of life too.
One of the biggest things is time management. You just really develop how to organize yourself and really get yourself in a regimen. Have a calendar just full of when stuff is due, what time of the week and when I practice. That’s just being organized and being disciplined with coursework. You can’t really get a good grade point average if you’re turning in things late or you’re not giving yourself enough time to give that assignment 100 percent. That’s something that I think sports has really helped me develop. It’s just good organization and time management skills.
One thing that I always hear about the academic side of things, especially from athletes at NDSU is that it’s almost impossible to fail. You’re set up to succeed, especially in the academic field, just with the people that they have in the athletic department on the academic side of things. Can you speak to how important having those academic counselors and resources are?
Sara [Parman, Assistant Director of Athletic Academics] helps me all the time. Any questions I have with syllabuses or just class in general, Sarah has always been there for me. I can text her anytime and she’ll give me an answer and help me out. Having that resource offered to me as a freshman has just carried me through my career. It really was because of Carter [Kruckenberg, Assistant Director of Athletic Academics/Student Development], Sarah and Kelli [Layman], just making sure that as a freshman, we develop good habits. They’re really on top of it, and proactive about it.
What was the most challenging thing for you taking that jump from high school to college life as a student-athlete?
My biggest challenge right away was just being independent. That’s the first thing that pops up or comes to mind. My parents were really helpful in just guiding me through high school and helping me develop a lot of really good habits. When you come to college, your parents aren’t there to remind you of things. So you really have to be very disciplined and make a schedule for yourself and follow that schedule.
You lose the accountability factor of having your parents there, reminding you. It’s really on you, and you’re essentially your own adult now. And we’re babysitting. I think that was probably the biggest challenge. Not that I ever missed anything, but just having to remember every little detail of the week. It just forced me to be disciplined, write things down and really set a schedule for myself.
On the mat, you had a great finish last year. Qualifying for NCAAs and beating three ranked opponents to finish this season. How much did that build your confidence moving forward?
It was huge. I always believed in myself. I know my family and coaches did too. It just felt really good to have all my hard work and discipline that I had throughout the year finally pay off. It was super rewarding. It was a huge confidence booster because you always believe in yourself, but to actually achieve that was really, really cool. It kind of felt like a turning point in my career of making that jump. From being maybe just a starter guy to an All-American contender. That was a huge confidence boost.
That 141 spot before last year was in flux a little bit. There were a bunch of different guys cycling through that weight. You’ve obviously brought a little bit of stability to that weight class. What are some of your goals that you’ve set for yourself?
The daily goals are always the same, of focusing on my weak points and just really trying to develop as a whole wrestler. Polish out those weak points just to get better. I’ve been working on a lot of mindset stuff lately with Obe [Blanc] and reading some different articles and watching some videos. The ultimate goal is always to be an All-American national champion. I feel like that’s every wrestler’s dream.
You bring up the mental side of wrestling, How have you gone about approaching that side of things, just because we are in such a unique circumstance?
With all the uncertainty with NCAAs being kind of ripped away almost, it really put a lot of stuff in perspective for me. I think a lot of guys on the team feel that way too. We’ve gotten really plugged into FCA and Bible studies and things like that. I think we’ve really found good faith in Christ. That’s helped a ton with the uncertainty and just putting sports in perspective. I think it’s really helped me stay mentally sharp because if I were to have sports be everything and always focusing on the uncertainty of things happening, I think it’d be really unhealthy. I have to control what I can control in a lot of ways.
Staying mentally sharp in the wrestling room, you’re always finding things to challenge yourself. It’s easy on the physical side to keep yourself sharp. It’s been a challenge for sure and I think most sports would agree with that. Having no competition gives the coaches a lot of free rein to beat up on you. It’s gonna be nice when we can finally start competing. We also need to be thankful for the opportunity to compete too. Not everyone gets that.
Hometown: Champlin, Minn.
– 2020 National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team
– 2020 Academic All-Bog 12 First Team