Cody Phillips is the picture of perseverance and persistence.
From struggling to win to becoming a multiple state champion in high school, Phillips kept working hard at wrestling.
That hard work led him to back-to-back Indiana state titles — and leads him next to the Big Ten as part of a prestigious University of Minnesota program that is a national power.
Phillips is officially a Golden Gopher as the Union County senior had his National Letter of Intent signing ceremony on Tuesday.
“If you’d have asked me when I was in middle school, I’d have never thought in a million years I’d be where I am today,” said Phillips, who verbally committed to Minnesota last month. “When I was in elementary, I hardly won a match. I just stayed at it and it started coming together.”
Phillips won state championships his freshman and sophomore seasons, both at 103 pounds. He was third at last year’s state meet at 112 pounds. Phillips said he plans to wrestle this year at 126, which means a less arduous process of cutting weight.
Minnesota’s style of wrestling is similar to Phillips’ aggressive approach.
“As a wrestler, he has everything he needs,” said Union County coach Dan Briggs. “He’s fast. He’s aggressive. He’s physical. He’s smart. He’s got it all and he can use it.
“It’s a great day for him, for his family, for our program — to have a top-tier wrestler go to a top-tier program.”
Minnesota has won three NCAA team championships with the most recent in 2007. Sixteen Golden Gophers have won individual titles.
Minnesota was seventh at last year’s NCAA Championships and returned four All-American competitors this season.
“Everybody is such a family up there. I think I’ll fit in great,” Phillips said. “My style of wrestling is their style of wrestling — hard work and that’s what I like to do.”