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Tier 1 of Idaho Prep Wrestling: Hudson Rogers, Meridian
Al Fontes gives us a deeper look at Meridian's standout 182-pounder, Hudson Rogers
Published: 5/14/2024 4:41:41 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

The next wrestler in my TIER ONE of Idaho Prep Wrestling series is Hudson Rogers of Meridian High School, a talented wrestler that has achieved a great deal not only on the mat, but in the classroom and his community as well. In fact, Hudson is the 30th Idaho prep level wrestler that I have had the great honor to write about since the genesis of my promotional platform, “The Idaho Elite Report,” established in May of 2021. Growing up in a family of exceptional athletes, Hudson has spent his entire life living and working on a farm in addition to being a very active member of his community and accomplished wrestler. His accomplishments on the mat, classroom, and off the mat speak volumes to his commitment to excellence. To date, Hudson has traveled to nearly 30 states where he has competed, earned a multitude of top-level accolades, networked, built many friendships and lifetime memories, and despite some setbacks continues to follow his dreams.

The likelihood of a child following in the footsteps of their older sibling(s) or parents in athletics or extracurricular activities is more or less inevitable, but what is not known is whether they will gravitate to or eventually decline what is presented to them. To some extent, it is very difficult to predict since so many internal and external factors come into play. In Hudson’s case, he comes from a family of exceptional athletes where his father (Lyle) earned two state wrestling titles (3x finalist) for Gooding High School in the early 1990s and mother (Lucinda) was a member of the State Championship volleyball team for Shoshone High School around the same timeframe. Additionally, his older brother (Owen) wrestled a few years in middle school, but excelled in Cross Country and Track and Field at the high school level, earning multiple state titles, and today competes for Weber State in Utah. Furthermore, his younger sister (Olivia) is already showing promising results in multiple sports at the middle school level. On top of that, Hudson’s cousin Tayten Gillette, earned three individual state titles for Gooding High School from 2020-’22, folkstyle All-American honors, and currently competes for the University of Northern Colorado.

Hudson’s entry into the wrestling circle began at the very young age of three when his parents took him to the Cobra Wrestling Club in their hometown of Gooding. Based on what I have observed thus far, there is no doubt that Hudson has followed in the footsteps of his family and much more. From the get-go he gravitated to the complexities and challenges of wrestling and has not looked back since. In fact, by the time he had reached the age of seven, his parents began travelling from Gooding to Boise at least two to three times a week in order for Hudson to train with the best of the best in his age group at the Bullcatcher Wrestling Club ran by longtime coach Kelly Bartlett.

 According to Coach Bartlett, “Hudson (and his family) have put in the time and the miles. At an early age Hudson would come twice a week to Bullcatcher practices. This was a 90 minute drive each way, but Hudson had the fire and desire to be the best. Training with the Martino's, Frothinger's, Fouret's, and Exferd made the room extremely tough and forged lifelong relationships. Proud to be a small part of his journey and excited to watch it continue! Love ya - "Old Bull.”

All of Hudson’s hard work, sacrifice, and commitment (family inclusive) began to pay off early on as he excelled not only at the kid’s state level, but nationally as well. As time progressed, Hudson began training at the Delchev Trained Academy (DTA), which was near his hometown. The DTA was ran by world class coach Ivan Delchev, a 5x Bulgarian National Champion. The level of coaching he was receiving at an early age from Coach Bartlett in addition to Coach Delchev set a very strong precedent and foundation for the years ahead. It was the concept of continuous improvement through hard work, sacrifice, and commitment to excellence at every level of competition that became Hudson’s modus operandi (MO) moving forward.

As Hudson progressed through the kid’s divisions, he continued to earn state and national level accolades, which was very impressive and a reflection of his dedication to the sport. More importantly, the tough lessons he had learned from his experiences and shortcomings prepared him even further. I believe Hudson understood early on that high expectations does not necessarily equate to high achievement. Embracing the process, whatever it may be is the common denominator to any incremental step towards achievement.

Based on my observations, I do not believe Hudson is motivated by accolades alone. It’s his eagerness to embrace the process of achieving and conquering the associated challenges, which motivates him even more. Always moving forward, Hudson proved early on that he was prepared to put in the necessary time, work, and commitment to advance at each level. In due course, the sum of his hard work and commitment had paid off in dividends, but he also understood very well that the next phase (high school) of his journey presented several new challenges; higher level competition, stronger athletes, more advanced technique, increased expectations, etc. Regardless, Hudson was more than ready for these challenges and without hesitation put his nose to the grindstone and got to work.

At the conclusion of Hudson’s first year of high school wrestling, there was no doubt that his past experiences prepared him to take on the increased challenges ahead as he won titles at the tough Rollie Lane Invitational, Districts, and Idaho State Championships. On top of that, during the post season he earned All-American honors at the USAW High School National Recruiting Showcase, Folkstyle Nationals, and Fargo.

Entering his sophomore year, Hudson was more than ready to challenge for another state title, but an early season injury prevented him from competing for the remainder of the prep season. Despite this setback, he wasted no time and upon recovery “put the medal to the pedal” and won an individual title in Freestyle at the 16U USA Western States and capped the summer off by reaching the finals at the National High School Recruiting Showcase as well as earning double All-American honors (FS/GR) at Fargo in the 16U division.

With several All-American honors to his credit, Hudson began his junior season rated among the top in his weight group in Idaho and was more than prepared to take on the challenges ahead. At the highly competitive Reno Tournament of Champions, he beat several talented wrestlers from the western region and reached the championship finals, adding another All-American honor to this credit. For the remainder of the season, Hudson fared well in all his competitions and entered the post season rated among the favorites, but fell short of winning his much desired second state title. This did not set well with Hudson.  

 

The desire to achieve a goal is occasionally met with a setback or failure of some type. It’s part of the long and arduous process of achieving. Regardless, in loss one has to pick up the pieces, learn from it, and move forward. I recall immediately after Hudson’s state final’s loss, he wasted no time reflecting as he ran off the mat and for the next ten to fifteen minutes performed sprints up and down an adjacent hallway near the wrestling floor until it was time to receive his medal. In essence, it was a defining moment and turning point in his young mat career, but more importantly a testament to his desire to be the best he can be, regardless of outcomes.

 

Immediately after high school state, Hudson once again put his nose to the grindstone and went to work preparing for the Freestyle and Greco summer circuit. At the Idaho Freestyle and Greco State Championships, he left no doubt that he was focused on achieving his next series of goals and won both styles in championship format. He then traveled with Team Idaho to the USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa, where he won a hard fought national title and anchored the Gem State to their third national team title since 2020. 


According to Chris Owens, the Director of Operations for Idaho USA Wrestling, It’s been exciting to watch Hudson develop as a wrestler by learning to follow his own path and grow his love for wrestling. I think it's part of the process of truly falling in love with our sport and learning how doing the process of wrestling better than others will always have a positive effect on the mat and in life! It’s been a pleasure coaching and mentoring him for many reasons, but at the top of the list would be his eagerness and motivation to get better and improve.” 

At the conclusion of the summer circuit, Hudson only had a brief period to reflect on his past accomplishments, setbacks, and reevaluate his new goals moving forward. Among them was to wrap up his senior season with an additional state title and prepare for the next level of collegiate wrestling. 

Prior to the 2023-’24 season, Hudson competed at the Preseason Folkstyle Nationals and came home with another national title and All-American honor. He then dominated his competition at the Rollie Lane Invitational, earned another All-American honor at Reno TOC, and at the post season state qualifier brought home a third District title. At this point, Hudson was ranked among the top tier in the nation for his weight group and entered the 2024 Idaho State Championships ranked #1 and laser focused on finishing on a solid note. In short order, he pinned his way into the championship finals and in the end closed his prep career in commanding fashion by registering a technical fall (18-3) to secure his much desired second state title as well as anchoring Meridian High School to its historical 8th 5A state title since the first in 1983 under legendary coach Bruce Burnett.

From the start of his high school career until now, Hudson has always pressed forward, even in the midst of struggles or setbacks. Throughout his journey, he has set a precedence and training tempo for all to follow, but more importantly, everything he has achieved to this point has been a culmination of his hard work, sacrifice, love of wrestling, and commitment to excellence. According to Meridian Head Coach Brad Muri, “coaching Hudson has been an absolute joy! He is a great leader, and his passion for the sport of wrestling is on full display daily when he enters the wrestling room and gets to work. He is a true student of the sport and never compromised his training, always willing to pursue tough competition and workouts.”

Equally as impressive to his long list of wrestling accolades, Hudson is an exceptional student in the classroom and active member of his community. For instance, he presently maintains a 3.91 GPA (cumulative) and is a member of the Honors Society. Additionally, Hudson has had leadership roles within his Church Youth Groups, participated in the 4-H Club showing animals (Goats), and held the position of 4-H President. Furthermore, Hudson earned the distinguished honor of Eagle Scout (both his father and brother earned Eagle Scout, too) and for recreation enjoys photography and collecting various types of wrestling shoes, which he presently has approximately 45 different pairs (Note – Hudson did not wear the same pair more than once this past season).  

More recently, Hudson committed to attend Utah Valley University (UVU) and compete for newly hired Head Coach Adam Hall, an accomplished Idaho wrestler himself for Bonners Ferry High School back in 2006 and Boise State University. According to Chris Owens, “I think he has found a great home with Adam and UVU to continue to chase his goals on the mat and in the classroom … It usually works pretty well when you surround yourself with others that have similar goals, aspirations and dreams - not because it's comfortable, but because you have learned to enjoy doing the hard things and want to be around others that have the same passion.”

“My goal is to bring back a national title to Utah Valley! I want to help build this program into something special.”

 

  • Hudson Rogers

 

The question arises now and then about whether entering the wrestling circle at an early age equates to long term success or not. This subject is extremely difficult to measure for the simple reason that there is an array of factors to consider, such as genetic, lifestyle choices, coaching, skill teaching, and training opportunity to name a few. Regardless, the path towards long term athletic development is a complex trait and in addition to the prescribed factors listed above, it also requires an internal resolve or “passion” by each individual to remain focused on the objective as well as sustain during the long and arduous process of high-level development. From what I have observed, it’s not difficult to surmise where Hudson stands within this dynamic.

As of this writing, Hudson recently won both styles at the Junior Western Regionals in Utah, registering a total of 5 technical falls, 1 pin, and 2 decisions in the process. Prior to the regionals, Hudson also won back-to-back Junior Idaho State titles in Freestyle/Greco, respectively, and added another USAW Folkstyle National title to his resume in April, leading Team Idaho to another dominant performance at these championships. 

At this moment, Hudson remains on course to be the best he can be and since his early entry into the wrestling circle has proven to possess the passion (internal resolve) and will to meet each and every challenge that lie ahead. His future at UVU has not been written, but what is etched in stone is his resolve and ability to embrace the process, adapt to his environment, and conquer each and every challenge that comes his way. Reaching the pinnacle of Division I wrestling will be among his most difficult and challenging tests thus far, but I am confident that he will face this challenge head on. I have enjoyed watching Hudson compete for Meridian and Team Idaho for the last several years and look forward to his future at UVU and beyond. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!!

More recently, I had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A interview with Hudson and his family. We discussed his journey on the mat, 4-H, Scouts, family, hobbies, and his future at Utah Valley University. Enjoy!! 

 

Q&A INTERVIEW W/HUDSON ROGERS

 

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING?

ROGERS – My Dad got me started at a super young age. I've been running around the mat since I was 3 years old. MY parents would say I was 5 so I could compete as a 3 year old. My first wrestling club was the Gooding Cobras. I've been at it for a minute!

 

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN THE SPORT?

ROGERS – I would say my biggest influencer in this sport is hard because I've had so many, but my coach, Kelly Bartlett, is a huge reason why I got so good at a young age and fell in love with wrestling and competing … It was everything he taught me at such a young age.

 

HAVING HAD SOME GREAT SUCCESS AT THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER, DESCRIBE YOUR TRAINING ROUTINE AND YOUR OUTLOOK IN THE YEARS AHEAD.

ROGERS – As early as 7 years old when I lived in Gooding, we would drive to Boise 2-3 times a week for Bullcatcher practice where I was in the room with a special group of Idaho wrestlers that for a good portion of my childhood were coached by Coach Kelly Bartlett. However, when DTA in Wendell got going, I began to attend there more often … It was only 10 mins from our home in Gooding. From that point forward, I picked up my training to 7-9 times a week. I trained a lot with coach Delchev and we would do three morning workouts a week at 6:00 am and 6 wrestling workouts Monday-Saturday. I have been training so hard my whole life and love it … I've been through 3 amazing coaches and since the 8th grade I've truly bought into coach Owens’ plan and just kept training and developing as a wrestler.

 

DESCRIBE YOUR ACADEMIC AND WRESTLING EXPERIENCE AT MERIDIAN HIGH SCHOOL.

ROGERS – My ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN SUPER GOOD. I LOVE SCHOOL AT MERIDIAN. It’s definitely a lot bigger than Gooding … HAHA. My teachers at Meridian have been awesome and I feel like I have excelled and done well. My wrestling experience is everything I expected and more. The culture here at Meridian High School is something special. I love being a part of a team that chases it and supports me through the way I chase it. No matter what, my coaches got my back through it all. The coaching staff at Meridian is so special and I'm so grateful my family gave me the opportunity to wrestle and go to school here. The Muri bro’s are some of the best dudes I have ever met and probably ever will meet. They have done so much for me and made Meridian feel like home and helped me chase and reach my goals. To my teammates, my friends are awesome and I love them all so much.

 

SINCE YOUR EARLY BEGINNINGS ON THE MAT, HOW MANY STATES HAVE YOU COMPETED IN?

ROGERS I think I have wrestled in 26-28 states. A little shoutout to Vince Martino for everything he has done for me. He took me to at least 70% of my regional and national competitions. Without him I wouldn't be where I'm at today in my wrestling career.

 

IS THERE AN OLYMPIAN, COLLEGIATE LEVEL WRESTLER, COACH OR SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF THE SPORT OF WRESTLING THAT YOU WANT TO ASPIRE TO BE SOMEDAY?

ROGERS – DAVID TAYLOR. That man is my role model in so many ways…the way he chases the wrestling dream, but also how amazing of a father he is and just such a good dude. I love that guy! I have had the opportunity to go train at his club lots of times and personally met him…he is a special dude. As far as I can remember, he has been my favorite wrestler and will be for my whole life. watching him be so dominant in college and then to the senior level.

 

WHAT LIFE LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED IN WRESTLING THAT APPLIES IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE?

ROGERS – I would say biggest thing is hard work and when you put your mind to something and do the little things right and chase it, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. I would say I've learned how to talk to anyone and meet new people because I've met so many people throughout wrestling that their relationships will last a lifetime, but truly how to dig deep to find another gear and go get it done.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG WRESTLER WANTING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE SPORT OF WRESTLING OR IN LIFE?

ROGERS – Fall in love with wrestling and love doing it. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t want to go and compete. Fall in love with the battle and the sport and truly enjoy it because it goes by way too fast.

 

WHAT OTHER GOALS DO YOU HAVE IN LIFE?

ROGERS – Get married and to be a great husband and father to my amazing wife and kids. I can’t wait for that time of my life. Graduate college with a finance business degree and own a bunch of business one day and make lots of money. I want to be involved in wrestling as much as possible. I can never get enough…I don’t know whether that means coaching young kids, high school, or college. I will never not have wrestling in my life.

 

DO YOU HAVE A SAYING, MOTTO OR PHILOSOPHY THAT YOU LIVE BY?

ROGERS – I would say one thing my mom says to me that I live by is “GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE.” I feel that if I know I’m doing the right things on and off the mat when I put my foot on the line, I feel like I'm ready to go…I can set everything else on the side. Also, I have a saying for the things I don't want to do because there's a million things I'm not going to want to do. For example, “IF YOU FAKE IT, YOU MAKE IT” because sometimes you just got to get through stuff.

 

ONCE YOU ARE DONE COMPETING, DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO STAY INVOLVED WITH WRESTLING?

ROGERS – For sure, coaching of some sort. Wrestling is a huge part of who I am and I never don’t want to have it in my life.

 

OUTSIDE THE SPORT OF WRESTLING, WHAT OTHER HOBBIES, SPORTS, AND FAMILY FUNCTIONS DO YOU ENJOY MOST?

ROGERS – I love boating with the fam and friends … Love hanging with my friends no matter what we're doing. I love playing pickleball, love playing basketball with the boys and spike ball … Just anything that's fun to be honest.

 

HUDSON’S ACADEMIC AND ATHLETIC PROFILE

 

 

SCHOOL: Meridian H.S. (5A)

WRESTLING CLUB: Fighting Squirrels WC/Best on Best

GRADE: 12 (Class of 2024)

WEIGHT: 182

HIGH SCHOOL RECORD: 149-12

NATIONAL RANKING: #25 (SBLive Sports)/#21 (Wrestling USA)

COLLEGE COMMIT: Utah Valley University (Div. I)

 

ACADEMIC ACCOLADES:

  • 3.91 GPA(Cumulative)
  • Honors Society

 

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:

  • Eagle Scout – The Boy Scouts of America
  • Church Youth Group – Leadership Roles
  • 4-H Club President (Showed animals for 8 years)

 

WRESTLING ACCOLADES:

  • USAW Junior Western Regional Greco Champion, ’24
  • USAW Junior Western Regional Freestyle Champion, ’24
  • 2x USAW Junior Folkstyle National Champion (2x ALL-AMERICAN), ’23, ‘24
  • Idaho 5A State Champion, ‘24
  • IHSAA 5A District III Champion, ’23, ‘24
  • 2x Rollie Lane Invitational Champion, ’21, ‘24
  • Preseason Folkstyle National Champion (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘23
  • 3x Idaho State Junior Freestyle Champion, 2021, ’23, ’24
  • 2x Idaho State Junior Greco Champion, 2023, ‘24
  • Idaho 5A State Championships – 2nd Place, ‘23
  • US Fargo 16U Greco Nationals – 4th Place (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘22
  • US Fargo 16U Freestyle Nationals – 6th Place (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘22
  • National H.S. Recruiting Showcase – 2nd Place (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘22
  • USA 16U Western States Championships Freestyle Champion, ‘22
  • USA 16U Western States Greco Championships – 3rd Place, ‘22
  • US Fargo 16U Greco Nationals – 8th Place (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘21   
  • Idaho Freestyle State Champion (16U), ‘21
  • Idaho Greco State Championships – 2nd Place (16U), ‘21 
  • USAW 16U Folkstyle National Championships – 4th Place (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘21 
  • USAW HS National Recruiting Showcase 16U Champion (ALL-AMERICAN), ‘21 
  • Idaho 3A State Champion, ‘21
  • IHSAA 3A District IV Champion, ‘21  




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