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30 | July 5, 2019 | The highland park landmark sports

hplandmark.com

Volpentesta working hard at North Dakota State

Nick Frazier, Sports Editor

When he was a freshman

at Highland Park High

School, Giancarlo Volpentesta’s

brother, Cristian,

was in the midst of being

recruited by Division

I schools. Cristian would

visit several schools on official

visits, and sometimes

Giancarlo got to tag along.

Those early trips to different

campuses helped

Giancarlo figure out what

he wanted to do after high

school.

“Seeing the atmosphere,

the high intensity, the

fast pace, and then seeing

how the coaches are

and all of the facilites and

everything,” Volpentesta

said. “Once seeing that at

a younger age, I kind of

realized that that’s what I

wanted to do. My brother

was a big influence on

that.”

That’s why Volpentesta,

all six feet, 175 pounds of

him, is currently at North

Dakota State University as

a preferred walk-on. The

wide receiver arrived on

campus on June 8 and has

been working hard lifting

and running.

“I’m loving it so far,

it’s been a great experience,”

Volpentesta said.

“I’ve only been here two

and a half weeks but I can

already tell that I’ll have a

lot of fun.”

Volpentesta comes from

a football family. His dad,

Anthony, played football

at Highland Park and in junior

college. Cristian was

an All-Central Suburban

League first team member

as a junior and senior with

the Giants.

On top of that, Giancarlo

has a little brother,

Giovanni, and an uncle,

Danny, that will be juniors

with the Highland Park

football team this fall.

Needless to say, Giancarlo

was always active growing

up with his family.

“Definitely as little

kids, we had a football in

our hands since we were

little,” Volpentesta said.

“That tradition got passed

on.”

As a wide receiver with

the Giants in his senior

year, Volpentesta totaled

32 catches for 448 yards

and four touchdowns. He

earned Central Suburban

League All-Conference

honors and made 22nd

Century Media’s Football

Team 22 Second Team.

Before the season even

ended, however, Volpentesta

looked to make

his commitment. Some

schools weren’t great at

communicating and being

transparent with him,

but North Dakota State

was always the exception.

NDSU sent recrutiers to

Highland Park to meet

with Volpentesta, which

he enjoyed.

“North Dakota State

was that one school who

was always straight up

with me, they always told

the truth and they were

very good at communicating

about where I am in

the process,” Volpentesta

said. “I already had some

prior knowledge of North

Dakota State because of

my brother, he was getting

recruited by North Dakota

State in high school. That

kind of gave me a little

more background on them

also.”

Volpentesta ended up

visiting NDSU’s campus

four different times, a sure

sign that him and the Bison

were a match.

“The campus is amazing,”

Volpentesta said.

“For football life everything

is nice and close, the

dining center is nice and

close, it’s very convenient.

The facilites are top of the

line, amazing facilites. The

coaching staff is very welcoming,

they’re very cool

people. Everyone’s very

nice with you and everything,

you go to a restaurant

or something and everyone

is super nice.”

Add in the fact that

North Dakota State has

won seven NCAA FCS national

championships this

decade, and it became an

easy choice.

“Obviously, North Dakota

State is a very winning

program, you can

see all the national championships

they’ve won,

that was a very big selling

point,” Volpentesta said.

“Just everything combined,

it was a no-brainer

decision.”

Volpentesta originally

was going to walk on as

a safety — he had seven

interceptions at Highland

Park last season — but has

since switched to a receiver.

Not that Volpentesta

minds; he’s just happy to

be playing the game he

loves in college.

Without guidance from

David Lindquist, Volpentesta’s

high school coach

who played at the University

of Illinois, Urbana-

Champaign, Volpentesta

might not have made it to

North Dakota.

“He knew what the next

level should be like and

how to train me to get to

that level,” Volpentesta

said. “He was really good

at getting me practice and

putting us through the necessary

amount of work to

get to this level. I knew

that college football was

a goal of mine, and he

Highland Park alumnus Giancarlo Volpentesta celebrates after scoring a touchdown

in 2018. 22nd Century Media File Photo

Volpentesta poses in his North Dakota State jersey during one of his visits. Photo

submitted

was going to push me to

the limits and push me to

where I need to be.

“With recruiting he was

pretty good at communicating

with me, if a coach

wanted to talk or a coach

was coming in, he would

always tell me what he

said. He was a pretty good

person that helped me get

to the next level.”

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