Yet the three seniors mapped a similar trail to this weekend's NCAA Division I Championships in downtown St. Louis. The Cougars' talented trio awaits the three-day national mat finals that start Thursday and conclude Saturday at Scottrade Center. This is the eighth time the Championships have been held in St. Louis since 2000.
"It's the first time that we have had three wrestlers competing in the NCAA finals since I've been here," fourth-year SIUE coach Jeremy Spates said. "We're very excited they are going and it's awesome to have three guys there."
He added, "It's going to be fun and St. Louis is definitely a home venue for us."
Rodriguez, from Lansing, Michigan, has compiled a 21-6 record at 125 pounds. He has logged six wins by falls, three by technical falls and six by major decisions. Tindle, a resident of Troy, Illinois, sports a 19-10 record at 197, including four victories by major decisions. Residori, out of Shorewood, Illinois, owns a 19-11 mark at 174 and has five wins by major decisions.
"All three of them bring different things to the competition," Spates said.
It's the initial NCAA finals appearance for Residori, champion at the recent Southern Conference Championships in Charleston, South Carolina.
Tindle, also a SoCon champ, is returning to the NCAA finals after qualifying two years ago, when the championships last were held in St. Louis.
And Rodriguez, a two-time SoCon winner, is primed for his second successive berth in the NCAA event. He is riding a nine-match win streak and was selected the SoCon Wrestler of the Month for February.
"I know what to expect this year, and I sort of didn't last year" said Rodriguez, seeded No. 14 and regarded as the Cougars' top threat. "I'm going in with a positive mindset and a lot of confidence. I feel like I'm wrestling my best right now."
He's pitted against Vito Pasone (16-7) of Appalachian State in his opening bout.
"My plan is to win the national title, and I totally believe in doing it," Rodriguez said. "I'm not wrestling for myself but for the program."
Spates likes Rodriguez' approach to the competition.
"He works extremely hard and we're excited for what Freddie can do," Spates said. "He has a good attitude, he's healthy and he's a very quick and explosive wrestler."
That explosiveness could enable Rodriguez to go out with a bang this weekend.
"I've had a lot of adversity growing up and wrestling is my escape," said Rodriguez, a psychology major interested in a coaching career after graduation. "It means everything to me."
Tindle also knows the way to Scottrade Center and the mat finals. He wrestled in them as a sophomore and learned plenty.
"It was really a great experience for me," said Tindle, who plans to go to medical school after graduation. He's pitted against 22-5 Kevin Beazley, of Old Dominion in his NCAA opener Thursday. Beazley is seeded 10th.
Tindle added, "It will be a little more business-like for me this time. I'm more of a cerebral wrestler and I've had a little problem with being too tentative at times, but I'm going all-out this week. I want to go as far as I can go."
There's ample incentive. Since Tindle is from the local area, he should have a host of local fans cheering for him.
"I think it's cool to be wrestling this close to home," he said. "It will be great to have friends and family there."
Spates noted, "Jake is a very smart kid and he has a lot of different ways to win. He can scramble and he has good explosive shots to use. He's really tough on the mats."
So is Residori, pitted against 12-11 Matt Reed of Oklahoma in his initial match. Residori, pursuing a degree in business administration, intends to be all business in the NCAA finals.
"It means a lot to me to make it to the NCAA Championships because I have been close every single year," he said. "I finally got it so I'm going to wrestle as hard as I can and see what happens."
Residori pointed out, "I don't want to be complacent this week. I want to be at my best because I want to be an All-American. For the most part, this has been my best year overall. I've concentrated more on the mental part of the sport and that has calmed my nerves and given me a better focus."
Spates said Residori's dedication to the sport has paid off with his reward of participating in the NCAA Championships.
"Jake has won at the college level for a long time and he has more than 100 wins at SIUE," Spates said.
"Every year, he was right there to go to the NCAA finals, so I know what it means for him to make it this year. He's really a smart wrestler and a hard worker. This year, he has figured out the mental side of it."