ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The fourth edition of the InterMat JJ Classic saw wrestlers from near and far convene in Rochester, Minn., on Sunday. While ten of fifteen weight class champions hailed from the Gopher State, it was one who came from far away who stood out above all others.
PJ Klee was named Outstnading Wrestler of the InterMat JJ Classic (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)PJ Klee, a member of Wrestling Prep in California, dominated his way through the 132-pound weight class and was named Outstanding Wrestler. In four matches before the final, Klee earned two wins by fall, which sandwiched a pair of technical fall victories. This included a 21-4 victory over state qualifier Blake Meyer (Sumner-Fredericksburg, Iowa) in the quarterfinal, and a fall in 5:04 over state runner-up Nick O'Brien (Wayzata, Minn.). Klee's championship match victory came by 2-0 decision over two-time state placer Chris Walters (Iowa City West, Iowa). Klee racked up 87 points in his five matches. Klee is the nation's No. 50 overall senior.
Three Apple Valley, Minn., wrestlers were among the locals to win titles at the JJ Classic, and each did so in decisive fashion. Dayton Racer -- who is ranked No. 37 in the Class of 2015 -- used a first-period pin, 16-1, and 15-0 technical falls, along with a 6-0 semifinal decision to reach the final at 160 pounds. In that championship match, Racer scored a 14-1 major decision against state runner-up Colten Carlson (Willmar, Minn.).
Mark Hall, ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2016, won the 170-pound weight class with two falls, a 7-3 semifinal victory over Cadet freestyle All-American Tyler DeMoss (Hononegah, Ill.), and a 10-4 decision over Dan Marquette (Hastings, Minn.) in the final. Hall became the first three-time JJ Classic champion.
Rounding out that trio of wrestlers is Bobby Steveson, the nation's No. 31 ranked Class of 2015 prospect, who dominated the 182-pound weight bracket with two pins, a 19-8 major decision in the semifinal, and a 22-7 technical fall over state third placer Brian Bertram (Byron, Minn.) in the final. Steveson also gave a verbal commitment to the University of Minnesota on Sunday.
Another pair of the local champions is among the top wrestlers in the senior class nationwide, and are both verbal commits to the University of Minnesota. Tommy Thorn (St. Michael-Albertville) -- ranked No. 23 in the Class of 2014 -- won the title at 126 pounds with a pin and two major decisions prior to a 5-0 decision victory over state placer Hunter Genco (Clinton, Iowa) in the semifinal, and a pin at 5:00 against fellow Minnesota state champion Louie Sanders (LCWM) in the final. Nathan Rose (Sibley East), ranked No. 57 in the Class of 2014, won the title at 220 pounds with two pins and a 6-4 decision against state runner-up Christian Dulaney (Benilde-St. Margaret's, Minn.)
Other than the ten titles won by natives of Minnesota, the lone state with multiple title-winning wrestlers was Illinois. The Land of Lincoln had Kyle Akins (Sycamore) and Matthew Rundell (Oak Park River Forest) win titles in the 120 and 145-pound weight classes. Each wrestler beat a Gopher State native to win in the championship match.
Akins upended two-time Cadet Greco-Roman champion Mitchell McKee (St. Michael-Albertville) 4-3 in the final, while Rundell beat two-time state runner-up Mark Voss (St. Michael-Albertville) 5-3 in overtime in his finals match.
The other two wrestlers not from Minnesota to win titles in the JJ Classic were Justin Portillo (Toledo Central Catholic, Ohio) at 100 pounds and Nolan Hellickson (Southeast Polk) at 113. In order to win his title, Hellickson had to beat past Fargo All-Americans in the semifinal and championship final.
State champion in Minnesota high school last year as an eighth-grader, Tucker Sjomeling (Delano) used wins over a pair of Cadet National champions to earn his title in the 106 pound weight class; a 19-4 technical fall over Greco-Roman champion Austin Gomez (Glebard North, Ill.) in the semifinal, followed by a 5-2 victory over Caet Natioanl folkstyle champion Brent Jones (Shakopee, Minn.) in the final.
Rounding out the weight class champions were Ben Brancale (Eden Prairie, Minn.) at 138 pounds, Owen Webster (Shakopee, Minn.) at 152, Nicholas Pegelow (Eastview, Minn.) at 195, and George Weege (Winona, Minn.) at 285.
100: Justin Portillo (Toledo Central Catholic) pinned Ethan Cota (Kenyon-Wanamingo), 3:15
106: Tucker Sjomeling (Delano) dec. Brent Jones (Shakopee), 5-2
113: Nolan Hellickson (Southeast Polk) dec. Travis Piotrowski (Prairie Ridge), 5-0
120: Kyle Akins (Sycamore) dec. Mitchell McKee (St. Michael-Albertville), 4-3
126: Tommy Thorn (St Michael-Albertville) pinned Louie Sanders (LCWM), 5:00
132: PJ Klee (Wrestling Prep) dec. Chris Walters (Iowa City West), 2-0
138: Ben Brancale (Eden Prairie) dec. Miles Patton (Rochester Mayo), 7-3
145: Matthew Rundell (OPRF) dec. Mark Voss (St. Michael-Albertville), 5-3 SV
152: Owen Webster (Shakopee) pinned Trey Blaha (Cedar Rapids Prairie), 3:00
160: Dayton Racer (Apple Valley) maj. dec. Colten Carlson (Willmar), 14-1
170: Mark Hall (Apple Valley) dec. Dan Marquette (Hastings), 10-4
182: Bobby Steveson (Apple Valley) won by tech. fall over Brian Bertram (Byron), 22-7
195: Nicholas Pegelow (Eastview) dec. Austin Benton (Stoughton), 8-7
220: Nathan Rose (Sibley East) dec. Christian DuLaney (Benilde-St Margaret's), 6-4
285: George Weege (Winona) dec. Zachary Kennedy (Pine Island), 8-5