Alex Lloyd will be looking to win his third JJ Classic title (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)
The seventh annual InterMat JJ Classic is set for Saturday at the UCR Regional Sports Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Wrestlers from 10 different states are represented in this year's field.
Four returning JJ Classic champions, Israel Navarro (Willmar, Minn.), Jaden Van Maanen (La Crosse Central, Wis.), Alex Lloyd (Shakopee, Minn.) and Tyler Buesgens (Scott West, Minn.), will be looking to repeat in 2016.
Lloyd, the nation's 30th-ranked junior, will be after his third straight JJ Classic as he looks to join the three-time champions club that includes Justin Portillo (Clarion-Goldfield, Iowa) and Bobby Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn.).
Mark Hall won five JJ Classic titles
Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), the nation's No. 1 recruit in 2016, stands alone as a five-time JJ Classic champion, and the only wrestler to win more than three JJ Classic titles.
Wrestling begins on Saturday at 9 a.m. CT. Fans can follow the results on Trackwrestling and watch the matches -- live and archived -- on Trackcast.
Registration remains open until weigh-ins conclude on Friday night. For more information on the JJ Classic, visit the event website.
Note: The names listed in the preview are subject to change. The field will not be finalized until weigh-ins close on Friday night.
Paxton Creese was a double All-American in Fargo (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)
100: This weight class includes several wrestlers with strong youth wrestling credentials, but there are few with varsity wrestling experience. One wrestler that has been successful at the high school level is Will Magaard (KMS, Minn.), who won 30 matches as an eighth-grader and qualified for the state tournament. Paxton Creese (Shakopee, Minn.) earned double All-American honors in Fargo this past summer, placing third in Greco-Roman and seventh in freestyle. He was a Minnesota/USA Triple Crown winner this year as a Cadet, capturing state titles in all three styles. Matthew Bianchi (Two Rivers, Wis.) was a Schoolboy Nationals Greco-Roman champion this year. Adam Allard (West Sioux, Iowa) is a past Tulsa Nationals champion who has won or placed in several national events. Another wrestler who could figure into the mix in this weight class is Eli Fischer (Milbank, S.D.), a multiple-time state champion at the youth level.
Cian Fischer was a state third-place finisher last season
106: Returning state placewinners Cian Fischer (Weyauwega-Fremont, Wis.) and Caleb Clobes (LCWM, Minn.) headline the group of challengers at 106 pounds. Fischer compiled a 43-2 record last season and placed third in Wisconsin's state tournament. Clobes was a state fourth-place finisher, going 25-6. Reid Ballantyne (Stillwater, Minn.) was a Ninth Grade League state champion, and placed in the top three in all three styles this year at Schoolboy Nationals. Joseph Thompson (Maple Grove, Minn.) was a state qualifier as an eighth-grader and then captured a MN/USA state title in folkstyle in the spring. Cody Holmes (Two Rivers, Wis.), a returning JJ Classic placewinner, was a runner-up in the Junior National folkstyle competition, and placed sixth in the Junior National Greco-Roman competition in Fargo. Maxwell Crowe, a junior, was a Cadet freestyle All-American in 2015 and has placed numerous times in national tournaments. He was a state champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman this year. Dylan Anderson (Apple Valley, Minn.), Charlie Stuhl (Ellsworth, Wis.), Jared Spohn (Sauk Rapids-Rice) and Andrew Sanders (Minnetonka, Minn.) bring strong wrestling resumes into the tournament.
Drew Bennett battles Israel Navarro in the finals of the 2015 InterMat JJ Classic (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
113: Drew Bennett (Fort Dodge, Iowa) will look to claim his first JJ Classic title after finishing runner-up a year ago. Bennett was a state third-place finisher last season, with his only loss coming to the state champion in the quarterfinals. Just over a month ago Bennett took Dylan D'Emilio, a Fargo finalist and past Cadet World Team member, to overtime before losing at IAwrestle's Night of Conflict in Iowa City. State champion Charlie Pickell (Mankato West, Minn.) is a top contender in this weight class after finishing third at the JJ Classic a year ago. Last fall he reached the semifinals of the JJ Classic at 106 pounds before losing narrowly to Bennett, 7-6. He went on to win a state championship as an eighth-grader. Wisconsin has strong contenders in this weight class in Joey Bianchi (Two Rivers), Keegan O'Toole (Arrowhead) and Jon Bailey (Sparta). Bianachi was a state runner-up this past season. Bailey (Sparta, Wis.) is coming off a state fourth-place finish. O'Toole earned All-American honors in both the Cadet folkstyle and Cadet freestyle competitions this year. South Dakota state placewinners Lucus Anglin (Vermillion) and Colby Mennis (Madison) will be looking for strong finishes in this weight class.
Hunter Burnett compiled a 41-0 record en route to winning a state title (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)
120: This weight class is loaded with talent and includes two state champions, a returning JJ Classic champion, two state runner-ups and one of the nation's top junior high wrestlers. Undefeated state champion Hunter Burnett (Pipestone, Minn.) will look for his first JJ Classic title after placing sixth in the event two years ago. Last season Burnett capped a 41-0 sophomore season with a state championship at 113 pounds in Minnesota's Class A division. In the state semifinals he took out returning state champion Ethan Cota (Kenyon-Wanamingo), then in the state finals dominated previously unbeaten Jace Geving (Deer River) 15-3. Israel Navarro (Willmar, Minn.), a JJ Classic champion last year at 106 pounds, is up two weight classes from last year. He was a state third-place finisher last year, with his lone loss coming to state champion Patrick McKee (St. Michael-Albertville, Minn.). Navarro finished the season ranked nationally by InterMat. Ryan Ripplinger (Bismarck, N.D.) is a multiple-time state finalist, winning a state title this past season. He placed fourth in the Cadet National Greco-Roman competition this past summer in Fargo. One of Indiana's top lightweight wrestlers, Ty Mills (Brownsburg), poses a strong threat in this weight class. He was a state runner-up in 2015, and last season placed third. Dominic Dentino (Arrowhead, Wis.) was a state runner-up last season. Eighth-grader Ryan Franco (Wrestling Prep, Calif.) is one of the rising wrestling stars in the United States. He is ranked No. 5 among all junior high wrestlers in the United States, and last weekend at the Super 32 Challenge had a strong showing, knocking off multiple state placewinners. Franco has won titles at the Reno Worlds in each of the last three years. This year he rolled to the title at 110 pounds in the 12 and under division with four pins and a major decision in his five matches. He was a California state freestyle champion this year. Zach Smith (Prior Lake, Minn.) is a multiple-time state placewinner. Other state placewinners in this weight class include Boyd Mumbuwa (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Colby Njos (Anoka, Minn.).
Garrett Vos celebrates after winning a state championship (Photo/Mary Christen, The Guillotine)
126: State champion Garrett Vos (Waconia, Minn.) will be looking to add a JJ Classic title his growing wrestling resume. Vos placed third at the JJ Classic in each of the last two years. He compiled a 37-2 record last season en route to winning a state championship at 113 pounds. Aaron Bahr (West Salem, Wis.) is coming off a strong freshman season in which he placed fourth at the Bi-State Classic and fifth at the state tournament. Tyler Shackle (Scott West, Minn.), Caleb Ziebell (Slinger, Wis.) and Brady Gross (Apple Valley, Minn.) are all returning JJ Classic placewinners that are expected to make noise in this weight class. Shackle was a Minnesota Christmas Tournament placewinner, and finished fifth in both styles at Northern Plains. Ziebell compiled a 48-6 record last season en route to placing fifth in the state tournament. Gross was a placewinner at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and Cheesehead Invitational. Another wrestler to watch in this weight class is Cade Lundeen (Thief River Falls, Minn.), a two-time state qualifier entering his sophomore season.
Christopher Deloza rides Nick Suriano at the Doc Buchanan Invitational (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
132: Christopher Deloza (Wrestling Prep, Calif.) has been in the Junior National folkstyle finals in each of the last two years. He placed fifth in California's one-class state tournament in 2015, and has also placed multiple times at the Doc Buchanan Invitational. Two-time state champion Sam Stuhl (Ellsworth, Wis.) is expected to challenge for the title. As a freshman, Stuhl attended Prescott High School and became his school's first state champion in wrestling since Willy Holst won back-to-back championships in 2001-02. Last season he transferred to Ellsworth High School and won his second straight state title with a 5-0 shutout victory in the finals at 126 pounds. He was a third-place finisher at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament, and also placed fourth at the Bi-State Classic. Sophomore Sebas Swiggum (Apple Valley, Minn.) was a Cadet National folkstyle champion this past spring, just over a month after placing third in the state tournament as a freshman. Alex Kern (St. Cloud Tech, Minn.) was a state fourth-place finisher, losing to Swiggum for third. Creighton Klinkhammer (Brandon Valley, S.D.) was a state runner-up last season at 113 pounds and could figure into the mix.
Jaden Van Maanen was dominant en route to winning a JJ Classic title in 2015 (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
138: North Dakota State commit Jaden Van Maanen (La Crosse Central, Wis.) is returning to the InterMat JJ Classic after winning a title in the event last year at 132 pounds, outscoring his opposition 29-1. Van Maanen, one of the nation's top 100 recruits, compiled a 46-1 record last season as a junior en route to winning a state championship at 132 pounds. It was his third state medal after finishing runner-up as a sophomore and third as a freshman. Nate Larson (Apple Valley, Minn.), a Minnesota Christmas Tournament champion and state fourth-place finisher, should contend for the championship in this weight class. Clay Carlson (Willmar, Minn.), Cole Skelton (Ellsworth, Wis.) and Bailey Mennis (Madison, S.D.) have all been state placewinners. Patrick Ryan (New Trier, Ill.) placed third at the JJ Classic last year and will be looking to improve on that finish, as will Anthony Meister (Elk River, Minn.), who placed fifth. Another wrestler to watch is Gavin Ignaszewski (Albert Lea, Minn.), who placed at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and Rumble on the Red.
Alex Lloyd compiled a 42-1 record last season and won a state championship (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
145: Alex Lloyd (Shakopee, Minn.) will be in search of his third straight JJ Classic title. Last year Lloyd defeated Kanen Storr of Michigan (now at Iowa State) in the JJ Classic finals to take the title at 138 pounds. His previous JJ Classic title came at 126 pounds. This past season Lloyd compiled a 42-1 record en route to winning a state championship at 145 pounds as a sophomore. In the spring he claimed a Junior National folkstyle title at 145 pounds. In Fargo, Lloyd earned double All-American honors, placing sixth in Greco-Roman and seventh in freestyle. Lloyd is ranked No. 30 among all high school junior wrestlers in the United States. Iowa has a strong entrant in this weight class with Tanner Abbas (Clarion-Goldfield-Dows), a two-time state placewinner. Wisconsin has some challengers in this weight class with Jaden Winchel (Sparta) and Joshua Otto (Arrowhead Union). Winchel was an undefeated (49-0) state champion in 2015 as a sophomore and placed third in the state tournament as a freshman. Otto, who trains at the Askren Wrestling Academy, earned All-American honors in the Cadet National folkstyle competition. Other potential contenders include Gunner Charbonneau (Prior Lake, Minn.), Brody Nielsen (Albert Lea, Minn.) and Brock Parker (Waukee, Iowa).
Devin Barr wrestling Minnesota's Alex Lloyd in Fargo (Photo/David Peterson, Minnesota/USA Wrestling)
152: Two-time state champion Devin Bahr (West Salem, Wis.) is returning to the JJ Classic after finishing runner-up last year. Bahr, a University of Wisconsin commit, is coming off a junior season in which he compiled a perfect 50-0 record en route to winning his second state championship. He has compiled a career record of 123-1 in three years of high school wrestling. His wrestling resume is littered with titles and medals in national age group events. Among Bahr's most notable wrestling achievements: Cadet National folkstyle champion, Cadet National Greco-Roman runner-up, Cadet National freestyle All-American, Cadet World Team member and Preseason Nationals champion. Minnesota's top contenders in this weight class include Zach Glazier (Albert Lea), Austin Braun (Woodbury) and Dalton Wagner (Jackson Country Central). Glazier is a multiple-time state placewinner, finishing third in 2015 and fourth in 2016. Braun is a four-time state qualifier, and finished fourth in the state tournament in 2015. Wagner was a third-place finisher at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament last season, and was fourth at the Rumble on the Red. Steidler is a multiple-time state placewinner. North Dakota state placewinners Devin Steidler (Bismarck) and Parker Wahl (Bismarck) are entered in this weight class. Also keep an eye on Minnesota state qualifiers Chase Logelin (New Prague) and Reece Sandberg (Milaca).
Hayden Krein claimed a state championship last season
160: This weight class is headlined by Hayden Krein (Sparta), a state champion, multiple-time state medalist and Preseason Nationals runner-up. Krein placed sixth at the JJ Classic a year ago. Zach Lee (Kaukauna, Wis.) was a state fourth-place finisher last season, and also placed at Minnesota Christmas Tournament and Cheeshead Invitational. Also looking to turn in a strong performance in this weight class is Joshua Bernier (Thief River Falls, Minn.), a three-time state qualifier and Big Bear champion.
170: Bryson Alsteen (Kaukauna, Wis.), a returning JJ Classic placewinner, has been a Cadet All-American in Fargo the past two summers. Evan Lawrence (Mahtomedi), Jake Leicht (Bloomington Kennedy) and Seth Anderson (Lakeville North) are all solid Minnesota wrestlers capable of high finishes in this weight class.
Tyler Buesgens was a Cadet All-American in both folkstyle and freestyle (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)
182: Two of Minnesota's top upperweight wrestlers, Tyler Buesgens (Scott West) and Caden Steffen (Zumbrota-Mazeppa), could be on a collision course to meet in the finals. The two met in Fargo this past summer, with Buesgens coming out on top by way of fall. Buesgens was a Cadet All-American this year in both folkstyle and freestyle, and placed fourth in the state tournament as a sophomore. Steffen was a Fargo finalist this past summer, finishing runner-up in the Cadet Greco-Roman competition. After winning a Preseason Nationals title last fall, Steffen put together a strong sophomore season, going undefeated at The Clash before becoming a state runner-up to Oklahoma State signee Keegan Moore at 170 pounds.Connor Williams (La Crosse Central, Wis.), a Northern Plains double finalist and Bi-State finalist, will be looking to improve upon his fourth-place finish in last year's JJ Classic. Williams was a state fifth-place finisher, and has qualified for the state tournament three times. State qualifiers Noah Keith (Bloomington Kennedy, Minn.), Alex Lindstrom (Eastview) and Beau Yineman (Neenah, Wis.) will look to challenge.
Griffin Thorn is one of the top contenders at 195 pounds (Photo/David Peterson, Minnesota/USA Wrestling)
195: State qualifier Griffin Thorn (Owatonna, Minn.) returns to the JJ Classic after finishing fourth in the same weight class a year ago. James Huntley (Stillwater Area, Minn.) has been a state qualifier. Ben Lathrop (Anoka, Minn.) was a Northern Plains double champion in 2015. Ezayah Oropeza (Rosemount, Minn.) as a Minnesota Ninth Grade League state runner-up this past season. Abdulla Shigidy (Burnsville, Minn.), a section placewinner, could surprise.
Justin Mohlin works for a turn in Fargo (Photo/David Peterson, Minnesota/USA Wrestling)
220: This weight class includes a couple state qualifiers in Alchan Robbs (Bloomington Kennedy, Minn.) and Justin Mohlin (Centennial, Minn.), a JJ Classic fourth-place finisher last year. Robbs qualified at 220 pounds last season, while Mohlin was down two weight classes at 182 pounds.
Spencer Trenary claimed a Cadet National Greco-Roman title in Fargo (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)
285: Cadet National Greco-Roman champion Spencer Trenary (Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Iowa) enters as the favorite. Trenary was a top-three finisher in all three styles at Cadet Nationals this year. He was a runner-up in the Cadet National folkstyle competition in April, and then earned double All-American honors in Fargo, claiming the Greco-Roman title and finishing third in freestyle. Trenary was a state placewinner as a freshman heavyweight in Iowa's Class 2A. Anthony Putz (St. Peter, Minn.) is a talented big man who qualified for the state tournament as a freshman in 2015, and then suffered an injury last season. Trey Chatman (Hayfield, Minn.) won nearly 30 matches last season, placing fourth in his section.