Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Air Force (BIG 12)
Tanner Johnson, of Tuttle High, Oklahoma, will travel west and attend Air Force Academy Prep for one year before embarking on his Division I collegiate career at the Air Force Academy. Johnson has been a two-year starter for the Tuttle Tigers and has placed twice in the Class 4A state tournament, 1st and 2nd respectively. Johnson will either compete in the 165 or 174 weight class for the Falcons.
Coach Teague Moore will be adding further strength to the 125-pound weight class with the addition of New Jersey medal winner Daniel Percelay, of DePaul Catholic. At the moment, American University has four tough underclassmen wrestlers that are battling in the wrestling room to obtain the starting spot at that weight. Percelay is a two-time state qualifier and has won two-consecutive District 4 titles so he will likely join that battle when he arrives on campus.
Army West Point (EIWA)
Prior to attending West Point, Eric Keosseian will spend a year at The United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS), learning how to adjust to military life so he can be successful at West Point. With David Farr and Trevor Smith graduating after this season, Keosseian should do battle with Austin Buttry, Trevor Parker, and Peter Strassfield once he gets to West Point for the right to represent the Knights in the 285-pound weight class. Keosseian, of Howell High, is a two-time New Jersey state qualifier and state medalist.
What a great month the DePaul Catholic wrestling team is having. First, Daniel Percelay, the 113lbs. varsity starter announced his decision to compete for American University, and now Brandon Kui has announced he will be competing for an Ivy League school at Columbia University. Kui is a two-time District IV champion, a two-time Region I champion and won his first New Jersey state title last year while finishing the season with a 39-1 record. Kui will be a great asset for the Lions at 184-pounds.
Lukus Stricker, of Akron Hoban High, Ohio, will be traveling east to compete for Harvard. Stricker had a great 2015-16 season that saw him win the Bill Dies Memorial, place in the Walsh Ironman tournament, and win the bronze medal at the Ohio Division II state championships. During the off-season, Stricker achieved All-American honors at Flo Nationals. Stricker is expected to compete in the 125-pound weight class for the Harvard Crimson.
Lock Haven (EWL)
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Brock Port, of Bellefonte High, has only placed sixth and seventh in the PIAA Class AAA state tournament. Winning an individual state title in Pennsylvania is not as easy a task as it is in some other states. Port is a dangerous individual on the mat that has advanced to the state tournament each year since his freshman season of high school. Port has amassed an overall record of 102-14 and has won three consecutive District VI titles. He will be a great additional to the Bald Eagles at either 149 or 157 pounds.
North Carolina (ACC)
Two-time California state medalist and the 10th ranked wrestler in the nation at 195-pounds, Chasen Blair, of Rancho Bernardo High, will make his college home on the east coast and compete for budding ACC contender North Carolina. Last season, Blair was successful in medaling at the Walsh Ironman tournament. “I chose North Carolina because it was the perfect fit for me. The school academically is very prestigious and in my personal opinion UNC has the best coaching staff in the country with coaches like Coleman Scott, Bryce Hasseman, Neil Erisman, Tony Ramos, and RTC coach Kenny Monday”, said Blair. Blair’s goals are to become a power at the collegiate level with the help of the UNC coaching staff. “My goals at UNC are to be a multiple time academic and athletic All-American with the pinnacle being a National Champion.”
North Dakota State (BIG 12)
Coach Roger Kish recently received great news as the 10th ranked wrestler in the country, Jaden Van Maanen, of LaCrosse Central High, Wisconsin, decided to further his education and compete for the Bison. Van Maanen is a three-time state medalist, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st, as well as a three-time section and region champion that has accumulated an overall record of 149-4. During the month of June, Van Mannanen was successful in placing fourth at the UWW Cadet Freestyle Nationals, where he defeated Nebraska recruit Jason Renteria (13-2), and recent University of Ohio commit Alec Hagan (6-5). Van Maanen is expected to compete in either the 141 or 149 weight class in the near future.
Northern Iowa (MAC)
Head Coach Doug Schwab will be acquiring the services of three-time Iowa state medalist, Triston Lara, of Fort Dodge High, who has placed 4th, 2nd, and 1st, to solidify the 141-pound weight class. Besides being a three-time state medal winner, Lara has also won three District titles and has accumulated an overall prep record of 123-11. Last year during the month of November, Lara was the runner-up at the Intermat J.J. Classic to North Dakota State recruit Jaden Van Maanen.
Northwestern (BIG 10)
Head Coach Matt Storniolo took over a Northwestern program in turmoil but has assembled an impressive staff that includes Andrew Howe, Conor Beebe, and Cody Brewer. That appears to be paying dividends as the Wildcats have received a commitment from one of the best wrestlers in the class of 2018. Michael Beard, of Malvern Prep, PA, is the 13th ranked junior in the country and is second at 182. Beard capped an excellent 2015-16 season, which saw him place third at the Walsh Ironman, losing only to NC State’s Nick Reenan, place second at Beast of the East behind Lehigh’s Kyle Gentile, and win an Escape the Rock title, by winning a gold medal in freestyle at Cadet Pan-Ams. He also won a prep national title. He projects as a 184 or 197 pounder in college.
Old Dominion (MAC)
Two years ago, George Walton, of Bound Brook High, failed to advance to the New Jersey state tournament as he placed fourth in the Region V tournament with only the top three wrestlers in each of the eight regions making it to state. Last year, with hard work and perseverance, not only did Walton win a Region V championship, but he also placed fourth in the state. His dedication didn’t go unnoticed as Walton was offered a wrestling scholarship from Old Dominion University. Walton is expected to compete at either 174 or 184 pounds for the Monarchs.
The Hagan twins, Kyran and Alec, out of Missouri will be taking their talents to Ohio and compete for coach Joel Greenlee and staff in the fall of 2017. Both twins have won state championships in Missouri. Alec won a state title this past season, while Kyran was a state champion as a sophomore. Both twins have great credentials outside their state as they were NHSCA runner-ups last year, as well as garnering All-American honors at UWW Cadet Nationals and USAW Cadet Fargo. Kyran will be competing at 141 pounds for the Bobcats and Alec at 149 pounds.
Ohio State (BIG 10)
Coach Tom Ryan got two huge recruits this past weekend as Chase Singletary, of Blair Academy, the second-ranked wrestler at 220lbs, and Kaleb Romero, of Mechanicsburg High, ranked fifth at 160lbs., decided to continue their wrestling careers with the Buckeyes. Singletary, who began competing in the sunshine state, was dominant last season as he won the Walsh Ironman Invitational and was the runner-up at the Beast of the East tournament. Romero is on course to win his fourth state title and becoming Ohio’s 26th four-time state champion. Singletary would be a great candidate to take over after Olympic and NCAA Champion Kyle Snyder (285lbs.) graduates, while Romero could replace two-time All-American Bo Jordan (174lbs.).
Oklahoma (BIG 12)
New head coach Lou Rosselli continues to have a big impact on the Sooner program, this time landing the third-ranked 145 in the country, Dom Demas of Dublin Coffman, OH, who is also the 19th ranked senior overall. Demas was the 138 pound Division I Ohio state champion in 2015 before going 44-1 a year ago, dropping his only match in the 145-pound state final to David Carr. Dom’s older brother Josh wrestled for Ohio State and is now an assistant coach at Rutgers. Dom projects as a 149 for the Sooners.
Coach Chris Ayres and the Tigers were searching desperately for a wrestler to fill the 157-pound weight class in the near future. The search didn’t take long as the coaching staff was able to recruit Conor Melbourne, of John Jay Cross River High. Melbourne, who failed to win a New York state championship in March, redeemed himself a month later as he was a finalist at the NHSCA tournament. In fact, Melbourne has earned All-American honors three times and has made the finals of the event in two consecutive years. He should bring much-needed support for the Tigers.
Purdue (BIG 10)
One of the top upper weight recruits from the state of Iowa will be making his way to West Lafayette, Indiana, next fall to compete for the Boilermakers. Max Lyon, of Western Dubuque High, is a three-time state medal winner, 4th, 2nd, and 1st, in Division 3A. The past two years, Lyon has been a runner-up in the USAW Folkstyle Nationals tournament and has garnered All-American honors three times in that event. Lyon will be a great asset for the Boilermakers in the 184-pound weight class.
Virginia Tech (ACC)
With the recent success of the Hokies, it’s no wonder that the top recruits want to compete for them under Coach Kevin Dresser. The Hokies latest recruit is the 12th ranked wrestler in the 220-pound weight class, Jeffrey Allen, of Amherst County High. Allen is a three-time Virginia state finalist and has won the tournament twice, as a freshman and a sophomore. Allen is also a four-time USAW Fargo All-American in Freestyle and Greco-Roman. Allen should have a great impact in the room and in the line-up at either 197 or 285 pounds.
West Virginia (BIG 12)
Head Coach Sammie Henson got great news this past weekend as three-time Ohio Division I state runner-up Nick Kiussis, of Brunswick High, decided to further his academic and athletic careers for the Mountaineers. Despite not being able to gain an individual state title thus far, Kiussis has had a great prep career that has seen him win medals at such tough events as the Bill Dies Memorial, Medina Invitational and the always tough Walsh Ironman tournament. In the past three weeks, Kiussis has been the runner-up at the IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason tournament and won the Grappler Fall Classic. He will be a great addition to the 174-pound weight class.