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Getting II Know a DII Program: American International

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photo courtesy of American International athletics

The American International wrestling program was established in 1991, and has been an NCAA Division II member all of its 29 seasons. In that time, seven Yellow Jackets have earned All-American honors. Rich Hasenfus is the current head coach at American International, and will enter his fifth season as the Yellow Jackets head man in 2020-21.

“The Yellow Jackets are up and coming, #OneHiveOneFamily,” Hasenfus said.

Sixteen National Qualifiers have represented American International at the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. Mike Mitchell is the lone multiple-time All-American in Yellow Jacket history, taking runner-up at 174 in both 2000 and 2001. Mitchell qualified for Nationals three times, while Rafeal Calixto (1997, 2000), Ben McCrillis (1998, 1999) and Jojo Gonzalez (2019, 2020) represent the only other multiple-time qualifiers in program history.

Gonzalez became the first Yellow Jacket to qualify for Nationals since 2012 in earning his trip in 2019. He became the first American International All-American since Aaron Smith took eighth at 141 in 2012 with his NWCA All-American honors this past season. Gonzalez returns for his senior season in 2020-21, and will be joined by eight more returning starters to the American International lineup. Joel Morth was a win away from heading to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships last season, taking fourth at 149 at the Super Region 1 tournament, while Raul Martinez finished fifth at 197 and will also be back for Hasenfus, who will field a squad of around 20 for next season.

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