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The Class of 2022’s James Rowley Picks Chris Bono and the Wisconsin Badgers

Team USA’s James Rowley of Oregon (Right) wrestling in the quarterfinals at the 2021 Cadet World Championships in July in Budapest, Hungary. Photo by Kadir Caliskan / United World Wrestling. 

It’s been a busy week in the land of Big Ten wrestling recruiting. 

One of the nation’s best and last uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2022, James Rowley, TOM’s No. 11 pound-for-pound best wrestler (and No. 3 at 170 pounds), is headed to Madison, Wisconsin, to join Chris Bono and the Wisconsin Badger wrestling program.

Rowley, a Crescent Valley, Oregon, native, made his intentions known earlier today on Twitter and Instagram. 

“I am proud to announce my commitment to the University of Wisconsin! I would first like to thank all of the coach’s who recruited me and believed in what I can do, but especially Coach Bono and Coach Reader. Thank you to my parents for all the sacrifices they have made and the hours they have spent in my corner. Thank you to all of my coach’s for every second of time spent with me. I wouldn’t be where I am without every one of you. I’ve experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of this sport and I’m grateful for every second! It has been a dream of mine since I can remember to wrestle Division One, and I couldn’t be more blessed to get that opportunity! Go Badgers 🦡 #B1G#Wisconsin

Rowley, already one of the best wrestlers in Oregon history, will head into his senior season at Crescent Valley High searching for the elusive four-peat, what would be his fourth Oregon state title in as many attempts. 

Earlier this summer, though, Rowley added the most notable accomplishments yet to his wrestling resume. 

First, in April, he won the 80kg bracket at the U.S. Cadet World Team Trials in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. While in the state he will soon call his second home, Rowley earned several quality wins over numerous Division I-bound wrestlers, including Tate Naaktgeboren, Luke Vanadia, and two wins over Cole Mirasola.

 Rowley is just the third Oregon native to earn a Cadet World team spot.

In July, in Budapest, Hungary, Rowley went 3-1 to take home a Cadet World silver medal at 80kg. His performance helped Team USA to a second-place finish in the team race.

At the next level, Rowley projects as a 174-pounder or 184-pounder. He’ll undoubtedly have an excellent training partner in double World Junior medalist Braxton Amos, who will be entering his redshirt freshman season with Bono and Co. in 2021-22. 

The Class of 2022’s Brock Bobzien, also a freestyle and Greco standout, will be alongside Rowley and Amos in the Wisconsin practice room. 

At Wisconsin, Rowley could be thrust into the starting lineup upon arrival in Madison as both Andrew McNally (174) and Chris Weiler (184) graduate at the end of the 2021-2022 season. 

Before that, James has a fourth state title in his sights. Regardless, the future is bright in Madison!

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