photo courtesy of Hayden Barber; The Wichita Eagle
While the state of Iowa was the place to be on the recruiting front for most of this week, we’ll first head west to check out Northern Colorado, who received a huge commitment this morning from the Class of 2022. Troy Nickerson’s team has received a verbal from the #4 195 lber in the nation Quentin Saunders (Wichita West, KS). Saunders was also recently named the #40 overall wrestler in the Class of 2022 by TOM. Quentin is two-for-two in winning Kansas 6A State Championships, with his most recent coming at 182 lbs. Saunders doesn’t have a whole lot of recent accolades outside of Kansas, but he does have four gold medals from the U15 Pan-American Championships. He won both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the event in 2017 and 2018. Quentin joins Kobi Johnson as recruits from the Class of 2022 that have already pledged to Nickerson’s squad.
Another high-profile commitment from the Class of 2022 this week occurred when Manuel Rojas (Detroit Central Catholic, MI) committed to Iowa State. Rojas is a Michigan state champion that has put together an excellent fall, winning the Super 32 and the Grappler Fall Classic. Both times that Manuel has competed in Fargo, he made the 16U freestyle finals. He is currently ranked 18th overall in the Class of 2022 and third in the nation at 170 lbs. While Rojas has recently competed at 170 lbs, he wrestled in the high school postseason at 189 lbs (Michigan uses old weights). It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him at 184 lbs once in Ames. By the time Rojas is ready, it doesn’t appear that anyone currently on the roster will be a lock to hold down that weight class. Manuel is the second wrestler from the Class of 2022 to commit to Iowa State, joining #29 Casey Swiderski (Dundee, MI). Both are Michigan natives that had to have been influenced by the presence of Brent Metcalf on the coaching staff.
Rojas isn’t the only recruit to recently commit to Kevin Dresser’s Cyclones. He also signed Jack Gaukel (Sergeant Bluff, IA) and got a commitment from Ashton Barker (Iowa City West, IA). Gaukel is a three-time state finalist that is ranked #143 in the Class of 2021. Baker had previously committed to South Dakota State, but has changed his mind and will wrestle for Iowa State. He has placed third at the 3A state meet in each of the last two years. Baker should be a 174 lber, while Gaukel projects at 157 or 165.
Also staying in Iowa is Kalob Runyon (Southeast Polk, IA), who will join his brother Lance at Northern Iowa. Kalob is a two-time 3A state qualifier in Iowa and made the medal stand for the first time in 2020 when he was fourth at the 220 lb weight class. Kalob is a senior this season and could challenge for the 285 lb spot after the departure of national qualifier, Carter Isley. He is the fifth wrestler in the Class of 2021 to verbal to the Panthers and the third from Iowa. Runyon was ranked sixth at 220 lbs in the Midwest Region.
Minnesota got great news from their recruiting Class of 2022 when Hunter Lyden (Simley, MN) decided to stay in-state. Hunter is the top-ranked 160 lber in the Midwest and eighth in the nation. He recently took fourth at the Super 32 and is a three-time Minnesota AAA state medalist. Lyden captured his first state title in 2020 after placing third as a freshman and fifth as an eighth-grader. After the 2019-20 campaign, Hunter was listed on TOM’s All-Sophomore first team at 152 lbs. Aside from the Super 32, Lyden’s best national credentials include a sixth-place finish in 2019’s Fargo 16U freestyle tournament. Hunter made it to #25 in TOM’s top-200 wrestlers in the Class of 2022 and joins #21 Troy Spratley (Collinsville, OK) as early commitments for the Gophers.
For all of the college commitments, check out TOM’s College Commitment Page.