photo courtesy of Mark Beshey; TheGuillotine.com
Over the past few years, we’ve praised Damion Hahn’s South Dakota State Jackrabbits for their ability to recruit in the state of Iowa. Not far behind has been their propensity to grab talent from neighboring Minnesota either. That continues yesterday as SDSU got a verbal commitment from junior Cael Swenson (Wayzata, MN). Cael is a 2020 Minnesota AAA state champion and a three-time state placewinner. He was fifth and fourth as a sophomore and freshman, respectively. Swenson is also very active in the offseason and was a runner-up last summer in Fargo in Junior Greco-Roman. He had also placed in both of the previous two years in Greco at the Cadet level. During the high school season, Swenson went 52-1 with his only loss coming to Ryan Sokol (Simley, MN) in the finals of the Minnesota Christmas Tournament. He’ll project in the 141/149 range for the Jackrabbits. #130 Swenson is the fourth wrestler named in the Top 150 Wrestlers in the Class of 2021 to have committed to South Dakota State thus far. He’ll join #64 Derrick Cardinal (Forest Lake, MN), #85 Alek Martin (Graham, OH), and #106 Bailey Roybal (Waverly-Shell Rock, IA) in Coach Hahn’s Class of 2021.
Northern Iowa has been able to keep most of the best in-state wrestlers at home during Doug Schwab’s tenure and that remains the case with the signing of senior Evan Yant (Waverly-Shell Rock, IA). This fall, Yant will join his brother, Austin, who will be a redshirt Junior for the Panthers. Evan concluded his high school career on a high note winning an Iowa 3A state championship at 152 lbs. Yant was one of four state champions that led Waverly-Shell Rock to a traditional team title in 2020. It was his third time medaling at the Iowa state tournament. Evan was also sixth as a freshman and fourth his junior season. Austin Yant handled starting duties in 2019-20 at 165 lbs, which is the weight class the younger Yant projects, as well. Evan finished the year ranked eighth in the Midwest Region.
If that wasn’t enough, the Panthers also got a commitment today from Adam Ahrendson (Union, IA), too. Adam is currently ranked #138 among wrestlers in the Class of 2021. Ahrendson was an Iowa 1A state champion last season at 160 lbs. It was his second time in the state finals, as he was a runner-up in 2019 at 152 pounds. Prior to the 2019-20 season, Ahrendson was fifth at USA Wrestling’s Preseason Nationals Junior/Senior division. Adam hails from the same high school as a pair of recent All-Americans for UNI, Max Thomsen and Jacob Holschlag. He’ll project as a 174 lber for now. Ahrendson is the second top-150 recruit from the Class of 2021 to pledge to coach Schwab’s team, joining #76 Jared Simma (St. Thomas Aquinas, KS). Adam finished the year ranked #11 in the Midwest Region at 160 lbs.
Earlier this week, we spoke to Lake Highland Prep head coach Mike Palazzo. One of the topics we discussed was his impressive senior class and where they’ve decided to continue their collegiate career. Well, another one is headed to a DI program. The school announced that senior Dominic Isola has committed to wrestling at the University of Virginia. Isola is a three-time Florida state placewinner (3rd, 2nd, 4th) who competed at 160 lbs this year. Lake Highland Prep wrestled one of the most challenging schedules in the nation, so Isola is certainly battle-tested. He was sixth at California’s Doc Buchanan Invitational this year and eighth at the preseason Super 32. Isola likely slots in at 165 lbs, spot that is currently filled by two-time national qualifier Cam Coy. Cam will be headed into his redshirt junior season in 2020-21.
Another Virginia school that added to its incoming Class of 2020 is George Mason. Head Coach Frank Beasley’s team will keep one of the state’s top seniors at home in David Bragg (Oscar Smith, VA). David was a two-time state finalist in the 6A division, which is the largest classification in the state. Bragg came away with a state title in 2020 and was instrumental in leading Oscar Smith to their first team title in program history. Earlier this week, Oscar Smith was profiled in our top teams in the Southeast Region. As we mentioned in the SE Regional Team rankings, Oscar Smith wrestled a robust out-of-state schedule (Beast, Powerade, Escape the Rock), so Bragg saw plenty of top-flight competition this season. His best performance at those events is when he was eighth at Escape the Rock (120 lbs). George Mason is a team that returns a starter at 125 (Talha Farooq), though he’s going into his senior season. The Patriots also have signed Anthony Glasl (Brockway, PA) and Ben Monn (Cumberland Valley, PA), both Pennsylvania placers that could also contend for the 125 spot today and in the future.
For all of these recruits and many more, go to TOM’s College Commitment Page.