Dec. 13, 2013
MADISON, Wis.—Barry Davis and the rest of the Wisconsin coaching staff have perhaps rounded up their strongest recruiting class in recent memory.
Two wrestlers that are going for their fourth-consecutive state wrestling titles in Johnny Jiminez (St. Charles, Ill.) and Jens Lantz (Ellsworth, Wis.) bolster the class and are a big reason by the Wrestling Insider News Magazine have given them such praise.
The Big Ten dominates the list, as Wisconsin is the seventh team from the conference to appear despite their strong incoming class across all weight classes. Northwestern and Nebraska are ranked first and second, respectively.
Jiminez is projected to wrestle at 125 lbs., upon his arrival and he already has the Wisconsin coaching staff excited.
“I think the thing we like most about him is that he’s a tough wrestler, a smart wrestler, assistant coach Trevor Brandvold said. “He’s going to keep coming at you. He’s going to do some really good things and I think he will give Wisconsin fans a lot to be excited about in the lower weight classes.”
Lantz is one of three incoming recruits that have already won Wisconsin state titles and his attitude is what has impressed UW coaches so far.
“I think he has huge upside because he’s always been a mat rat,” Brandvold said. “He loves the sport of wrestling and he’s only going to continue to get better and better.”
Jared Scharenbrock (Sun Prairie, Wis.) and Tyler Schmidt (Merrill, Wis.) are the other two Wisconsin state champions and should provide depth to weight classes that are already very strong.
Scharenbrock is projected to wrestle at 157 lbs., and is going for his second state title, while Schmidt is slated to grapple at heavyweight. Schmidt has been ranked as high as 12th in the country in his weight class.
“When (Schmidt) gets in and gets working with Conor Medbery and puts on some weight, he’s going to be a really good heavyweight for us,” Brandvold said.
The last two recruits, Ryan Christenson (Woodinville, Wash.) and Luke Rowh (Hastings, Minn.), have the intangibles to lead the team, according to Brandvold. Christenson is currently ranked 2nd in the country in his weight class and Rowh has three top-5 finishes in Minnesota state wrestling championship tournaments.
“Ryan is a guy who we knew the first time we saw him wrestle that we had to get him,” Brandvold said. “Great family, great kid. He’s one of those guys you can build your program around.”
Rau, who has trained with Lantz at the Victory School of Wrestling in River Falls, Wis., also has a lot of upside in each of the coach’s eyes.
“I think he’s going to be the best find for us out of all the guys,” Brandvold said. “He’s the most underrated recruit that we have coming in.”