Wrestling and football mix together like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, lemonade and ice tea, and sitting on the porch and a nice summer day; they just make each other better. Looking back on the last decade of state champions in Minnesota on the wrestling mat, the AAA, AA, and A divisions of the sport are littered with champions who excelled on both the mat and the gridiron as a prep, and became similarly successful at one of the sports in college. Some of these AA champions include Jake Short (Simley->U of M wrestling), Mack Short (Simley->St. John's football), Lance Benick (Totino-Grace->Arizona State/Augsburg wrestling), Broc Berge (Kasson-Mantorville->Iowa/U of M wrestling), Noah Ryan (Kasson-Mantorville->St. Cloud State wrestling), and Logan Swanson (Mankato East-Augustana football), but there are hundred more football studs that, despite not winning a state championship, have competed for and earned tons of prep accolades and successes. In today's special feature for Northstar Football News, we will examine some of the 2019-2020 most competitive AA wrestlers who fly around on Friday nights for their high school football squads. I hope you enjoy! *note: these lists are based off of The Guillotine's February 6th rankings, as well
Wrestling and football mix together like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, lemonade and ice tea, and sitting on the porch and a nice summer day; they just make each other better. Looking back on the last decade of state champions in Minnesota on the wrestling mat, the AAA, AA, and A divisions of the sport are littered with champions who excelled on both the mat and the gridiron as a prep, and became similarly successful at one of the sports in college. Some of these AA champions include Jake Short (Simley->U of M wrestling), Mack Short (Simley->St. John's football), Lance Benick (Totino-Grace->Arizona State/Augsburg wrestling), Broc Berge (Kasson-Mantorville->Iowa/U of M wrestling), Noah Ryan (Kasson-Mantorville->St. Cloud State wrestling), and Logan Swanson (Mankato East-Augustana football), but there are hundred more football studs that, despite not winning a state championship, have competed for and earned tons of prep accolades and successes. In today's special feature for Northstar Football News, we will examine some of the 2019-2020 most competitive AA wrestlers who fly around on Friday nights for their high school football squads. I hope you enjoy! *note: these lists are based off of The Guillotine's February 6th rankings, as well as accolades awarded/film available in either sport for the selections.
Aaron Lorentz (Perham) Section 8. C/O '20. Ranked #9
The senior, who is currently ranked at #9 in AA according to The Guillotine and #6 according to Intermat, is listed on Perham's roster on their football Hudl but has no film. He's one of only two seniors ranked at 106 pounds and has one last run at a state championship coming up soon.
Levi Jacobson (Foley) Section 7. C/o '22. Ranked #9
The 10th grader is ranked #9 at 113 and joins a large group of Foley Falcons to play football and wrestle. He is listed on the Falcons Hudl roster but has no film as well.
Jacobson (front row, two from left) after a tourney win.
Kain Sanders (Martin County West) Section 3. C/o '22. Ranked #6
Also a 10th grader, Sanders represented the Minnesota Storm national freestyle and Greco teams in 2018 and plays on the football team for MCW, is listed on their Hudl, but has no film.
Lucas Jagodzinske (Martin County West) Section 3. C/o '21. Ranked #3
Heading into the state wrestling meet last year, Jagodzinske was 38-4 and won the Class AA Section 3 Individual meet and finished third in the state last year at 113 pounds. Listed as #32 and a MLB/RB on the MCW roster, the stud wrestler unfortunately does not have any film.
Jaxson Rohman (Martin County West) Section 3. C/o '21. Ranked #2
A runner-up last year at 120 pounds in Class AA, the junior wears #43 on the MCW roster and plays WR and CB, but unfortunately does not have any film. He will have to beat the same kid from Simley who beat him in the finals last year if he wants to win that elusive state championship in 2020.
Ethan Anderson (Becker) Section 6. C/o '22. Ranked #9
The Becker Bulldogs excel on both the gridiron and the wrestling mat, and Anderson is the next duel-sport star to don the Becker blue. He will look to step into the shoes of Jake Nelson, who placed 5th at 126 last year for Becker.
Gabe Bellefuille (Perham) Section 8. C/o ‘20. Ranked #5
Bellefuille placed 6th last year at AA 126 pounds, and is in a good position to improve on that podium position in 2020 after a strong regular season that has him ranked 5th at 132. The future Perham grad committed to wrestle at Concordia College-Moorhead in college this January, and although he is on the Perham football Hudl, he has no film. He did however, finish second at the prestigious Rumble on the Red tournament this season along with a teammate that will be named later in the article.
Photo by Mary Christen /The Guillotine
Blake Jagodzinske (Martin County West) Section 3. C/o ‘21. Ranked #7
Another MCW product who plays both football and wrestling for his high school squad, Jagodzinske is rostered but has no football highlights on his Hudl.
Blake Vagle (New London-Spicer) Section 3. C/o ‘20. Ranked #4
Listed as #6 on the NLS roster playing WR and S, Vagle unfortunately has no Hudl highlights. However, he qualified for the state tournament last winter on the mat and has a great chance of a run for the top of the podium come March. Vagle is also a infielder for a very successful New London-Spicer baseball squad.
Lukas Paulson (Becker) Section 6. C/o ‘21. Ranked #6
Leave it to a Becker Bulldog to be the first of our duel-sport athletes to provide some game film, as Paulson has film of him returning punts, getting sacks, and some regular defensive tape on his Hudl account. I believe he qualified for state at 120 lbs. last year as a Bulldog and plays RB and SS on the gridiron. Vs. Sartell-St. Stephen
Paulson (21) with the tackle.
Connor Tulenchik (Pine River) Section 8. C/o ‘22. Ranked #8
The Pine River product qualified for the state tournament last spring and lost his opening match of the tournament 12-9 to a kid from Hibbing. It turned out to be his only match of the tourney, but he gained valuable experience that can and will help him this year. He finished last season 35-10, and the kid that beat him ended up placing sixth, so Tulenchik has some room to prosper. He also got his 100th win this January. As a two-way player on the gridiron, Tulenchik scored the lone touchdown in Pine River-Backus’ season ending loss to Breckendridge last October. vs. New York Mills HS
Cael Marx (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) Section 1. C/o ‘21. Ranked #10
The PEM RB has one game of film on his football Hudl and finds himself ranked 10th on the latest Guillotine 145 rankings. vs. Cannon Falls HS
Payton Anderson (Martin County West) Section 3. C/o ‘20. Ranked #2
Anderson is no doubt a stud, and the first MCW athlete on the list to have some legitimate game film of himself on the gridiron. The 152 lber. on the Fairmont/Martin County West Red Bulls wrestling squad who has been ranked in the top-3 all season committed to wrestle at DII Augustana University before his senior season, but a football injury almost prevented him from stepping on the mat. He tore his ACL in the early weeks of the season and returned in time to help MCW appear in the Section 3A Section championship game. He played a bunch of games on a torn ACL - which is impressive in itself -but Anderson played both ways for MCW and made an impact every game he played in. According to his signing day article from Augustana: “Anderson has been fantastic on the mat at Martin County West High School and as a junior he went 45-9 en route to a section championship and a fourth-place title at state. He was named to the All-State team last season and was a team captain. As a sophomore, Anderson went 37-7 while winning the section championship. As a freshman, he went 36-7 and placed second at the state tournament. ” Good luck the rest of this season, Payton! vs. Redwood Valley
Photo by Gabe Abel.
Grant Louwagie (Marshall) Section 3. C/o ‘21. Ranked #9
A MLB rocking #8 for the Marshall Tigers, Louwagie anchors a defense on a team that is one of the Southern MN’s best, and he has a full season of film to dive into. On the mat, he recently placed second at a tournament in Parker, South Dakota, and recorded the 50th pin of his career there as well. As only a junior, Louwagie will have a tough decision as to what sport he may wish to continue with in college, as he is a force on both the gridiron and the wrestling mat. Junior Season Hudl
Nolan Wanzek (Simley) Section 1. C/o ‘20. Ranked #2
Wanzek, whose brother Nick was a standout football player and wrestler at Simley High School before a successful career on the Minnesota Gophers wrestling team saw him start for the Maroon and Gold for several years and hundreds of matches. His younger brother - Nolan - just committed to play football at UW-River Falls in January after a great senior season that saw him block a punt to help lead the Spartans to a section title as one of his many highlights. As of a week ago, Wanzek was 30-5 on the wrestling mat in 2020, and is ranked #2 at 170AA behind phenom Bennett Berge of Kasson-Mantorville, who won state last year at 160. Nolan will look to top his second place finish last year at 170 to Isaiah Thompson from Detroit Lakes, and will do everything in his power to get atop that podium come March. Senior Year Regular Season
Wyatt Block (Mankato West) Section 2. C/o ‘21. Ranked #4
Block is a 2x All-Conference and 2x All-City pick for the Mankato West Scarlett, and the 5’8, 185 lb. RB/LB was instrumental in West winning the 47th annual Jug game between Mankato West and Mankato East this past fall. His two long TD runs put the game in favor of West and then out of reach for East, and he has a great Junior Year Hudl tape that will get him some college football looks. West also won the Jug fourteen years in a row! Block qualified for the state tournament last year on the wrestling mat and is looking like he’s in a good position to place as he’s ranked #4 right now. Junior Year
Caden Dewall (Becker) Section 6. C/o ‘21. Ranked #6
As a junior LB, Dewall was named to the SCTimes North Central White All-Area along with three teammates, and logged 52 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks, a FR, and two blocked kicks in 2019 according to MNFootballHub. On the wrestling mat he qualified for state last season and won his section, but did not place. He’ll look to change that in 2020. vs. Hutchinson HS
Kaden Hartwell (Fergus Falls HS) Section 8. C/o ‘21. Ranked #4
Rocking #34 for Fergus Falls and lining up at DB/LB/and RB, Hartwell had 60 tackles, 3 FR’s, 2 sacks, and a FF in 2019 according to MNFootballHub. He was a DL-Online Midwest District HM pick in ’19, and will lead the Otters team to a hopefully more successful season in 2020. On the wrestling mat, Hartwell reached the 100-win milestone after a first period pin against Thief River Falls, and as a junior is looking to head to his first state tournament this season. 13-yard reception vs. Dilworth-Glyndon
Quayin Short (Simley) Section 1. C/o ‘21. Ranked #1
Holding a 33-2 record according to the StarTribune as early as last week, the Simley Spartan standout has been ranked #1 basically all year and has one game of highlights on his Simley Hudl football account. Short placed 4th at 182AA last winter, and is in a great position to get that elusive first state title in 2020. He helped Simley capture their first team championship in four years last winter, and will be a key component in the Spartan’s quest to repeat as team champs. vs. South St. Paul HS
Dawson Kellogg (Perham) Section 8. C/o ‘20. Ranked #2
Another Perham Yellowjacket to make the list, Kellogg has his junior highlights completely updated on Hudl but has yet to get to his senior year. No worries, I’ll take what I can get. On Perham’s 2019 state tournament qualifying squad, the senior rushed for 632 yards and 9 TDs, and had 49 tackles, 5 TFLs, and a sack on the defensive side of the ball according to MNFootballHub. He finished second at the prestigious Rumble on the Red tournament along with three Yellowjacket teammates, including Gabe Bellefuille who was mentioned in this article previously. Kellogg also placed fourth last year at 220AA, and will have another chance to best that this season. He also placed either 3rd or 4th in 2017 on the wrestling mat. 2018 Junior Highlights
Kellogg wrestling. Photo by David Samson/The Forum
Josh Franklin (Fridley) Section 5. C/o ‘21. Ranked #3
A coveted two-sport athlete who holds a 28-2 record on the mat this year for Fridley after placing 5th at 195AA last winter and placed the year before as well, Franklin is a 2x All-District selection and his District’s Defensive Line MVP after last season on the gridiron. I’m excited to see where the 1000 lb. club weightlifter ends up on the podium in 2020, on NFN’s 2021 rankings, and on a college roster in a year! I have a feeling you’ll be hearing a lot more about Franklin coming up in 2020. Regular Season Hudl ‘19
Danny Striggow (Orono) Section 5. C/o ‘20. Ranked #1
A two-sport star looking to repeat as the 220AA state champion in 2020, Striggow follows his two older brothers as absolute hammers on the mat. Unlike his brothers however, Striggow has chosen to pursue playing football in college as opposed to wrestling. Both older brothers, Jackson and Bobby, wrestle(d) in the B1G for the University of Michigan, and Danny is forging his own path as a future defensive lineman at the U of Minnesota. According to his national signing day article posted by the Golden Gophers, Striggow “wore No. 10 for the Spartans • named All-District in 2018 and 2019 and earned All-State and Academic All-State honors in 2019 • led the Spartans to a runner-up finish in the Minnesota state football championships • as a senior, finished with 46 tackles including eight for loss, four sacks and one forced fumble and added 468 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns and 598 all-purpose yards • as a junior, finished with 68 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and a blocked kick • as a sophomore, racked up an additional 59 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble • also wrestled and won the 2019 Class 2A wrestling state championship • coached by Joe McPherson.” Not a bad resume, and I can see another state title being added to it soon! Senior Season Highlights
Bennett Tabor (Simley) Section 1. C/o ‘21. Ranked #2
Tabor was a 4th place finisher at 195AA last season as a sophomore, and followed a long line of Simley Spartans to commit to the University of Minnesota, as the junior gave the Gophers his verbal in October and is a projected heavyweight at the next level. He is also a Fargo freestyle All-American and placed 4th at the elite Super 32 tournament last year as well. He’s listed as #77 on the Simley MNFootballHub roster, and is also listed as an olineman. He has two games updated on his Hudl account. He’ll have a real tough matchup against Striggow to get to the top of the 220 podium, but if there’s anyone to stop him, it’d be a fellow Golden Gopher. vs. Winona
Brayden Weber (Becker) Section 6. C/o ‘21. Ranked #4
One of my favorite athletes on the list who also happens to be the recipient of an excellent “Recruiting Report” by NFN, Weber is Becker’s star Bulldog on both the gridiron and the wrestling mat, and has been in the top-5 of the Guillotine’s rankings all season since a 6th place finish at 220AA last year. On the football field, Weber is a 6’2, 220 lb. OLB that finished 2019 with 52 tackles, 12 TFLs, 8 sacks, and 2 FF that netted him All-District and District LB MVP awards. NDSU, SDSU, UNI, and the U of M have all reached out and extended Junior day invites and gameday visits, and this will surely not be the last you hear of the Bulldog beast. Junior Season 2019
Jacob Hertzog (Waseca) Section 2. C/o ‘20. Ranked #5
A Waseca County News All-WCN Wrestling pick qualified for the state tournament last year but failed to place in a loaded heavyweight class led by the #1 recruit of 2019 in Simley’s Daniel Kerkvliet. He’s in a great position to change that this season, and is coming off a dominant season in the Waseca line that should have college scouts all over the #5 ranked AA heavyweight wrestler. He was a captain on both the football and wrestling teams, and would make a great addition to a college football or wrestling team. vs. Stewartville
Rieley Fleming (Mankato East) Section 2. C/o ‘21. Ranked #6
The best heavyweight on Mankato East’s wrestling team since stud Logan Swanson, Fleming has a legit junior year Hudl that should get him some college looks. He also took second at 285 at the Dick Maher invitational earlier this winter. #79Junior Season
Shae Albrecht (Orono) Section 5. C/o ‘21. Ranked #9
A season long stalwart in the 285AA rankings, Albrecht was kind enough to give me some of his time earlier this fall to do a recruiting report on the Orono heavyweight, and I’m lucky I got to talk to him, as he is one of the top recruits in the trenches in the state of MN for ‘21. The 6’4, 285 lber. is a Blue-Grey All-American selection, an All-District award winner, and has a great chance of placing on the podium in 2020 on the wrestling mat. Junior Season
Albrecht (right) at a NDSU gameday visit.
I hope you enjoyed the feature! Stay tuned for the upcoming Class A feature on the top wrestlers/football studs in Minnesota in 2020, presented by Northstar Football News.