Head coach J Robinson and the University of Minnesota wrestling program announced seven National-Letter-of-Intent signees today.
Once again there is a strong local flavor in the Gophers recruiting class, with five of the seven student-athletes hailing from the state of Minnesota. The class includes Jake Kettler (Ramsey, Minn.), Alec Ortiz (Newberg Ore.), Bart Reiter (Gilbertville, Iowa), Pat Smith (Chaska, Minn.), Kevin Steinhaus (Pennock, Minn.), David Thorn (St. Michael, Minn.) and Danny Zilverberg (Wayzata, Minn.).
“Having five Minnesota High School wrestlers sign with us during the fall period is a tribute to the great programs for youth wrestling that exist here in Minnesota,” Robinson said. “There is exceptional quality in this state and we are very excited about this incoming class. They have proven themselves on the national level and we expect big things from this group at the collegiate level.”
Kettler, a product of Anoka High School, wrestled in the heavyweight class as a prep and placed third at the 2008 Minnesota high school tournament. A 2008 second team academic all-state selection, Kettler posted a 40-6 overall record as a junior. On a national level, Kettler was named a Junior National Greco-Roman All-American.
Ortiz is a three-time Oregon state champion at 160 pounds from Newberg High School. The No. 4 overall recruit in the nation and the No. 1-ranked wrestler in his weight class, Ortiz has been a dominant force in Oregon wrestling, compiling a 95-0 record during his prep career to go with four Junior National All-America citations (two in Freestyle and two in Greco-Roman).
Reiter, the younger brother of Gopher three-time All-American Mack Reiter, is a three-time state wrestling champion at Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville, Iowa. A National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) Junior National All-American, Reiter owns a 118-2 prep record and is ranked as the No. 10 recruit in his weight class and No. 80 prospect overall by Intermat. He is currently ranked No. 1 in Iowa in the 125-pound class.
Smith, who attends Chaska High School, placed third in the 2008 Minnesota high school state tournament at 135 pounds. Considered the No. 11-rated recruit in his weight class, Smith compiled a 37-4 record as a junior and was named second team academic all-state. Smith was also honored as an NHSCA Junior National All-American.
Steinhaus, of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High School, is a two-time Minnesota state champion, a three-time finalist, and a four-time placewinner. Steinhaus is also a first team academic all-state selection and won the 152-pound Class A title as a junior after capturing the 145-pound title as a sophomore. During an outstanding junior campaign, Steinhaus posted a 47-0 record. The No. 5-ranked prospect in his weight class, Steinhaus was the 2008 NHSCA Junior National Championships runner-up.
Thorn, from St. Michael-Albertville High School and the brother of current Gopher Mike Thorn, is a three-time state champion and a two-time Junior National Freestyle All-American. He captured the Minnesota state title at 125 pounds as a junior and finished the 2008 campaign with a 46-2 record. Ranked as the No. 24 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 2 recruit in his weight class, Thorn also earned second team academic all-state honors as a junior.
Zilverberg, a Wayzata High School product and the brother of current Gopher David Zilverberg, is a two-time state placer at the Minnesota state tournament. He posted a 48-2 record as a junior and finished third at the 2008 state meet after taking fourth as sophomore in 2007. Zilverberg also won the 2006 Folkstyle National Championship at the cadet level.
“I am very pleased with the direction of our recruiting right now,” Robinson added. “Coming off our No. 1-ranked recruiting class last year, we believe the University of Minnesota wrestling program will continue to do great things.”
Minnesota opened its 2008-09 campaign by winning eight titles at last weekend’s Bison open. The Gophers continue their season this Saturday at the Nebraska-Omaha Open before traveling to Rochester, Minn., for the Northern Quad on Saturday, Nov. 29.