IA Wrestle Iowa High School Pound for Pound Senior Rankings

1. Carter Happel (Lisbon)
Projected High school Weight Class: 145
Projected College Weight Class: 141

Analysis: By all accounts Lisbon’s Carter Happel is the top prize in Iowa for the 2016 class, and he has earned that reputation by being a permanent fixture on the podium of both state and national tournaments. Happel is already a three-time state champion in the state of Iowa and is looking to become the 25th wrestler in the state’s history to accomplish the feat. Happel has career record of 154-1 and recently took fifth at Junior Nationals in freestyle. Happel also boasts a 2013 Cadet national title and a 2014 FILA Cadet title in freestyle. He will be continuing a family tradition by wrestling at Iowa next year, which is where his father Dean also wrestled in the 1980s.

2. Ethan Andersen (Southeast Polk)
Projected High school Weight Class: 220
Projected College Weight Class: 285

Analysis: Andersen has more than earned to be among the best of Iowa’s 2016 seniors as the 220 pound Oklahoma State commit has gone 94-1 over the last two years and has ascended to near the top of the national rankings. He competes on a talented Southeast Polk Rams squad which frequently pops up in InterMat’s Fab 50. In 2014 Andersen captured a FILA Cadet Greco-Roman national title, which led to him competing in the Cadet World Championships in 2014, and he also was a part of the Junior Pan-American squad in 2015. Andersen looks like a strong candidate to win his third straight state title this year, and should be a fantastic heavyweight for the Oklahoma State program down the road.

3. Brock Rathbun (Center Point)
Projected High school Weight Class: 126
Projected College Weight Class: 125/133

Analysis: Another top 100 senior according to InterMat, Rathbun has climbed the rankings by being one of the most consistent folkstyle wrestlers in the state of Iowa. He doesn’t have the national freestyle resume that others do on this list, but he is a three-time freestyle state champion. Rathbun has a total of three regular season losses, two were to Patrick Woods and one was to Tanner Greenwald, all in his freshman year. The last time Rathbun lost was in the finals at 106, but since then he has torched the field including a 104 match winning streak. Rathbun is one of four seniors looking to become a three-time state champion this year. Rathbun gave his commitment to the University of Iowa where he will wrestle 125 or 133.

4. Carter Isley (Albia)
Projected High school Weight Class: 285
Projected College Weight Class: 285

Analysis: Isley has always been a top wrestler in the 2016 class, but over the past year he has seen his stock rise from a top 10 to the top five of his class. This past year alone Isley captured his first state title for Albia at 220 pounds, went 7-0 a freestyle Junior Duals for Team Iowa, and picked up double All-American honors at the Junior National Championships in Fargo. Isley is a natural athlete, which is evident by his success on the football field as a running back as well. Isley’s stock has jumped so much he is now a top 50 recruit in the 2016 class, passing 2014 Cadet National Champion Gannon Gremmel as the state’s top heavyweight. Isley recently selected Northern Iowa stating that his potential for wrestling is much higher on a national level as opposed to football.

5. Jack Wagner (Bettendorf)
Projected High school Weight Class: 120
Projected College Weight Class: 125

Analysis: Wagner is another name in a long line of lightweight wrestlers to come out of the Bettendorf program over the last few years. If you follow InterMat’s Fab 50, Bettendorf is one of 11 programs to appear in the Top 50 five straight years, and Wagner has been a big part of that. Jack is a two-time state champion in the state of Iowa, and the only reason that he didn’t wrestle as a freshman is because he was blocked by Jacob Schwarm who now wrestles at UNI. Wagner may not be a top 100 recruit for the 2016 class, but he spent the entire season in InterMat’s 113 rankings and he is expected to challenge for his third straight state title this February. Wagner committed to the University of Iowa at the end of October where he plans to compete at 125.

6. Gannon Gremmel (Dubuque Hempstead)
Projected High school Weight Class: 285
Projected College Weight Class: 285

Analysis: When you recall that Gremmel is the 2014 Cadet freestyle national champion, it seems strange to see him all the way down at #6 on this list, but the truth is that Iowa’s depth is good enough this year that we feel pretty comfortable with Gremmel just outside the top five. In addition to having freestyle success, Gremmel has also performed well at the state tournament, making the state finals on two occasions. His problem has been that the state’s #2 ranked wrestler happened to compete at the same weight, preventing him from winning a title. A college heavyweight commit for the Iowa State Cyclones, Gremmel will make the move to heavyweight this season and with Andersen expected to stay down at 220, Gremmel should be the overwhelming favorite at this weight in Iowa.

7. Josh Portillo (Clarion- Goldfield Dows)
Projected High school Weight Class: 120
Projected College Weight Class: 125/133

Analysis: Since moving to Iowa before high school the Portillo brothers have been among the state’s best lightweight wrestlers. Josh comes in slightly ahead of his brother as he has already won two Iowa high school state titles and looks to join the elite club of three-time state champs this year. He won his title last year wrestling up at 126 but plans to drop back down to a more natural weight at 120 this year. While he doesn’t have a lot of freestyle accomplishments Josh does also have a 2015 USA Folkstyle Junior title and 2014 USA Preseason Folkstyle title to show on his resume.

8. Justin Portillo (Clarion- Goldfield Dows)
Projected High school Weight Class: 113
Projected College Weight Class: 125/133

Analysis: While he is one spot behind his brother on this list Justin Portillo is easily a top 10 senior in the state of Iowa coming in at the 8th spot. He is a two-time state finalist and won a state title in 2015 at 106 pounds. He is looking to slide up to 113 pounds for his senior season. The biggest question on Justin might be how quickly he can grow into a true 125 pounder in college. Like his brother, Justin has generally focused more on folkstyle year round but does have a very good folkstyle resume. He won the 2014 JJ Intermat Classic and was a 2014 USA Preseason Folkstyle runner up. The Portillos gave their commitment to South Dakota State.

9. Sam Cook (Fort Dodge)
Projected High school Weight Class: 195
Projected College Weight Class: 197

Analysis: Cook is an interesting prospect for the state of Iowa where he is already considered a top 100 prospect in his class, but his current priority is on the gridiron where he is one of the state’s top running backs. His size which makes him dominant on the mat, is actually holding him back in football being considered too small for most positions he is suited to, Cook will have to decide which sport he wishes to pursue in college. With that said Cook will remain one of the state’s and nation’s top 195 pound wrestlers this coming season, and his Fort Dodge team returns enough talent to challenge for the state team title.

10. Colton Clingenpeel (Council Bluffs – Thomas Jefferson)
Projected High school Weight Class: 152
Projected College Weight Class: 157/160

Analysis: There were a few seniors who could have made the list but we decided to select Clingenpeel and we feel that he is a good Division I prospect. While he has yet to make the state finals Clingenpeel is a three-time Iowa High School state medalist and finished 3rd in 2015. He is also a very good Freestyle and Greco wrestler and was also a double Fargo All American in 2015. He was also a Cadet Freestyle All American in 2014 and won a 2013 USA Preseason national title as well.

Honorable Mention:
Michael Zachary
Brendan Baker
Bryce Paul
Izaak Shedenhelm
Jakob Allison
Tanner Greenwald
Tristan Johnson

*Note this article appeared on InterMat this past Fall.

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