LinksFive high school standouts signed a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, indicating they plan to enroll at South Dakota State University next fall and compete for the Jackrabbit wrestling team.
“There are some special individuals in this class who will continue to move this program in the right direction,” said SDSU head coach Damion Hahn, who is entering his fourth season with the Jackrabbits. “Not only are these guys great competitors, this group of signees features outstanding young men who embody the characteristics of Jackrabbit Wrestling. We can’t wait to get them to Brookings.”
The signees are:
• Bennett Berge, 184/197 pounds, Mantorville, Minnesota;
• Christian Noble, 125/133 pounds, Big Lake, Minnesota;
• Luke Rasmussen, 197 pounds, Brookings;
• Caleb Thoennes, 125/133 pounds, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and
• Kail Wynia, 197 pounds, Mantorville, Minnesota.
Berge (pronounced BURR-gee) enters his senior season at Kasson-Mantorville High School having won four consecutive Class AA individual state titles and compiling a 191-25 career record. His four state championships have come in four different weight classes, starting with winning the 138-pound division as an eighth-grader. He also claimed titles at 160 pounds as a freshman, 170 pounds as a sophomore, and 182 pounds during his junior season.
Berge completed a perfect 2020-21 season with a 29-0 record.
In addition, Berge has earned a national championship in freestyle competition on the juniors circuit. He also has been recognized for his work in the classroom by being named an academic all-state selection and earning induction into the National Honor Society.
Berge’s older brother, Brady, wrestled at Penn State and is currently serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Jackrabbits.
Noble has gone undefeated each of the past two seasons in winning back-to-back Class AA state titles at Big Lake High School. He posted a 40-0 record en route to winning the 113-pound title as a sophomore and went 30-0 last season while claiming the 120-pound championship.
A four-time state qualifier, Noble has racked up 135 career victories against only seven losses.
He plans to major in chemistry.
A local product, Rasmussen has been a two-time all-Eastern South Dakota honoree and wrestled his way to a state title at 195 pounds last season, finishing undefeated at 32-0.
Rasmussen also was a state finalist for Brookings High School as a sophomore in the 182-pound division, earning a silver medal and completing the season with a 27-5 record. As a freshman, he finished seventh at 170 pounds.
He intends to major in aviation.
Thoennes reached the finals of the 113-pound weight class at the 2021 Minnesota Class AAA state tournament, finishing the year with a 36-2 record and leading his team at St. Michael-Albertville High School in takedowns.
He also has excelled in juniors competition, winning a title at the Fargo Championships in Greco-Roman in 2019 en route to reaching the finals of the world team trials. Also in 2019, Thoennes placed seventh in freestyle at the world team trials.
Thoennes intends to pursue a degree in business economics.
The second member of the Jackrabbit recruiting class from Kasson-Mantorville High School, Wynia has qualified for the Minnesota Class AA state tournament each of the past two seasons, including posting a third-place finish at 170 pounds in 2021. He notched a 27-3 record during the high school season and followed that with a runner-up finish at 195 pounds in freestyle competition at the Northern Plains Regional this summer on the juniors circuit.
He plans to major in business economics.
South Dakota State competes in wrestling as a member of the Big 12 Conference. Five Jackrabbit wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships during the 2020-21 season.
SDSU is scheduled to open the 2021-22 season this Saturday (Nov. 13) at the Bison Open in Fargo, North Dakota.