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Derek St. John to Face Nestor Taffur at NWCA All-Star Classic

Derek St. John joins Tony Ramos in representing Iowa at the NWCA All-Star Classic.

Tony Ramos won't be the only Iowa wrestler at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Washington, D.C.  next month (November 2, 2013).  Three-time All American Derek St. John will wrestle Nestor Taffur of Boston University at the All-Star Classic.

St. John, the returning NCAA National Champion at 157 lbs., enters his senior year holding an overall record of 76-11 and will look to improve on last year's 31-2 record. Hawk fans can't ask for much more from St. John in dual meets; he was 8-0 in Big Ten duals and 9-0 at Carver.  St. John also puts up big team points for Iowa; he scored 85 team points good last year, good for second on the team behind Tony Ramos. DSJ enters the season as the #1 ranked wrestler at 157 per WIN magazine.

As far as this match goes... it looks like a pretty significant mismatch. Taffur is a returning NCAA qualifier  and has an overall record of 83-45, but he does not have a lot of "signature" wins on his resume.   He did give Jason Welch a tough battle in the semi-finals of the Keystone Classic, losing an 8-6 decision.  Taffur and St. John have never wrestled each other before.

We all know that St. John and Welch have had several close battles (including the NCAA finals last year), so it could be useful for Hawkeye fans to watch this match-up.  My guess is a lot of Hawkeye fans have never seen Taffur wrestle.

Watch more video of 2012 Keystone Classic (PAWRvideo) on

Who would I rather see wrestle St. John?  There are quite a few options to pick from OVER Mr. Taffur. My first pick would have been Alex Dieringer from Oklahoma State. Dieringer is only a sophomore, so perhaps the selection committee overlooked him for that reason, but he went 35-3 last year, was an All-American, and finished third at the NCAA Tournament. Roger Pena (Oregon State) and James Green (Nebraska) also would have been better match-ups (as well as wrestlers with whom DSJ has more history), but in fairness to the selection committee, there may have been other reasons why they were unable to compete in the All-Star Classic.

Prediction: Derek St. John over Nestor Taffur 11-3

Unfortunately, Ethen Lofthouse's shot at being in the All-Star Classic ended when it was announced Friday that Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) will wrestle Ed Ruth (Penn State) at 184 pounds.  Penn State has three wrestlers in the classic, tied with Oklahoma for the most in the event. For more info on the event head over to the NWCA website.

Confirmed Match-ups:
125: Nahshon Garrett, Jr. (Cornell) vs. Jarrod Patterson, Sr. (Oklahoma)
141: Tony Ramos, Sr. (Iowa) vs. Devin Carter, Jr. (Virginia Tech)
149: Logan Stieber, Jr. (Ohio State) vs. Kendric Maple, Sr. (Oklahoma)
157: Derek St. John, Sr. (Iowa) vs Nestor Taffur, Sr. (Boston)
165: David Taylor, Sr, (Penn State) vs Michael Moreno, Jr. (Iowa State)
174: Andrew Howe, Sr. (Oklahoma) vs. Matt Brown, Jr. (Penn State)
184: Jimmy Sheptock, Sr. (Maryland) vs. Ed Ruth, Sr. (Penn State)
197: Taylor Meeks, Jr. (Oregon State) vs. Scott Schiller, Jr. (Minnesota)
285: Mike McMullan, Jr. (Northwestern) vs. Tony Nelson, Sr. (Minnesota)

BONUS! Recruiting News:

There were a lot of wrestling recruits in Iowa City this weekend. Here are two that I am excited about and @hawks1010 confirmed Hayden Tuma (138) and Sam Stoll (HWT) were in the Iowa wrestling room. Tuma is ranked #2 in the nation at 138 per Intermat. He is a three-time Idaho state champion. Tuma is also a past U.S. Cadet World Team member, and won the Junior Nationals Greco-Roman title in Fargo, N.D. earlier this summer.

Watch more video of 2013 Fargo Cadet and Junior National Championships on

Stoll is ranked #5 in the nation at HWT per Intermat. Stoll is a Cadet Greco/Freestyle National Champion. He is a returning Minnesota state champ and is one of the highest recruited HWT wrestlers yet to commit.

Both Stoll and Tuma would be excellent additions to the Iowa team and could fill in at positions of need.  Iowa appears a bit light at 141; if Tuma is able to go at that weight, he could replace Josh Dziewa in a few years.  Likewise, Stoll could be an excellent replacement for Bobby Telford.  Iowa added a strong heavyweight prospect in Aaron Bradley a year ago, but he also intends to go on a Mormon mission, which will delay his arrival in Iowa City for a while.