Kaiser does the same blasted thing. He wants to meet all the other dogs and until that happens it is nearly impossible to get him focused on me.
Perhaps I'm just weak but when we get to the drop in agility class he and I will carefully go around to the others and introduce ourselves. I always get the owners attention before and ask permission before approaching. Once we have met most of the people of all species we can generally get down to playing with the toys (jumps, tubes, teeter totter, etc.).
So I can relate, it's like dealing with a very stubborn 5 year old who wants his Umpa Lumpa now! But having now experienced this perhaps you can plan ahead. Do you know any of the other people in the class? If your dog isn't aggressive toward other dogs, perhaps arrive early and see if some of the other owners will introduce their dogs and then the group can cluster together. Maybe that will help keep your dogs attention where you want it.
Also keep in mind: while this is hard, once you and Xan have got this under control the other stuff will become easier.
Also: feel free to cheat. How does Xan feel about raw stew meat? One trick I use is to hold a piece of meat in my fist and let Kaiser stiff and try to work is nose in to my hand. this only lasts about 30 seconds to a minute before I let him have the treat, but he'll usually spend some time checking to see if another piece of meat might show up.