Air Force (BIG 12)
In my opinion, I believe it is a sign of maturity when I see our youth joining any branch of the military. It’s even better when they join the military and get to compete in an intercollegiate sport. Two athletes that will be competing in college while training to become officers in the military are Cameron Valdiviez, of Rockhurst, MO, and Zachary Van Alst, of Montgomery Catholic, AL. Valdiviez is a three-time state medalist and will be attempting to win a second state title in the state of Missouri. Zachary Van Alst is a super talented wrestler that will be vying for his fifth state title, seventh and eighth graders are allowed to compete at the high school level in Alabama, and he is a former two-time Fargo All-American. Valdiviez is planning to compete in the 125 or 133-pound weight class, while Zachary Van Alst eyes the 141-pound weight class.
One of the most gifted athletes from the state of New Hampshire and the New England Area has decided to continue his wrestling career at Brown. That athlete is A.J. Pedro, of Phillips Exeter. Pedro is a two-time National Prep bronze medalist and has placed in such prestigious events as Fargo, Beast of the East, and Flo Nationals. With his amazing Judo background, Pedro should make an immediate impact at 184-pounds for the Bears. Pedro is currently ranked #13 in the nation.
2016 Division II state champion Matthew Caccamise, of Wayne Central, NY, will be staying in the state to continue his education and wrestling career at Buffalo. Last year in the New York state tournament, he dominated the competition and only allowed three points to be scored against him. Caccamise should be a great asset for the Bulls in the 125 or 133-pound weight class.
Head coach Keith Ferraro and staff were successful this past weekend in obtaining the services of Cadet World team member Max Wohlabaugh, of Winter Springs, FL, and Toby Cahill, of Berlin, PA. Cahill, a native of Hollsopple, PA, is a three-time district medalist and a two-time PIAA Class AA state qualifier. Wohlabaugh is a gifted athlete that has represented the United States on the international stage. He is a three-time state medalist and has gained All-American status in Fargo four times. In the future, Cahill will be competing in the 285-pound weight class, while Wohlabaugh will be vying to become the starter at either 157 or 165 pounds.
Iowa State (BIG 12)
Yes, when Anthony Mantanona de-committed from Iowa State it was a big hit. However, coach Kevin Jackson found another top recruit to replace him. His newest recruit is a former PIAA state qualifier and 2016 Maryland 3A/4A state champion, Ethan Smith. Smith wound up third at the Super 32 tournament this month where he placed ahead of an injured Mantanona in the 170-pound weight class. Smith is a great addition to the Cyclones as he will be challenging for the 174 varsity spot in the future.
North Carolina State (ACC)
This past season A.J. Leitten, of Fort Mill, SC, became only the fifth Fort Mill High wrestler to win back-to-back state titles in school history. His success on the mats of South Carolina didn’t go unnoticed as it grabbed the attention of coach Pat Popolizio and staff. Leitten will now travel up north and attempt to win the 141 or 149-pound varsity spot at North Carolina State in the future.
Oklahoma (BIG 12)
The hiring of Coach Lou Rosselli was a good move for the University of Oklahoma, as the effects of his recruiting abilities are already quite evident. His latest recruit, Anthony Mantanona, is one of the most explosive and entertaining wrestlers from the Golden State this season. Rumors of Mantanona joining the Sooners circulated last month when he traveled to Oklahoma, at the time he had already verbally committed to attend Iowa State. Mantanona is expected to challenge for the 174 or 184-pound varsity spot in the future.
Old Dominion (MAC)
Two-time Virginia state finalist Killian Cardinale, of Brentsville High, will be staying in state to compete for the Monarchs of Old Dominion. Cardinale had a great a 2015-16 season where he placed at such prestigious events as Fargo, the Beast of the East, and Escape the Rock. He is also a two-time conference and region champion and will be vying for the 125-pound varsity spot in the future.
Purdue (BIG 10)
Another excellent New England wrestler has verbally committed to compete at the Division I level. Anthony Falbo, of Newtown, CT, will be continuing his wrestling career at the University of Purdue. Currently ranked ninth in the country, Falbo is a three-time state champion, two-time NHSCA champion, and has gained All-American status at the always tough Fargo nationals. He will be a big asset for the Boilermakers in the 184-pound weight division.
Stanford (PAC 12)
Three-time Oregon state champion Haydn Maley, of Roseburg, OR, will be staying on the west coast to compete for PAC-12 power, Stanford. A proficient Greco-Roman wrestler, Maley was successful during the summer in winning a Greco title in Fargo. He has garnered Fargo All-America honors four times during his scholastic career and will be vying for a varsity spot for the Cardinal at either 197 or 285.