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Iowa State wrestling's 2022 recruiting class ranked No. 2 nationally; Iowa, UNI in top 25

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Iowa State has made steady gains since Kevin Dresser took over ahead of the 2017-18 season — from an 8-10 dual-meet record and one NCAA qualifier to, this past season, a 15-1 dual-meet record and three All-Americans, the most for the program since 2016.

Meanwhile, Dresser and his staff have continued to put in work on the recruiting trail, ensuring that the Cyclones’ ascent will continue in the years ahead.

On Thursday, MatScouts released its final 2022 wrestling recruiting rankings, and all three of Iowa’s Division I wrestling programs earned spots in the top 25. Iowa State led the way at No. 2 overall. Iowa checked in at No. 15 and Northern Iowa was at No. 25.

The Cyclones were only topped by Ohio State, who finished with three wrestlers ranked in the top five on MatScouts’ final 2022 Big Board. North Carolina State, Stanford and Oklahoma State finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

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The Cyclones’ 2022 class includes five top-100 recruits, led by Casey Swiderski, from Dundee in Michigan, who is tabbed as the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2022 class. He is a Junior national champ who Dresser expects to compete right away next season.

Behind Swiderski, there’s MJ Gaitan, from Temecula Valley, California, who just won the UWW Junior Greco-Roman national title this week in Las Vegas, plus Manuel Rojas, from Detroit Catholic in Michigan. Gaitan is ranked No. 14 overall and Rojas is No. 19.

Iowa State is one of just two programs to secure three top-20 overall prospects. The other: Ohio State, who signed No. 1 overall recruit Nick Feldman (Pennsylvania), No. 4 overall Jesse Mendez (Indiana) and No. 5 overall Nic Bouzakis (Pennsylvania).

Connor Euton, from Westerville North in Ohio, and Ethan Perryman, another Temecula Valley product, round out the star signings for Iowa State. Euton is No. 77 overall while Perryman is No. 85.

Behind those five, Iowa State signed five others, including four in-state prospects: Crestwood’s Carter Fousek, a four-time state champ; Midland’s Cayden Miller, a state finalist; Xavier’s Christian Stanek, a four-time medalist; and Gilbert’s Fernando Villaescusa, an Arizona state champ and a 2022 state finalist for Gilbert.

“Overall, it’s an incredible class that portends to both top flight, high-scoring stars and valuable starters and NCAA qualifiers,” wrote MatScouts’ Willie Saylor on Iowa State’s 2022 signing class.

“Swiderski is a ganger and a winner. … Gaitan had a banner final campaign. He has a certain savviness and wrestling IQ about him that helps him score, counter and get out of trouble. … Rojas is one of the very few wrestlers in the country to double up — that is, win Super 32 and Fargo in the same season.”

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Iowa State wrestling’s 2022 recruiting class

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Iowa wrestling’s 2022 recruiting class highlighted by in-state depth

The Hawkeyes’ 11-member class includes nine in-state guys and six top-250 prospects nationally, according to MatScouts’ 2022 Big Board. Aiden Riggins, a two-time state champ from Waverly-Shell Rock, leads the way at No. 36 overall. Riggins also made the finals at both the Cadet world team trials and Junior national championships.

The other four big-boarders: Bettendorf’s Bradley Hill, at No. 112; Des Moines Lincoln’s Mickey Griffith, at No. 124; West Lyon’s Easton Fleshman, at No. 215; and Southeast Polk’s Joel Jesuroga, at No. 242. Each won state during their high school careers.

The other big signee for Iowa is Kolby Franklin, at No. 49 overall. He’s originally from Pennsylvania but recently moved to Iowa City. He’s a Junior men’s freestyle All-American and is widely considered one of the best big men in the country.

Behind those six, Iowa signed an additional five guys, including four in-state wrestlers: Southeast Polk’s Carson Martinson, a state finalist; Southeast Polk’s Carter Martinson, a state finalist; Mason City’s Jace Rhodes, a two-time state finalist; and Lisbon’s Cade Siebrecht, a two-time state champ.

“There's also excellent depth in this class with quality and quantity,” Saylor wrote on Iowa’s 2022 signing class. “The room will be better and more competitive with this class in the fold.

“Aiden Riggins was in the conversation with (Pennsylvania standout) Levi Haines and MJ Gaitan as the best 157/165 prospect in this year’s class. … At 197, Kolby Franklin could be the answer after Jacob Warner graduates. … Hill and Griffith might even be a touch underrated here.”

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Iowa wrestling's 2022 recruiting class

UNI wrestling’s 2022 class highlighted by ‘plug-and-play’ guys

Northern Iowa’s 2022 recruiting haul includes just six, with five in-state products, which is typical for head coach Doug Schwab. But the one non-Iowan might be the biggest get for Schwab during his time in Cedar Falls.

Cory Land, from Alabama, checks in at No. 29 overall on MatScouts’ final 2022 Big Board. He is a five-time state champ, a two-time Super 32 finalist, a Cadet world silver medalist and, just recently, a 2022 Junior folkstyle national champ.

Two other Northern Iowa signees landed on MatScouts’ final Big board: West Delaware’s Wyatt Voelker, at No. 70, and North Butler-Clarksville’s Chet Buss, at No. 119. Voelker is a two-time state champ and one of the best big men in the country. Buss is a three-time state champ who finished with 133 career pins.

The other three signees: Ankeny’s Trever Anderson, a two-time state champ; Don Bosco’s Garrett Funk, a state finalist; and, just this week, Indianola’s Ryder Downey, a 2022 state champ.

“Land and Voelker are plug-and-play solutions,” Saylor wrote on Northern Iowa’s 2022 signing class. “I like (Land) more at 125 but he could well end up at 133. As good as his résumé is (and it’s great), I think his technique and wrestling IQ get overlooked.

“Buss, to me, could be the one to vault this class. He finished the season ranked 15th but is a little tough to judge because he hadn’t hit a whole lot of national events.”

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UNI wrestling's 2022 recruiting class

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.