Below is a press release sent out by Iowa State’s athletic communications staff.
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State wrestling program received three national letters of intent Tuesday. Highly sought-after recruit Destin McCauley, from the high school class of 2011, inked with the Cyclones after a year of training at the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs. Iowa natives Gabe Moreno and Kyle Larson also became official Cyclones from the high school class of 2012.
Destin McCauley: Apple Valley, Minn. (Apple Valley) Projected weight: 149 pounds Rank after high school: No. 1 (152 pounds)
McCauley, one of the most sought-after recruits in the country, is from Apple Valley, Minn., and projected to be a 149-pounder for Iowa State. As a prep standout, McCauley ranked No.1 nationally at 152 pounds and posted a Minnesota state record 286-7 record in high school. McCauley’s five state titles is a record in the state of Minnesota. He earned his first state title as a seventh grader in 2006, becoming the youngest Minnesotan to win a state title. After a decorated high school career, McCauley took a year off from school to chase his dreams by training at the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs.
“He is a proven performer,” Jackson said. “He’s been nationally-ranked for a long time, he’s competing with the best guys in the country at the senior level now and he’s ready to step right in and perform at the very highest level. For us to actually capture an athlete like Destin shows that our program is moving in the right direction and we have athletes and parents that see the potential that we have here to be the very best team we can possibly be and contend for national titles and individual titles. It’s exciting when you have the No. 1 ranked kid in the country join your program and we’re happy to call him a Cyclone.”
In McCauley’s interview with Intermat Wrestling Nov. 3, he spoke about why Kevin Jackson is the coach he chose to compete for.
“He was one of the only coaches I felt like I can really communicate well with,” McCauley said. “We just clicked and I can tell him anything. We get along really well and I know his knowledge of freestyle is amazing. I know he’s going to get me where I want to be in my freestyle career and collegiate career. He’s trained the best and I’m hoping I can be another one of the best that he’s trained.”
Gabe Moreno: Urbandale, Iowa (Urbandale) Projected weight: 149 pounds
Entering his fourth year at Urbandale, Moreno holds a 117-8 career record with three state medals. As a freshman, Moreno placed fourth in Class 3A State. In 2010, Moreno placed third in both Class 3A State and at the NHSCA Sophomore national competition. Moreno has continued to improve each year with the J-Hawks. Last season Moreno was the 2011 FILA Cadet Freestyle National runner-up as well as the Iowa 3A State Runner-Up. Moreno placed sixth overall at the Junior National Freestyle meet last season. Becoming a Cyclone means continuing a tradition within the Moreno family. Gabe’s father, Mike, was an All-American at Iowa State in 1992. His older brother Michael is currently a redshirt freshman for the Cyclones at 157 pounds. Moreno will likely begin as a 149-pounder for Iowa State, but has the possibility of moving up to 157 to add depth in the weight class.
“Gabe is a passionate young man and a great add to our program,” Jackson said. “He’s a nationally-ranked wrestler and I think he’s capable of beating the best guys in the country. I would expect him to continue to improve when he gets here. We expect him to be a starter at Iowa State.”
Kyle Larson: Des Moines, Iowa (Valley) Projected weight: 125 pounds
Larson caught the eye of Jackson and his coaching staff late last year. Although Larson has yet to claim a state title in Iowa, the Des Moines native did compete at Fargo in the 2011 Junior National Championship, finishing four overall. After qualifying for the 3A Iowa meet in 2009, Larson has improved each year with a fifth-place finish in 2010 and a fourth-place finish last year at the Class 3A State meet. Larson will add depth to the 125-pound spot for the Cyclones.
“I like Kyle’s style of wrestling,” Jackson said. “I think he’s a tough, strong kid and he hasn’t achieved his goals of being a state champion or a champion in Fargo. He motivates and brings a ‘prove it to me attitude.’ I like wrestlers with that mindset. He’s going to prove it to me and I think he’s right there with us.”