Wrestling: Manuel Rojas, top-15 national recruit from Michigan, commits to Iowa State

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

The Iowa State wrestling program continued its spectacular recruiting run on Wednesday night with perhaps its biggest commitment yet.

Manuel Rojas, a junior out of Detroit Catholic Central in Michigan, announced his commitment to the Cyclones. He is the program's fourth commitment this month and the second to commit as part of Iowa State's 2022 recruiting class. He projects at 174/184.

"I am excited to announce that I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at Iowa State University," Rojas said Wednesday in a tweet announcing his decision. "I want to thank my parents, coaches and supporters for getting me where I am today.

"Go Cyclones."

Rojas is a bona fide blue-chip recruit, and a massive get for head coach Kevin Dresser and his staff.

He is considered the No. 13 overall prospect in the 2022 class, according to MatScouts. He is ranked third nationally at 170 pounds. He's a Michigan state champ, a two-time freestyle national finalist, a past folkstyle national finalist, and, most recently, he won the Super 32 Challenge, arguably the toughest high school tournament in the country.

Rojas and fellow Michigan prep Casey Swiderski have the Cyclones' 2022 recruiting class in excellent shape. Both are among the top-35 national recruits. It's still early for the current junior class, but as of this commitment, only three schools currently have multiple top-35 commitments thus far: Lehigh, Nebraska, and now Iowa State.

The Cyclones have been hot on the recruiting trail lately, especially this month. In addition to both Rojas and Swiderski, Iowa State added some in-state stars to its incredibly talented 2021 recruiting class, with Johnston's Caleb Helgeson and Midland's Damon Huston both committing in recent weeks.

With Rojas now in the mix, Iowa State will continue to think big — both on the recruiting trail, and when these talented wrestlers officially arrive in Ames. The 2021 class is perhaps Dresser's best since he became the Cyclones' head coach.

The 2022 class now has the chance to be even better.

Catholic Central sophomore Manuel Rojas -attacks La Salle's Dillon Walker.

Cyclone-RTC adds Colon, Phulka

The Cyclone Regional Training Center, Iowa State's post-graduate wrestling club, added two premiere wrestlers to its roster this week.

Joe Colon, a 2018 world bronze medalist, NCAA All-American for Northern Iowa and state champ from Clear Lake, and Jasmit Phulka, a Canadian who's wrestled at multiple Senior world championships, were both joined the Cyclone-RTC as resident athletes.

Colon is returning to Iowa after a four-year coaching stint at Fresno State, which recently cut wrestling due budget problems caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. He's previously won gold at the Pan-American Championships, the U.S. Open, and wrestled in the 2018 men's freestyle world cup in Iowa City, helping Team USA win gold.

"I’m looking forward to following my Olympic dream in Ames with the Cyclone-RTC," Colon said in a release. "I’m excited to be back in my home state! It’s where my wrestling journey first began."

Clear Lake native Joe Colon gets Team USA off to a fast start with a 6-4 win over India's Sandeep Tomar in their match at 61 kg during the 2018 Wrestling World Cup in Iowa City on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

Phulka is a rising star internationally. He wrestled in both the 2018 and 2019 men's freestyle world championships, at 79 kilograms (174 pounds) and 74 kilos (163), respectively. He's also twice won bronze medals at the Pan-American Championships.

"The Cyclone Regional Training Center is a perfect fit for me,” Phulka said in a statement. "I get great training partners and an awesome coaching staff that will get me to the next level.

"I cannot wait to book my ticket to Tokyo and represent the C-RTC at the 2021 Olympics."

Colon and Phulka join Iowa State great Kyven Gadson and Mongolian star Turtogtokh Luvsandorj as Cyclone-RTC athletes. Colon is expected in Ames within the month. Phulka will join in December.

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