MJ Gaitan, the nation's No. 1 160-pound recruit, commits to Iowa State wrestling program
The Iowa State wrestling program landed one big California recruit last week, then landed an even bigger one on Wednesday.
MJ Gaitan, a senior from Temecula Valley High School in southern California, announced his commitment to the Cyclones on Wednesday. He is now the seventh known member of Iowa State's 2022 recruiting class, and projects at 165/174 pounds.
"Today I make one of the biggest decisions in my life," Gaitan wrote in an Instagram post, announcing his decision. "I’m moving on to further my wrestling career at Iowa State. I have competed all over the country and have never felt the love for wrestling more than in Iowa.
"Iowa, you are true fans of the sport, thank you. My heart has California but I know Iowa will have a piece of it shortly. It’s time to represent California and Iowa at Iowa State. Let’s go Cyclone’s!!! All Glory to GOD!!!!"
Gaitan is the second California commitment in the past six days for Kevin Dresser and his staff. Last week, Ethan Perryman, Gaitan's Temecula Valley teammate, also committed to Iowa State, two late additions to help bolster an already-strong 2022 recruiting haul.
Gaitan and Perryman, both 2022 California state champs, are both considered top-150 recruits by MatScouts — Gaitan at No. 35 overall, Perryman at No. 141 — giving the Cyclones five top-150 prospects for its 2022 recruiting class.
The other three:
- Casey Swiderski, from Dundee in Michigan, the No. 8 overall 2022 prospect
- Manny Rojas, from Detroit Catholic Central in Michigan, the No. 28 overall prospect
- Connor Euton, from Westerville North in Ohio, the No. 96 overall prospect
Those five will be joined by a pair of Iowa natives: Carter Fousek, a four-time state champion from Crestwood, and Fernando Villaescusa, a 2022 state finalist for Gilbert and a past Arizona state champion.
Gaitan's credentials are among the best in the group. He is currently the No. 1-ranked 160-pounder in the country, according to MatScouts, after he beat Waverly-Shell Rock's Aiden Riggins, 8-1, at IAWrestle's Night of Conflict event earlier this month.
Gaitan also won the Super 32 Challenge last October. He went 7-0 to win it, punctuated by a 6-4 finals win over Levi Haines, a Pennsylvania standout who beat Riggins to make the 2021 Cadet men's freestyle world team last year. That came after Gaitan won the Junior Greco-Roman national title last summer at 160 pounds.
Gaitan originally signed to wrestle at Cal Baptist last November, but only recently re-opened his recruitment. He visited Iowa State earlier this month when he came to Des Moines for the Night of Conflict, and officially signed with the Cyclones on Wednesday.
"First and foremost I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I did all things through him," Gaitan continued in his Instagram post. "Secondly, I want to thank my family and coaches for all the life lessons and dedication you showed me. Your guidance led me to this decision with prayer.
"Thirdly, I want to thank my home town Temecula California, you made me a State Champion and allowed me to represent California all over the country. I hope I made you proud."
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.