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@ASUWrestling Signs Four Elite Wrestlers

Nov 13, 2020

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Head coach Zeke Jones and the Sun Devil wrestling team announced the signing of four student-athletes to their 2021-22 roster on Thursday morning. The highly anticipated recruiting class includes the No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in the country, Richard Figueroa and Cael Valencia, the younger brother of Arizona State wrestlers Zahid and Anthony Valencia.

"We're certainly excited about this year's recruiting class," Jones said. "Anytime you can sign four kids in the top 50 in the senior class it's a tremendous victory. Signing the No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in America and with two recruits in the top-five, it shows that we are continuing to attract the nations best wrestlers."  

Jones has signed the number one pound-for-pound wrestler three out of the past seven years. With two signees ranked in the top-five, three in the top-25 and all four in the top-50, the Sun Devils are expected to be ranked in the top five for their recruiting class.

Wrestlers Max Wilner and Carter Dibert round out the signing class for the Sun Devils. Wilner is ranked sixth overall in the 170-pound weight class while Dibert
is ranked seventh in the country for the 126-pound class. 

Richard Figueroa (Selma, CA -- 125 lbs.)

Coming from Selma High School, Figueroa is a three-time California State Champion and has been ranked number one in two different weight classes. Figueroa was one of the earliest commits in his grade when he verbally committed to ASU in the fall of 2018, just as a sophomore. 

Ranked as the second overall recruit in the class of 2021 by MatScouts, Figueroa carries a hefty wrestling resume with only two losses during his high school career. He has won the Zinkin Classic, the Doc Buchanan and the Five Counties before his first state championship (106 lbs). At the Cadet World Championships, Figueroa went on to earn a silver medal competing at 48 kg. Additionally, he won a Super 32 belt against Greg Diakomihalis, previously the top-ranked wrestler at the weight, and a FloNationals title. 

"Richard is everything you're looking for when it comes to winning at the highest level," Jones said. "He has tremendous skillset, excellent technique, and comes with a passion and desire to be the best in the world. Figueroa has great speed and agility, and will make a huge impact at the NCAA and World level immediately."  

Carter Dibert (Murrysville, PA -- 125/133 lbs.)

During three seasons at Franklin Regional High School, Dibert has compiled a high school record of 115-15. On his way to winning the Pennsylvania state title, Dibert only lost two matches. As a junior this past season he placed third in the Pennsylvania state tournament. 

"Carter Dibert continues the legacy of the top Pennsylvania wrestlers continuing to come to Arizona State and follows in the footsteps of Sun Devil wrestling alumni, Josh Shields and Josh Maruca," Jones stated. "Dibert also follows in their footsteps as they attended Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville lead by head coach Matt Lebe. Carter is going to be a great addition to the lightweights as he wrestles with a high intensity, fast-paced style. In the classroom, he's also an outstanding student."  

Dibert plans on majoring in business and is the first one in his family to play a collegiate sport. 

Max Wilner (Costa Mesa, CA -- 174 lbs.)

The California-native has won three league championships, three CIF Souther Sections titles and is a two-time state placer. Wilner has also placed first, second and third in the Five Counties wrestling tournament. At Five Counties this past season as a junior, Wilner was defeated by future teammate Cael Valencia. 

"Max is going to be a tremendous addition to the upper weights for us," Jones said. "A multiple time California high school state place winner and high school national champion, Max comes into Tempe with a solid skill set technically, and has a tremendous passion for wrestling."

He is also a two-time NHSCA National Champion and concluded his junior season ranked third in state by The California Wrestler. Wilner hails from the same high school (Fountain Valley) as Sun Devil stand out, Gary Bohay, who was an NCAA finalist and World silver medalist.

Wilner plans on pursuing a major in business law and his older brother, Morris, wrestled at San Francisco State. 

Cael Valencia (Bellflower, CA --160 lbs.)

The 2019 Super 32 champion was highly sought after during his recruitment process, with programs like Penn State, Iowa and Stanford knocking on his door, but ultimately selected ASU joining fellow California-natives Jesse Vasquez and Cleveland Belton in Tempe. In the Doc Buchanan Invitational finals earlier this year, Valencia beat Ohio State signee and top-ten recruit Paddy Gallagher. 

"Cael epitomizes what an elite student athlete is, he's won all the top national tournaments and is an outstanding student," Jones stated. "He's going to be a great addition to the upper weights for us as he wrestles harder than most upper weights in America. With that and his good technique, he will make an immediate impact."

The St. John Bosco product is a two-time state runner-up and multiple time Fargo All-American.