SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly has signed seven wrestlers, including a quartet of California state high school placewinners, to national letters of intent.
The announcement was made jointly on Thursday by first-year Mustang wrestling coach Brendan Buckley and director of athletics Don Oberhelman.
Five have competed in California high schools while two others hail from Pennsylvania. One of the seven recruits -- Kyle Chene -- is a community college transfer.
"I feel very good about the group we signed early," said Buckley. "They have that special blend of success on the mat and in the classroom as well as the work ethic we are looking for.
"While we are very fortunate to have an area as strong as California to draw from, we were happy to open the door for two great kids from Pennsylvania," Buckley added.
The seven signees, listed alphabetically:
Kyle Chene, 141 Pounds, 5-8, Newport Beach, Calif. (Irvine HS/Santa Ana College)
Chene placed second in the California Community College State Championships at 141 pounds in 2010 for Santa Ana College, earning Junior College All-American honors. A Southern California Regional champion, Chene was team captain as a freshman. He is a 2009 graduate of Irvine High School, where he placed seventh in the California State High School Championships at 140 pounds after winning the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet title. Chene was a four-year letter winner in wrestling and placed fourth in the Five Counties Invitational in 2009.
Blake Kastl, 149/157 Pounds, 5-8, Half Moon Bay, Calif. (Gilroy HS/St. Paris Graham HS)
Kastl, a younger brother of current Cal Poly wrestler Dominic Kastl, was a two-time California State High School Championships place winner wrestling for Gilroy High School, placing sixth and fourth. He is a two-time NHSCA All-American and claimed the national title as a freshman. Kastl also is a two-time CIF-Central Coast Section champion, placed third in the Reno Tournament of Champions last year, fourth in the Doc B and fourth in the Temecula Invitational. He is wrestling as a senior at Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio.
Connor King, 174/184 Pounds, Poway, Calif. (Broomfield (Colo.) HS/Poway HS)
King (pictured above) is a three-time Colorado State High School placewinner, capturing the 171-pound title in 2011 and placing fifth in 2010 and sixth in 2009. He is wrestling as a senior at Poway High School in San Diego County. King, a two-time Fargo Greco-Roman All-American, also placed third in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the USA FILA Cadet Championships. He also was a Canadian National Champion in both freestyle (FILA Cadet) and Greco-Roman (Junior) last summer and, as a member of the Canadian FILA Cadet World Freestyle Team, competed in the World Championships in Hungary.
Devon Lotito, 125/133 Pounds, Bethlehem, Penn. (Liberty HS)
Lotito is a two-time Pennsylvania state high school place winner, finishing third in the 2011 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championships and seventh in 2010. He also was a prep regional champion last winter.
Victor Perriera, 157 Pounds, Newark, Calif. (Newark Memorial HS)
Perriera has posted a 100-6 record over the last two seasons at Newark Memorial High School and is a two-time state high school placewinner, finishing second in 2011 and fifth in 2010. Perriera also is a two-time freestyle state champion and All-American.
Colt Shorts, 125 Pounds, 5-7, McMurray, Penn. (Canon-McMillan HS)
Shorts set a school record last year with 50 wins en route to a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships. Shorts also was a PIAA Secvtion 5 champion last winter and 2010 Powerade champion.
Justin Walker, 197 Pounds, 6-0, Oakley, Calif. (De La Salle HS)
Walker placed seventh in the 2011 California State High School Championships and is a Greco-Roman All-American. He recently captured state championships in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. Walker also plays football for the Spartans as an offensive and defensive lineman, earning All-East Bay Athletic League honors this season. A team captain, Walker helped De La Salle to a 13-1 record, its 20th consecutive CIF-North Coast Section championship, its sixth straight appearance in a state bowl game and its third straight Open Division bowl championship with a 35-0 victory over Westlake on Dec. 17. Walker notched 20 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, in seven games this season.
Photo courtesy Jeremy Papasso/Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera