May 19, 1997

Vercalli and Sletvold Sign with Purdue Wrestling

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Head coach Jessie Reyes has announced that Jacob Vercalli (Wilmington, Ill., Joliet Catholic) and Stephen Sletvold (Youngstown, Ohio, Austin Kitch H.S.) have signed National Letters of Intent to wrestle at Purdue starting in 1997-98. The pair join Jason Silverstein (Blairstown, N.J., Blair Academy) in the 1997 recruiting class.

"This is the best recruiting class that we have ever had," said Reyes. "Silverstein and Sletvold are already two of the best high school wrestlers in the country, and Vercalli is an improving talent. These are three of the best wrestlers out there."

Vercalli placed second in the state of Illinois as a heavyweight during 1997.

"Jacob is a good student and an excellent athlete," said Reyes. "He is very dedicated in his studies and on the mat. He chose Purdue because he wants to learn from the best in Purdue's classrooms and from Tom Erikson (volunteer assistant coach/U.S. champion) in the wrestling room. He will redshirt next season and then battle with David Pierce and Chad Hedges for a spot in the lineup."

Sletvold was the high school national champion at 167 pounds in 1997 after placing second in the state of Ohio. He finished third in Ohio in 1996 as a junior.

"Stephen is an untapped talent," said Reyes. "He missed part of the year with pneumonia. He came back to place second in Ohio, then he improved to win the high school national championship. He has not come close to peaking yet, and will only get better in college."

Vercalli hopes to pursue a degree in computer technology, while Sletvold plans to study engineering.