The Golden Mustang will now be a Cal Poly Mustang, as Alec Donovan, 2015 New Jersey high school state wrestling champ who revealed on a college recruiting trip in May that he is gay, signed a National Letter of Intent with California Polytechnic State University today, NJ.com reported Tuesday. Donovan confirmed the news with this tweet on his Twitter account @thedoc42007 on Tuesday afternoon: “Once a STANG always a STANG I get to continue my college career at Cal Poly!”
Donovan, a senior at Brick Memorial High School who won the 145-pound title NJSIAA wrestling championships in March, had revealed his sexual orientation in an interview with Outsports.com. He said that the news had been revealed beyond his inner circle while on a wrestling recruiting trip at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. When the Outsports.com article was posted online, Donovan was on his recruiting trip to Cal Poly, an NCAA Division I school in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
“I am not a gay wrestler, I am a wrestler who just happens to be gay,” Donovan said Tuesday. “Being gay has nothing to do with wrestling. It wasn’t my intention to have the conversation with the Cal-Poly staff, but I was out there visiting when the story came out. The coaches (at Cal-Poly) told me it doesn’t mean anything because they had a gay wrestler on their team before.”
That said, Donovan is believed to be the first openly gay, active college wrestler when he becomes a Mustang this fall. Earlier this spring, another high school wrestler, Cole Fox, a wrestler at Don Bosco Catholic High outside Waterloo, Iowa, revealed his orientation upon receiving a Matthew Shepard scholarship. Cole will be attending University of Northern Iowa this fall, but has not said whether he will be wrestling for the Panthers. In late March, Mike Pucillo, 2008 NCAA champ for Ohio State at 184 pounds, revealed in an exclusive interview with wrestling journalist Jason Bryant that he’s gay.
In addition to talking to Cal Poly and Limestone, Donovan revealed to NJ.com Tuesday that he had also been considering wrestling at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, saying, “The coaches and both schools contacted my right away and said they accepted me and wanted me more.” He said he hopes to major in animal science, with the dream of becoming a veterinarian.
Donovan, who placed seventh at the 2014 New Jersey state championships as a junior, built a 39-1 record in his final season as a Golden Mustang… culminating in a 1-0 win over Bound Brook High sophomore Stephan Glasgow in the title match at 145, scoring an escape and compiling more than two minutes of riding time in the second period. As Donovan’s high school coach Mike Denver told NJ.com after his wrestler won the state championship, “He had three bouts last year that he won with an escape and a rideout, 1-0. He learned what it took to win close matches like that… Any college coach would love Alec Donovan. He is a college-style wrestler who racks up riding time.”
In addition to his state title, Donovan also was named NJ.com’s “Shore Conference Wrestler of the Year” for his on-the-mat accomplishments, as well as for his work away from wrestling, citing his volunteer work in helping families devastated by Super Storm Sandy clean up their damaged properties without expecting anything in return.