Purdue Fort Wayne signs recruits with winning experience at club national championships

Photo courtesy of Purdue Fort Wayne athletics

It may have a new name, but the team formerly known as IPFW and Fort Wayne is continuing to bring in recruits with numerous accolades.

Purdue Fort Wayne in an offseason that feature university officially changing its name announced earlier this week that Sean Califf, Jon Diedrich, Ryan Lively and Rico Wardlow all committed to play for the Mastodons beginning in 2020.

Califf, a 6-foot-5 setter from Oak Park, Illinois, was an all-state honorable mention and an all-conference selection who led his high school team the last s two seasons to the state finals. In addition, he helped his club team earn a top-five finish at the 2018 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships.

Diedrich, a 6-foot-6 outside attacker from Orlando, Florida, won a gold medal at the 2018 USA Volleyball High Performance Championship and has helped his high school team win two straight district titles. He also is the younger brother of middle attacker Richie Diedrich, who is enter his junior season with the Mastodons.

Lively, a 6-foot-4 outside attacker from St. Louis, was a two-time First-Team All-Metro selection who had more than 200 kills in each of his final two high school seasons. The outside attacker’s club team has qualified the last three years for the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championship and earned the bronze medal at a qualifying tournament earlier this year.

Wardlow, a 6-foot-6 middle attacker and opposite from Bolingbrook, Illinois, has led his club team to two consecutive top-five finishes at the USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships. While playing for his high school team, he also had a career-high 31 kills in a single match.

The Mastodons rebounded from a last-place finish in 2017 to being ranked as high as No. 10 in the national media poll and ending in fifth place in the MIVA last season.

Purdue Fort Wayne returns a majority of starters for the upcoming season, including All-MIVA outside attacker Pelegrin Vargas and All-MIVA middle attacker Tomas Gago. Vargas spent the offseason playing with the Puerto Rican Men’s National Team, while Gago competed with the Chilean Men’s National Team.