Wisconsin’s Aeoden Sinclair Named Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award National Winner

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Wednesday announced that Aeoden Sinclair of Edgerton, Wisconsin is the 2024 national winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award (DSHSEA). 

‘Winning the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award is a profound honor for me. It represents more than just my achievements on the wrestling mat; it's a recognition of my commitment to excellence in every aspect of my life - academically, athletically, and within my community,” said Sinclair. “This award embodies the values that Dave Schultz exemplified: dedication, perseverance, and integrity. To me, this accolade is not only about celebrating my past accomplishments, but also about inspiring my future endeavors. It motivates me to continue striving for excellence in all I do and to uphold the high standards of sportsmanship and leadership that Dave Schultz himself set. 

“It’s a reminder that hard work pays off and that wrestling, with all its challenges and triumphs, is a powerful vehicle for personal growth and character development,” he added. “Receiving this award reinforces my responsibility to serve as a role model for younger athletes and to contribute positively to my community, continuing the legacy of a true wrestling legend. It’s truly humbling and encourages me to keep pushing my limits, both on the wrestling mat and in life.” 

The DSHSEA was established in 1996 to honor Olympic and World champion Dave Schultz, whose career was cut short when he was murdered in January 1996. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in 1997 and as a member of the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016. 

The DSHSEA recognizes and celebrates the nation’s most outstanding high school senior male wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service. 

The Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced that Nebi Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Maryland is the 2024 national winner of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award (TSHSEA). The TSHSEA recognizes and celebrates the nation’s most outstanding high school senior female wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service. 

Sinclair and Tsarni will be honored during the 47th Honors Weekend at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum in Stillwater, Oklahoma on May 31 and June 1 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. To purchase tickets for Honors Weekend, visit https://bit.ly/2024NWHOFHonorsWeekendTickets

“Aeoden has every reason to be immensely proud of the remarkable accomplishments he has achieved throughout his high school career. His dedication and skill in wrestling, combined with his outstanding performance as a student and citizen, set him apart,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “As the latest recipient of our Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, Aeoden joins a group of young men whose achievements have earned them this honor. We eagerly anticipate the future successes that await Aeoden, as he continues to exemplify the values and spirit of excellence that this award celebrates.” 

Sinclair was a three-time Wisconsin state champion with a career record of 144-4 for Milton High School. After going 14-3 and finishing third at the state tournament as a freshman, he went 48-1 as a sophomore, 45-0 as a junior and 37-0 as a senior while capturing regional, sectional and state championships. 

The son of Michael and Abigail Sinclair, he will continue his wrestling career at the University of Missouri. 

Sinclair recently won the U20 Freestyle Nationals and also won the 2023 Journeyman World Classic, including a victory over world champion Sandro Kurashvili of Georgia in the semifinals. He also captured Super 32 and Who's #1 titles in 2023, and went 1-1 at the 2023 U17 World Championships. 

He was the 2022 USA Wrestling U16 Nationals champion and went 8-0 to help his team to a second-place finish at the 2022 U16 National Duals. Sinclair finished second at the 2022 Super 32, due to injury, and had a third-place finish at the United States Open. Sinclair was a Fargo champion in 2022 and went 8-0 to help his team finish fifth at the Junior National Duals in 2022. 

He performed community service with the National Honor Society and also volunteered as an instructor and coach with the Milton Youth wrestling program and the Askren Wrestling Academy. 

Fluent in reading, speaking and writing Spanish, Sinclair was a four-time Academic All-State wrestler and also a 2023-24 Academic All-American. Sinclair is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, the Student Council, the History Club, the Spanish Club, and was a co-captain of the Financial Literacy Team. He was named Rock County Rotary Student of the Month in December 2023 while also making the High Honor Roll every trimester of his high school career and being a Badger Boys State selection in 2023. 

Sinclair becomes the second national winner from Wisconsin, joining Garrett Lowney, a two-time Olympian from Appleton who shared the award with Justin Ruiz in 1998. 

Ohio has the most national winners with five followed by Oklahoma and Pennsylvania with three and California, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin with two winners each. Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia have each had one winner.

The Hall of Fame accepts nominations for its high school excellence awards from state chapters and coaches. The nominations are reviewed by a committee, which selects state and regional winners. The committee then determines the national winners from the regional winners.

Coleman Scott (2004) and Logan Stieber (2010) will become the first DSHSEA national winners to be Distinguished Members of the Hall of Fame when they are inducted in the Class of 2024 during Honors Weekend.

Cael Sanderson, who was the Utah and West Region winner of the DSHSEA in 1997, and Jake Varner, who was the California winner of the DSHEA in 2005, are also Distinguished Members of the Hall of Fame.

National winners of the DSHSEA have combined to win 20 NCAA Division I individual titles led by four-time champion Logan Stieber (2010), three-time winner Zain Retherford (2013) and two-time winners David Carr (2018), Steven Mocco (2001), David Taylor (2009), Teyon Ware (2002) and Zahid Valencia (2015).

All-Time National Winners of Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award
2024 - Aeoden Sinclair, Milton High School, Edgerton, Wisconsin
2023 - Cael Hughes, Stillwater High School, Stillwater, Oklahoma
2022 - Cory Land, Moody High School, Moody, Alabama
2021 - Alex Facundo, Davison High School, Essexville, Michigan
2020 - Braxton Amos, Parkersburg South High School, Mineral Wells, West Virginia (Freestyle Junior World Champion and Greco-Roman Junior World Bronze Medalist)
2019 - Cohlton Schultz, Ponderosa High School, Parker, Colorado (Greco-Roman Cadet World Champion)
2018 - David Carr, Perry High School, Massillon, Ohio (NCAA Champion and Junior World Champion)
2017 - Daton Fix, Charles Page High School, Sand Springs, Oklahoma (World Silver Medalist, Junior World Champion and 2X Junior World Bronze Medalist)
2016 - Mark Hall II, Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota (NCAA Champion, 2X Junior World Champion and Cadet World Champion)
2015 - Zahid Valencia, St. John Bosco High School, Bellflower, California (2X NCAA Champion and Junior World Silver Medalist)
2014 - Chance Marsteller, Kennard-Dale High School, Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania
2013 - Zain Retherford, Benton Area High School, Benton, Pennsylvania (3X NCAA Champion)
2012 - Taylor Massa, St. Johns High School, St. Johns, Michigan
2011 - Morgan McIntosh, Calvary Chapel High School, Santa Ana, California
2010 - Logan Stieber, Monroeville High School, Monroeville, Ohio (World Champion and 4X NCAA Champion)
2009 - David Taylor, Graham High School, St. Paris, Ohio (Olympic Gold Medalist, 2X World Champion, World Silver Medalist and 2X NCAA Champion)
2008 - Jason Chamberlain, Springville High School, Springville, Utah
2007 - Zachary Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg High School, Wabasha, Minnesota
2006 - David Craig, Brandon High School, Brandon, Florida
2005 - Troy Nickerson, Chenango Forks High School, Chenango Forks, New York (NCAA Champion)
2004 - Coleman Scott, Waynesburg High School, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (NCAA Champion and Olympic bronze medalist)
2003 - C.P. Schlatter, St. Paris Graham High School, Urbana, Ohio
2002 - Teyon Ware, Edmond North High School, Edmond, Oklahoma (2X NCAA Champion)
2001 - Steven Mocco, Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey (2X NCAA Champion and Olympian)
2000 - Ben Connell, Lugoff-Elgin High School, Lugoff, South Carolina
1999 - Zach Roberson, Blue Valley North West High School, Overland Park, Kansas (NCAA Champion)
1998 - Garrett Lowney, Freedom High School, Appleton, Wisconsin (2X Olympian) and Justin Ruiz, Taylorsville High School, Salt Lake City, Utah (Olympian)
1997 - Jeff Knupp, Walsh Jesuit High School, Akron, Ohio
1996 - David Kjeldgaard, Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa

2024 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award Regional Winners 

Region - Name, High School, Hometown, College Attending
Central Region - Gage Walker, Bixby High School, Bixby, Oklahoma, University of Missouri
Midwest Region - Aeoden Sinclair, Milton High School, Edgerton, Wisconsin, University of Missouri 
Northeast Region - Carter Neves, Blair Academy, Dayton, Ohio, Ohio State University 
Southeast Region - Sawyer Bartelt, South Dade Senior High School, Coral Gables, Florida, Iowa State University 
West Region - Cash Henderson, Woods Cross High School, Bountiful, Utah, Cornell University 

2024 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award State Winners

State - Name, High School, Hometown, College Attending
Alabama - Cole Carter, Jasper High School, Jasper
Alaska - Uatahouse Tuifua, Barrow High School, Barrow, Eastern New Mexico University (Football)
Arizona - Kyler Larkin, Valiant College Preparatory, Gilbert, Arizona State University
Arkansas - Lakoda Caldwell, Glen Rose High School, Malvern
California - Brock Mantanona, Palm Desert High School, Bermuda Dunes, University of Michigan
Colorado - Dale O'Blia, Mullen High School, Thornton, Princeton University
Connecticut - Nate Taylor, Greens Farms Academy, Sandy Hook, University of Pennsylvania
Delaware - James Miller, Salesianum School, Wilmington
Florida - Sawyer Bartelt, South Dade Senior High School, Coral Gables, Iowa State University
Georgia - Seth Larson, Flowery Branch High School, Flowery Branch, Campbell University
Hawaii - Diesel Del Rosario, Lanai High School, Lanai City
Idaho - Mack Mauger, Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot, University of Missouri
Illinois - Dillan Johnson, Joliet Catholic Academy, Plainfield, University of Wisconsin (Football and Wrestling)
Indiana - Will Clark, Crown Point High School, Crown Point
Iowa - Kane Naaktgeboren, Linn-Mar Community High School, Marion, Iowa State University
Kansas - Owen Eck, Andale High School, Andale, Oklahoma University
Kentucky - Breyden Whorton, LaRue County High School, Hodgenville, Thomas More University
Louisiana - Spencer Lanosga, Jesuit High School, River Ridge, United States Naval Academy
Maine - Gavin Ripley, Oceanside High School, Owls Head, Maine Maritime Academy
Maryland - Carter Nogle, Mount Saint Joseph High School, Laurel, United States Air Force Academy
Massachusetts - Nathan Blanchette, Central Catholic High School, Methuen, Rutgers University
Michigan - Justin Gates, Davison High School, Davison, University of Michigan
Minnesota - Nolan Ambrose, Jackson County Central High School, Jackson, Augustana University
Mississippi - Gabrial Shanks, Ocean Springs High School, Ocean Springs, Gannon University
Missouri - Hunter Taylor, Liberty High School, Liberty, Oregon State University
Montana - Keyan Hernandez, Billings West High School, Billings, University of Iowa
Nebraska - Drew Moser, Waverly High School, Waverly
Nevada - Marco Romero, Elko High School, Elko, Colorado School of Mines
New Hampshire - Teghan McConnell, Bedford High School, Bedford
New Jersey - Carter Neves, Blair Academy, Dayton, Ohio State University
New Mexico - Bryson Valdez, Aztec High School, Aztec, University of Northern Colorado
New York - Casper Stewart, Batavia High School, Batavia, United States Military Academy West Point
North Carolina - Cameron Stinson Jr., Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte, University of North Carolina
North Dakota - Leandro (L J) Araujo, Bismarck High School, Bismarck, University of Nebraska
Ohio - Jaxon Joy, Wadsworth High School, Wadsworth, Cornell University
Oklahoma - Gage Walker, Bixby High School, Bixby, University of Missouri
Oregon - Isaac Hampton, Newberg High School, Newberg, United States Naval Academy
Pennsylvania - Pierson Manville, State College Area High School, State College, Arizona State University
Rhode Island - Gabriel Bouyssou, Scituate High School, Hope, Cornell University
South Carolina - Jermaine (JJ) Peace, Cane Bay High School, Summerville, American University
South Dakota - Navarro Schunke, Brandon Valley High School, Brandon
Tennessee - Logan Fowler, Cleveland High School, Cleveland, United States Air Force Academy
Texas - Angelo Ferrari, Melissa High School, Allen, University of Iowa
Utah - Cash Henderson, Woods Cross High School, Bountiful, Cornell University
Vermont - Anthony Matas, Essex High School, St. Albans, University of Buffalo
Virginia - Thomas Potter, Union High School, Wise, Gardner-Webb University
Washington - Lars Michaelson, Bremerton High School, Bremerton, Stanford University
West Virginia - Gage Wright, Parkersburg South High School, Mineral Wells, Virginia Tech
Wisconsin - Aeoden Sinclair, Milton High School, Edgerton, University of Missouri
Wyoming - Antonio Avila, Thunder Basin High School, Gillette

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