NWHOF announces state, regional winners of Dave Schultz and Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Awards

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Thursday announced the state and regional winners for the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award (DSHSEA) and the state winners for the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award (TSHSEA).

The national winners for both awards will be announced on May 5. The winners will be presented with their awards during the 40th Anniversary of the annual Honors Weekend at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum on June 3-4 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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

First presented in 2014, the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award is named for Saunders, a four-time World champion and women’s wrestling pioneer. Saunders was the first woman inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in 2006, and is also a member of the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame.

“We are pleased to honor a very talented group of student-athletes, who we feel are a positive reflection on the future of our sport not only for their excellence on the mat but for their achievements in the classroom and in their community,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Their ambition and character make them inspirational role models who we are confident will continue to be positive influences.”

The awards recognize and celebrate the nation’s most outstanding high school seniors for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service.

The state winners are evaluated and selected on the basis of three criteria: success and standout performances and sportsmanship in wrestling; review of GPA and class rank, academic honors and distinctions; and participation in activities that demonstrate commitment to character and community.

Nominations for the DSHSEA award are accepted from the 49 states that sponsor boys’ high school championships while nominations for the TSHSEA are accepted from the seven states that sponsor an all-female girls’ high school championship. Winners are determined by a committee with input from National Wrestling Hall of Fame State Chapters, where applicable. Five regional winners are chosen for the DSHSEA, and the national winner is selected from those winners.

The finalists for the 2016 TSHSEA Award are:

Alaska: Roberta Christopher of New Stuyahok, Alaska won the state championship and is the student government president for Chief Ivan Blunka School.

California: Gabby Garcia of Anaheim, California is a four-time state champion for Valencia High School in Placentia, California, who was named the Orange County Register’s Female Wrestler of the Year in 2016. The daughter of Randy and Tina Garcia, she won a junior national title and finished second three times, and has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for King University.

Hawaii: Teshya Alo of Honolulu is a four-time state champion for Kamehameha High School. She won the U.S. Nationals/Trials Qualifier in 2015, defeating 2012 Olympian Kelsey Campbell in the finals, and was the 2014 Cadet World champion. The 18-year-old was the second-youngest wrestler competing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials where she lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Campbell.

Oregon: Payton Rigert of Hood River, Oregon won three state championships and finished runner-up once while helping Hood River Valley High School capture three state titles. The daughter of Trey and Deona Rigert, she was a member of the Oregon Women’s Freestyle National Team for three years and a two-time state freestyle and Greco-Roman champion. She has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at the University of the Cumberlands.

Tennessee: Katie Brock of Whitwell, Tennessee is a four-time state champion for Sequatchie County High School in Dunlap, Tennessee, earning Best Wrestler honors at the regional and state tournaments as a senior. The daughter of Scotty and Marsha Brock, she was captain of the wrestling team all four years while also lettering four years in volleyball and serving as captain as a senior. She has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Campbellsville University.

Texas: Brianna Holcomb of El Paso, Texas was a state champion and a runner-up for Hanks High School while capturing four district and three regional titles. The daughter of Christina Holcomb, she was team captain for three years and was named Hanks High School’s Outstanding Female Athlete and the El Paso Times Female Wrestler of the Year in 2016.

Washington: Jordyn Bartelson of Puyallup, Washington is a four-time state champion, who as 143-7 with 127 pins, for Puyallup High School. The daughter of Bryan and Jennifer Bartelson, she was named Tacoma Athletic Commission Athlete of the Year three times and as a senior was the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Athlete of the Year while also earning All-State honors in soccer.

The 2016 DSHSEA Regional Winners are:

West Region: Taylor LaMont of Mapleton, Utah is a four-time state champion, who was 66-0 with 53 pins as a senior for Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork, Utah. He was a two-time junior national champion and a member of the Greco-Roman Cadet World Team, finishing fifth in 2015. The son of Craig and Diane LaMont, he was Academic All-State with a 3.97 GPA and a nominee for the Utah Governor High School Male Athlete of the State. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Utah Valley University.

Central Region: Jack Mueller of Dallas, Texas is a four-time state champion, who was undefeated as a senior at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas. The son of Mike and Shelly Mueller is one of only 11 wrestlers in history to win four prep national championships, earning Most Outstanding Wrestler as a senior, and was also a four-time Prep Slam champion. Mueller is a member of the Lead Team at Watermark Community Church, an organization that helped facilitate vacation bible school for children in inner city Dallas, as well as volunteering with Young Mens Service League, a group that tutors youth, serves meals to the homeless, and assists the elderly. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for the University of Virginia.

Midwest Region: Mark Hall II of Apple Valley, Minnesota is the first six-time Minnesota High School state champion, finishing with a career record of 277-4, including 171 consecutive wins. The son of Mark Hall and Melissa Warren, he helped Apple Valley High School win six team state titles to become the only wrestler in state history to earn 12 combined titles. Hall captured a Pan American cadet title and a FILA cadet world championship, and competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials where he advanced to the quarterfinals. He has a GPA of 3.72 and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Mary’s Place, which offers transitional apartments for homeless families with children. Hall has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State University.

Northeast Region: Nick Suriano of Paramus, New Jersey is a four-time New Jersey High School state champion and only the second wrestler in history to finish his career without a loss, going 159-0 for Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, New Jersey. The son of Robert and Denise Suriano is a three-time Tulsa Nationals champion who volunteered with Bergen Catholic. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State University.

Southeast Region: Kyle Norstrem of Valrico, Florida is a five-time Florida High School state champion, who had a career record of 287-3-5. He won his first state title after going 41-1 as an eighth grader at Tampa Bay Christian, and captured his next four championships at Brandon High School where he was 246-2. The son of Timothy and Nancy Norstrem, he won back-to-back national championships as a freshman and sophomore, and is a three-time Greco-Roman national champion. Norstrem has volunteered at fundraisers for the YMCA, and has worked as a volunteer tutor to assist fellow students in mathematics. He has signed a letter of intent with Virginia Tech University.

The regions for the Dave Schultz award and the states that they are comprised of are:

West (11) - Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

Midwest (10) - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin

Central (7) - Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas

Southeast (10) - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

Northeast (11) - Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont

2016 Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award State Winners

Alaska - Roberta Christopher, Chief Ivan Blunka School
California - Gabby Garcia, Valencia High School
Hawaii - Teshya Alo, Kamehameha High School
Oregon - Payton Rigert, Hood River Valley High School
Tennessee - Katie Brock, Sequatchie County High School
Texas - Brianna Holcomb, Hanks High School
Washington - Jordyn Bartelson, Puyallup High School

2016 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award State Winners

Alabama - Nick Cater, Arab High School
Alaska - Seth Hutchison, Soldotna High School
Arizona - Danny Vega, Ironwood Ridge High School
Arkansas - Nick Noel, Pulaski Academy
California - Evan Wick, San Marino High School
Colorado - Ryan Deakin, Legacy High School
Connecticut - Charles Kane, Fairfield Warde High School
Delaware, Justin Bennett, Sussex Central High School
Florida - Kyle Norstrem, Brandon High School
Georgia - Thomas Bullard, Archer High School
Hawaii - Liam Corbett, Leilehua High School
Idaho - Tucker Leavitt, Highland High School
Illinois - Isaiah White, Oak Park-River Forest High School
Indiana - Chad Red, New Palestine High School
Iowa - Carter Happel, Lisbon High School
Kansas - Michael Prieto, Garden City High School
Kentucky - Keegan Duncan, Trinity High School
Louisiana - Brock Bonin, Teurlings Catholic High School
Maine - Peter Del Gallo, Gardiner High School
Maryland - Austin Kraisser, Centennial High School
Massachusetts - Peter Tedesco, Belmont Hill School
Michigan - Kanen Storr, Leslie High School
Minnesota - Mark Hall II, Apple Valley High School
Missouri - Matthew Schmitt, Platte County High School
Montana - Luke Weber, Forsyth High School
Nebraska - Zemua Baptista, Friend High School
Nevada - Reese Neville, Yerington High School
New Hampshire - Dylan Barreiro, Pinkerton Academy
New Jersey - Nick Suriano, Bergen Catholic High School
New Mexico - Dylan Udero, Las Cruces High School
New York - Christian Araneo, Ward Melville High School
North Carolina - Sawyer Davidson, Asheboro High School
North Dakota - Taylor Nein, Bismarck High School
Ohio - Alex Marinelli, Graham High School
Oklahoma - Wyatt Sheets, Stilwell High School
Oregon – Osawaru Odighizuwa, David Douglas High School
Pennsylvania - Luke Pletcher, Greater Latrobe High School
Rhode Island - James Sauro, Bishop Hendricken High School
South Carolina - Zack Clary, Dorman High School
South Dakota - Jebben Keyes, TF Riggs High School
Tennessee - Trey Chalifoux, Father Ryan High School
Texas - Jack Mueller, Trinity Christian Academy
Utah - Taylor LaMont, Maple Mountain High School
Vermont - Tyler Raetz, Mount Anthony Union High School
Virginia - Joey Prata, St. Christopher’s School
Washington - Michael Soler, Lake Stevens High School
West Virginia - Cam Moore, Roane County High School
Wisconsin - Hunter Marko, Amery High School
Wyoming - Taylor Jeffries, Campbell County High School

All-Time National Winners of Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award

1996 - David Kjeldgaard, Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa
1997 - Jeff Knupp, Walsh Jesuit High School, Akron, Ohio
1998 - Garrett Lowney, Freedom High School, Appleton, Wisconsin and Justin Ruiz, Taylorsville High School, Salt Lake City, Utah
1999 - Zach Roberson, Blue Valley North West High School, Overland Park, Kansas
2000 - Ben Connell, Lugoff-Elgin High School, Lugoff, South Carolina
2001 - Steven Mocco, Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey
2002 - Teyon Ware, Edmond North High School, Edmond, Oklahoma
2003 - C. P. Schlatter, St. Paul Graham High School, Urbana, Ohio
2004 - Coleman Scott, Waynesburg High School, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
2005 - Troy Nickerson, Chenango Forks High School, Chenango Forks, New York
2006 - David Craig, Brandon High School, Brandon, Florida
2007 - Zachary Sanders, Wabasha-Kellog High School, Wabasha, Minnesota
2008 - Jason Chamberlain, Springville High School, Springville, Utah
2009 - David Taylor, Graham High School, St. Paris, Ohio
2010 - Logan Stieber, Monroeville High School, Monroeville, Ohio
2011 - Morgan McIntosh, Calvary Chapel High School, Santa Ana, California
2012 - Taylor Massa, St. Johns High School, St. Johns, Michigan
2013 - Zain Retherford, Benton Area High School, Benton, Pennsylvania
2014 - Chance Marsteller, Kennard-Dale High School, Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania
2015 - Zahid Valencia, St. John Bosco High School, Bellflower, California

All-Time National Winners of Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award

2014 - Marina Doi, Kingsburg High School, Kingsburg, California
2015 - Marizza Birrueta, Grandview High School, Grandview, Washington

National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum
America’s shrine to the sport of wrestling, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1976 to honor the sport of wrestling, preserve its history, recognize extraordinary individual achievements, and inspire future generations. With museums in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Waterloo, Iowa, the Hall of Fame has the largest collection of wrestling artifacts and memorabilia in the world including the Hall of Honors in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where wrestling legends are enshrined at the national, regional, and state level. The rich heritage and diversity of the sport will be highlighted throughout the newly-renovated museum. There is also a library featuring historical documents and books on the sport as well as a theater. The Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, is currently closed to visitors while undergoing an entire interior renovation. It is scheduled to re-open on June 3-4, 2016, just in time to celebrate its 40th anniversary at the annual Honors Weekend induction ceremonies. For more information about the Hall of Fame, please visit www.NWHOF.org.

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