The National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced on Thursday that Cierra Foster of Post Falls, Idaho, has been chosen as the 2017 recipient of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award (TSHSEA), and Daton Fix of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, has been chosen as the 2017 recipient of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award (DSHSEA).
The awards recognize and celebrate the nation's most outstanding high school seniors for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service. Fix and Foster will be presented with their awards during the 41st Annual Honors Weekend at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum on June 2-3 in Stillwater.
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. Schultz 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.
First presented in 2014, the TSHSEA is named for Tricia Saunders, a four-time World Champion and women's wrestling pioneer. Saunders was the first woman to be inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006 and was inducted into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011.
"There are so many worthy candidates for our High School Excellence Awards that it is a difficult decision every year for our committee to select the national winners," said Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. "It is a testament to our sport to have so many young men and women who excel on and off the wrestling mat. We are pleased to name Cierra and Daton as our national winners and are confident they will represent the Hall of Fame admirably as they continue to achieve athletically and academically."
Foster won the gold medal in the 56 kg/123.25 lbs. division at the 2016 Pan American Cadet Championships and helped the U.S. capture the team title. She received the Golden Boot as the Outstanding Wrestler of the event after winning all three of her matches by pin. The daughter of Todd and Angelique Foster, she is a two-time champion and five-time finalist at USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals, while also winning the USA Wrestling Cadet Freestyle Nationals and finishing second at USA Wrestling Junior Freestyle Nationals.
"It is unbelievable," said Foster. "I am honestly speechless, but am extremely thankful that I was chosen for the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award. I think the best part is getting recognition for the hard work I've put into the sport I love."
Foster finished third in the Class 5A state boy's tournament as a freshman, after becoming the first girl to be a 5A district champion in Idaho. Foster was named Sophomore of the Year and Wrestler of the Year by USA Idaho Wrestling. She also captained the girls' soccer team as a junior and senior, and she was awarded the Scholar Athlete award all four years in two sports.
Foster volunteers at Real Life Ministries, local churches and soup kitchens while also coordinating food drives for food banks in Idaho. She was asked to be a member of the National Honor Society but had to decline because of her class and wrestling schedule. Foster has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Oklahoma
City University. Her older brother, Drake, wrestles at the University of Wyoming.
Foster was selected as the West Region winner and then was chosen as the national winner over other regional winners. The 2017 regional winners are: Charliette Hamer of The Colony, Texas (Central Region), MacKenzie Matta of Finleyville, Pennsylvania (Northeast Region), Kayla Marano of Jefferson, Georgia (Southeast Region) and Katlyn Pizzo of Clawson, Michigan (Midwest Region).
Fix is a four-time Oklahoma High School state champion, compiling a 168-0 high school record to become the fourth wrestler in state history to go undefeated. He helped Charles Page High School capture both the team title and the dual championship title in 2017. The son of Derek and Stacee Fix, he was named Outstanding Wrestler at the state tournament twice and was named Wrestler of the Year by the Tulsa World three times.
"Being named as the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award recipient is an amazing honor," said Fix "As I reflect on past recipients, I am honored to have my name amongst many wrestlers that I have looked up to throughout my career. I am going to continue my journey of working hard to have excellence on and off the mat. I would like to thank my coaches, my family, my teammates and my fans for inspiring me daily to keep pressing for all that God has to offer me in the greatest sport in the world."
Fix is the second national winner from Oklahoma, joining Teyon Ware from Edmond North High School in Edmond, who won the award in 2002.
Fix won his third United World Wrestling Junior Nationals title on April 27 and captured the USA Wrestling Triple Crown in 2013. He was a Youth Olympic silver medalist in 2014, a Cadet World bronze medalist in 2015 and a Junior World bronze medalist in 2016. Fix is a two-time Pan American champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, and he was a FloNational Champion in 2015.
Fix's father, Derek, wrestled at Oklahoma State while both of his grandfathers were also Division I wrestlers and high school coaches. Grandfather, David Fix, wrestled at Colorado State Teachers College (now Northern Colorado) and coached at Eaton High School in Eaton, Colorado. Maternal grandfather, Alan Karstetter Sr., wrestled at Brigham Young University and was the wrestling coach at Charles Page High School for 24 years. Karstetter was honored wi
th the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award from our Oklahoma Chapter in 2002.
Fix also lettered in cross country and was named Athlete of the Year for football in 2013. He is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and volunteers to read to children at Read Across America while also working as a peer tutor for special needs physical education. Fix was named Student of the Month three times and was named as one of the Top 10 People of the Year to Watch by the Tulsa World in 2017. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Oklahoma State University.
Fix was selected as the Central Region winner and then was chosen as the national winner over other regional winners. Regional winners are Brady Berge of Mantorville, Minnesota (Midwest Region), John Borst of Stephens City, Virginia (Southeast Region), Spencer Lee of Murrysville, Pennsylvania (Northeast Region) and Haydn Maley of Roseburg, Oregon (West Region).
The regional winners were chosen from state winners, who 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. The Hall of Fame accepts nominations for the High School Excellence awards, and a committee, with input from Hall of Fame state chapters, selects state and regional winners. National winners are then chosen from the regional winners.