The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Monday 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 awards recognize and celebrate the nation’s most outstanding high school seniors for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service.
The national winners for both awards will be announced on Thursday. National winners 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. 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.
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.
“Each year we are pleased to honor these remarkable student-athletes, who are inspirational role models because of their excellence on the wrestling mat, in the classroom and in their communities,” said Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “We take great pride in our high school excellence honorees and enjoy following their careers as they continue to be positive influences.”
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.
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.
National winners of the DSHSEA award have combined to win 16 NCAA Division I individual titles led by four-time champion Logan Stieber (2010) and two-time winners Steven Mocco (2001), Zain Retherford (2013), David Taylor (2009) and Teyon Ware (2002). Retherford, who will look to win his third title in 2018, and Mark Hall (2016), who won as a freshman, both captured titles in 2017.
The 2017 TSHSEA Regional Winners are:
West: Cierra Foster of Post Falls, Idaho, won the gold medal in the 56 kg/123.25 lbs. division at the 2016 Pan American Cadet Championships. She helped the U.S. capture the team title, and 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. Foster was named Sophomore of the Year and Wrestler of the Year by USA Idaho Wrestling. She finished third in the Class 5A state boys tournament as a freshman, after becoming the first girl to be a 5A district champion in Idaho. She also captained the girls’ soccer team as a junior and senior and was awarded the Scholar Athlete award for 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. Foster was asked to be a member of the National Honor Society, but had to decline because of her class and wrestling schedule. She has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Oklahoma City University.
Central: Charliette Hamer of The Colony, Texas, was the first member of the girls’ wrestling program at The Colony High School despite never having wrestled. Three years later, the daughter of Brandon and Chasity Morgan is a three-time district and regional champion while winning two state titles and being named Outstanding Wrestler at the state tournament in 2017. As team captain all three years, Hamer helped lead her team to a district title and a Top 6 finish in the state. She mentors young girls in an after-school program while also volunteering with Kids with Cancer and teaching children to swim during the summer. Hamer has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Emmanuel College in Georgia.
Midwest: Katlyn Pizzo of Clawson, Michigan, lettered four years in wrestling at Clawson High School, qualifying for state two years and earning all-state honors with an eighth-place finish in 2017. The daughter of Jeffery and Lisa Pizzo, she won a silver medal in the 43 kg/94.75 lbs. division and helped the United States capture the team title at the 2016 Pan American Cadet Championships. Pizzo won the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals in 2016 championship in 2016 and finished second and third at the USA Wrestling Body Bar Freestyle National Championships. She was cross country team captain four years, qualifying for state three times and earning AAU All-American honors in 2016 with an eighth-place finish. She also lettered four years in track and was team captain for one year. Pizzo is an assistant religious education teacher at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, a member of the National Honor Society and class secretary as a senior.
Northeast: MacKenzie Matta of Finleyville, Pennsylvania, is a five-time state champion for West Thomas Jefferson High School in Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania. The daughter of Melissa Matta, she has placed sixth and eighth at the USA Wrestling Body Bar Freestyle National Championships and was the Outstanding Wrestler at the Pennsylvania Montour tournament in 2014. Matta has won titles in folkstyle and freestyle in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, while also participating in freestyle clinics at the Olympic Training Center. She is first chair in her school orchestra for viola and has received a scholarship for music to Adrian College in Michigan.
Southeast: Kayla Marano of Jefferson, Georgia, is a two-time state champion and the 2017 U.S. Marine Corps Girls Folkstyle Nationals champion. The daughter of two-time World Champion and nine-time world medalist Kristie Davis, and Emmanuel College women’s coach Link Davis, she was a member of the boys’ wrestling team at Jefferson High School and Sapulpa High School in Oklahoma, where she also lettered in girls’ soccer. Marano won a bronze medal at the 2015 United World Wrestling Cadet World Championships, and she won her first Junior Nationals title in 2016 after a runner-up finish in 2015. She has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Emmanuel College in Georgia.
The 2017 DSHSEA Regional Winners are:
West Region: Haydn Maley of Roseburg, Oregon, is a four-time Oregon High School state champion. The son of Dave and Jayne Maley, he was the Fargo Junior Greco-Roman national champion in 2016 and finished second at the United World Wrestling Junior Greco-Roman World Team Trials last weekend. Maley has earned All-America honors in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at Fargo while also earning All-America honors from the National High School Coaches Association and at FloNationals. He is a 4H participant and was Reserve Grand Champion Showman and a Douglas County Sheep Ranchers Wool Gatherer. Maley volunteers for the Buddy System with Down Syndrome Youth, the Lion’s Club, the City of Roseburg Beautification, and the Rotary Club. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Stanford University.
Central Region: Daton Fix of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, was 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. 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. Fix, who won his third UWW Junior Nationals title last weekend, captured the USA Wrestling Triple Crown in 2013, and was a Youth Olympic silver medalist in 2014 and a Cadet World bronze medalist in 2015. He is a two-time Pan American champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, and he was a FloNational Champion in 2015. 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 in 2017 was named as one of the Top 10 People of the Year to Watch by the Tulsa World. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Oklahoma State University.
Midwest Region: Brady Berge of Mantorville, Minnesota was a four-time Minnesota High School state champion, and he helped Kasson-Mantorville capture three state team titles. The son of Kevin and Cheri Berge, he won his first state title as a seventh grader, and after a third-place finish as an eighth grader, he added titles as a freshman and sophomore in high school. Berge was on track to become a five-time state champion when he suffered a broken leg in the semifinals as a junior, finishing and winning the match before defaulting out of the tournament due to injury. He returned to capture his fourth title as a senior. Berge finished with a career record of 282-5, ranking second in state history for wins with 282 and winning percentage with .982. Had he not suffered the broken leg, he likely would have ended his career by winning his final 196 matches. He was all-conference in football and was named Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler and Rochester Area Sports Commission Athlete of the Year in 2017. Berge is a member of the National Honor Society and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America as well as a volunteer with the Kasson-Mantorville American Legion. Berge has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State University.
Northeast Region: Spencer Lee of Murrysville, Pennsylvania is a three-time Pennsylvania High School state champion, finishing with a career record of 144-1. He came within seconds of being an undefeated four-time champion, losing in the state finals while wrestling with an injured knee. Lee is a two-time Junior World champion and the first American to win back-to-back junior world titles. He is the youngest American to win a cadet title at 15 years old and the youngest to win a junior world title at 16 years old. Lee became the first American to win a cadet world title one year and a junior world title the next year, and he is the United States first three-time age group champion, capturing a cadet world championship and two junior world championships. Daniel Dennis chose Lee as his workout partner for the 2016 Olympic Games, making Lee the only high school wrestler selected as an Olympic training partner. Lee volunteers at the Westmorland County Food Bank and for the Bill Mazeroski Miracle Field, a program that gives individuals with special needs and opportunity to enjoy the excitement of playing sports. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestling for the University of Iowa.
Southeast Region: John Borst of Stephens City, Virginia, is a three-time state champion for Sherando High School, finishing with a career record of 211-18 and being team captain his last three years. The son of John and Elizabeth Borst, he won both the Beast of the East and the Super 32 in 2016, and he was a junior national champion, a junior national runner-up, and two-time third place finisher at junior nationals. Borst is a member of DECA, Future Farmers of America and Varsity Club and was selected to receive the F.D. “Red” Robertson Student Athlete award. He also received a scholarship from the Winchester Wrestling Officials Association for his exemplary character and sportsmanship. He has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Virginia Tech University.
The regions 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
2017 Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award State Winners
Alaska - Krystal Lorraine Dayrit Fabricante, Kodiak High School
California - Alyvia Fiske, Vintage High School
Colorado - Olivia Loppolo, Silver Creek High School
Florida - Briana Kellin, Lake Gibson High School
Georgia - Kayla Marano, Jefferson High School
Hawaii - Alexis Encinas, Lahainaluna High School
Idaho - Cierra Foster, Post Falls High School
Illinois - Genae Sampract, Althoff Catholic High School
Iowa - Rachel Dreeszen, Kingsley-Pierson High School
Kansas - Marissa Patterson, Shawnee Heights High School
Maryland - Julian Kai Yates, George Washington Center for the Arts and Technology
Massachusetts - Naomi Hunt, Middlesex School
Michigan - Katlyn Pizzo, Clawson High School
New York - Cheyenne Sisenstein, Maine Endwell High School
Ohio - McKayla Campbell, Wauseon High School
Oklahoma - Maranda Dornan, Warner High School
Oregon - Makaela Fine, Oakridge High School
Pennsylvania - MacKenzie Matta, West Thomas Jefferson High School
South Dakota - Ronna Heaton, Brookings High School
Tennessee - Jessica Elery, Northwest High School
Texas - Charliette Hamer, The Colony High School
Virginia - Briana Csontos, Culpeper County High School
Washington - Brenda Reyna, Mount Vernon High School
2017 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award State Winners
Alabama - Zachary Van Alst, Montgomery Catholic Prep School
Alaska - Tristen Evans, Bethel High School
Arizona - Brandon Courtney, Desert Edge High School
Arkansas - Caleb Freeman, Searcy High School
California - Justin Mejia, Clovis High School
Colorado - Hunter Willits, Pueblo County High School
Connecticut - Baltazar Gonzalez, Ellis Technical High School
Delaware - Chase Archangelo, Smyrna High School
Florida - Bryce Rogers, Lake Highland Prep School
Georgia - Matthew Waddell, Gilmer High School
Hawaii - Brian Pascua, Iolani School
Idaho - Casey Randles, Coeur d’ Alene High School
Illinois - Austin O’Connor, St. Rita of Cascia High School
Indiana - Andrew Davison, Chesterton High School
Iowa - Ryan Leisure, Clear Lake High School
Kansas - Clay Lautt, Saint James Academy
Kentucky - Casey Cornett, Simon Kenton High School
Louisiana - Steven Shields, Brother Martin High School
Maine - Cody Craig, Skowhegan High School
Maryland - Bailey Thomas, Our Lady of Good Counsel
Massachusetts - Jake Ferri, Shawsheen Valley Technical High School
Michigan - Ben Freeman, Walled Lake Central High School
Minnesota - Brady Berge, Kasson-Mantorville High School
Missouri - Connor Brown, Oak Grove High School
Montana - Parker Filius, Havre High School
Nebraska - Korbin Meink, Skutt Catholic High School
Nevada - Ian Timmins, Earl Wooster High School
New Hampshire - George Tarwo, Concord High School
New Jersey - Chase Singletary, Blair Academy
New Mexico - Jose Tapia, Capital High School
New York - Yianni Diakomihalis, Hilton High School
North Carolina - Blaine Mainz, Jacksonville High School
North Dakota - Jesse Shearer, West Fargo High School
Ohio - Kaleb Romero, Mechanicsburg High School
Oklahoma - Daton Fix, Charles Page High School
Oregon - Haydn Maley, Roseburg High School
Pennsylvania - Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional High School
Rhode Island - Nick Martino, Bishop Hendricken High School
South Carolina - Noah North, Lugoff-Elgin High School
South Dakota - Tyler Waterson, Spearfish High School
Tennessee - Nick Boykin, Riverdale High School
Texas - Jack Skudlarczyk, Westlake High School
Utah - Ashton Seely, Juab High School
Vermont - Brandon Cousino, Vergennes High School
Virginia - John Borst, Sherando High School
Washington - Dalton Young, Lakeside High School
West Virginia - Noah Adams, Independence High School
Wisconsin - Devin Bahr, West Salem/Bangor High School
Wyoming - Hayden Hastings, Sheridan 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 (2X Olympian) and Justin Ruiz, Taylorsville High School, Salt Lake City, Utah (Olympian)
1999 - Zach Roberson, Blue Valley North West High School, Overland Park, Kansas (NCAA Champion)
2000 - Ben Connell, Lugoff-Elgin High School, Lugoff, South Carolina
2001 - Steven Mocco, Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey (2X NCAA Champion and Olympian)
2002 - Teyon Ware, Edmond North High School, Edmond, Oklahoma (2X NCAA Champion)
2003 - C. P. Schlatter, St. Paul Graham High School, Urbana, Ohio
2004 - Coleman Scott, Waynesburg High School, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (NCAA Champion and Olympic bronze medalist)
2005 - Troy Nickerson, Chenango Forks High School, Chenango Forks, New York (NCAA Champion)
2006 - David Craig, Brandon High School, Brandon, Florida
2007 - Zachary Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg High School, Wabasha, Minnesota
2008 - Jason Chamberlain, Springville High School, Springville, Utah
2009 - David Taylor, Graham High School, St. Paris, Ohio (2X NCAA Champion)
2010 - Logan Stieber, Monroeville High School, Monroeville, Ohio (4X NCAA Champion)
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 (2X NCAA Champion)
2014 - Chance Marsteller, Kennard-Dale High School, Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania
2015 - Zahid Valencia, St. John Bosco High School, Bellflower, California
2016 - Mark Hall II, Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota (NCAA Champion)
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
2016 - Katie Brock, Sequatchie County High School, Whitwell, Tennessee