March is the month for college wrestling championships, followed by April, the time of year when the NCAA and a number of conferences and individual schools present awards to deserving wrestlers.
Three wrestlers – Penn State’s Matt Brown, Ohio Valley University’s Chase Long, and Ohio Northern’s Cody Lovejoy — were announced among the winners of the NCAA Elite 89 Awards for 2013. The NCAA describes the award as “honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.” The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 88 championships.
Brown won the honor for NCAA Division I wrestlers. The Nittany Lion sophomore has earned a 3.97 GPA (grade point average) in Criminology, while making it to the 174-pound title match at the 2013 NCAAs in Des Moines. Long, the NCAA Division II wrestling honoree, is majoring in Marketing, with a 3.895 GPA at Ohio Valley. Lovejoy has compiled a perfect 4.0 GPA in Pharmacy studies at Ohio Northern, a Division III program.
In early April, the EWL (Eastern Wrestling League) announced its award winners for the 2012-13 season. Edinboro University’s Mitchell Port was named Wrestler of the Year, the fifth straight Fighting Scot to earn that award (following in the footsteps of two-time winners Chris Honeycutt (2011, 2012) and Jarrod King (2009, 2010). University of Pittsburgh 174-pounder Nick Bonaccorsi grabbed Freshman of the Year honors, while Bloomsburg’s John Stutzman was named 2013 EWL Coach of the Year.
The Big Ten also doled out a number of awards. Penn State’s Ed Ruth was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year; his coach, Cael Sanderson, shared Coach of the Year honors with Minnesota’s J Robinson. Connor Medbery of Wisconsin earned Freshman of the Year; Illinois’ Jesse Delgado was named Wrestler of the Championships.
The conference also named its All-Big Ten Team, consisting of wrestlers who won their respective weight classes at the 2013 Big Ten conference championships: Illinois’ Delgado (125-pound champ), Minnesota’s Dylan Ness (149) and Tony Nelson (heavyweight), Northwestern’s Jason Welch (157), Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (133) and Hunter Stieber (141), and Penn State’s David Taylor (165), Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184), and Quentin Wright (197).
Individual college honors
After wrestlers hang up the headgear for the season in March, colleges and their wrestling programs traditionally present annual awards and honors in April. Here are some of the honors handed out by college wrestling programs that placed among the top five in the team standings at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships:
Penn State: The Nittany Lions, who won their third straight team title at the 2013 NCAAs, served up a number of honors at the team banquet in early April, with two-time NCAA champ Ed Ruth being presented with the William N. Neidig Award as Outstanding Wrestler and Joe Scalzo Award for most team points, while fellow two-time titlewinner Quentin Wright received the Leadership Award by the coaching staff. David Taylor took home the Charles M. Speidel Award for most takedowns, the Bill Koll Award for most pins and the Most Bonus Points Scored Award. Matt Brown received the Commitment Award.
Oklahoma State: Two individuals connected with the Cowboy mat program — which placed second in the team standings at the 2013 NCAAs – earned significant national recognition in April. Alex Dieringer was named Freshman of the Year by both Amateur Wrestling News and InterMat… while head coach John Smith earned Coach of the Year honors from AWN, InterMat, and the Big 12 conference.
Minnesota: Coming in third at this year’s NCAAs, the Golden Gopher mat program nabbed some serious honors at the university’s annual Golden Goldys, modeled after ESPN’s ESPY Awards. The Minnesota wrestling team was named the school’s Best Male Sports Program, while J Robinson and Brandon Eggum earned Coach of the Year honors. Two-time NCAA heavyweight champ Tony Nelson also claimed the Male Athlete of the Year award.
Iowa: The fourth-place Hawkeyes handed out hardware at their annual awards presentation in April. Among the winners: 2013 NCAA champ Derek St. John was named winner of the Mike Howard Most Valuable Wrestler Award… Tony Ramos was presented the Most Pins Award, and the John and Dorothy Sill Award for most dedicated wrestler… Nathan Burak, Nick Moore and Mark Ballweg shared the Most Improved Award… while The Coaches Appreciation Award was shared by Grant Gambrall, Matt Gurule, and Jeremy Fahler.
d3wrestle.com, a website devoted to covering NCAA Division III wrestling, announced its annual awards the first week of April. Nazar Kulchytskyy, 2013 NCAA D3 champ at 165 pounds for University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, was named Wrestler of the Year… while Messiah College’s Josh Thomson earned Freshman of the Year honors. Long-time Elmhurst College head coach (and NCAA champ for University of Illinois) Steve Marianetti was selected Coach of the Year.
InterMat writers and managers made their award selections in early April, with Cornell’s Kyle Dake earning Wrestler of the Year honors… Oklahoma State’s John Smith as Coach of the Year…and Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State as Freshman of the Year.
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