Potential future collegiate wrestling stars for Penn State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Cornell University are among the this year’s five regional winners for the 2014 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Awards announced by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla. Tuesday.
Nittany Lion recruits Bo Nickal and Nick Nevills, future Buckeye Micah Jordan, Oklahoma State signee Chance Marsteller, and Cornell recruit Brandon Womack are among the finalists for the High School Excellence National Award, to be presented at Honors Weekend at the Stillwater Hall of Fame on June 20-21.
A total of 49 male high school wrestlers – one from each state that has a state wrestling championship – have been named as Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winners, with five earning regional honors.
Bo Nickal was named winner of the Central Region. A three-time Texas High School state champ for Allen High School, who has maintained a 3.85 GPA (grade point average), Nickal will be attending Penn State University this fall as a projected 174 pounder.
Another honoree who will be wrestling for Cael Sanderson is Nick Nevills, West Region winner. A three-time California High School state titlewinner from Clovis High School, Nevills has earned a 3.6 GPA and has been a member of the California Scholarship Federation for five semesters. Nevills is expected to wrestle heavyweight for the Nittany Lions.
Micah Jordan, a four-time Ohio state champ for St. Paris Graham – alma mater for David Taylor – won the Midwest Region award for 2014. Jordan has accumulated a 3.83 GPA and will join his brother, Bo, at Ohio State University in the fall as a projected 141 pounder.
Chance Marsteller, Northeast Region winner, is a four-time Pennsylvania state champion, and three-time Outstanding Wrestler honoree at the state tournament. The Kennard-Dale student-athlete carries a 3.33 GPA. After indicating an interest in wrestling at Penn State, Marsteller changed his mind and announced his intention to wrestle at Oklahoma State University, where he’s projected at 174.
Winning the Southeast Region award is Brandon Womack, a six-time Alabama state champ, and five-time Most Outstanding Wrestler honoree. At Scottsboro High, Womack earned a 3.9 GPA. He is expected to wrestle at 165 for Cornell.
The Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award is based on excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service. It’s named in honor of the late wrestler, murdered by John du Pont in 1996, and the subject of the new movie “Foxcatcher” to be released in November. Dave Schultz had a stellar international mat career which includes winning a gold medal in freestyle at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Prior to that, he was an accomplished high school and college wrestler, winning the 167-pound title at the 1982 NCAA Division I Championships.
First-ever women’s award
In addition, for the first time, six female high school wrestlers have earned first-ever Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Awards from the states of California, Hawaii, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. A women’s national winner will also be announced in June.
This year’s honorees include Marina Doi of Kingsburg High School in California; Shannon Pa’aaina, Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawaii; Kiera Gabaldon of North Salem High in Oregon; Lyssa Maki of Tennessee’s Northeast High School; Taylor Alva of Cypress Woods High School in Texas; and Kiaya Van Scoyoc of Washington’s Lakes High School.
“All of our board members are excited women’s wrestling participation in the United States has grown to the point that we can honor at least six state winners with the new award,” said Terry Shockley, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “It is our hope more states will sponsor state high school wrestling championships for girls in the future.”
Tricia Saunders was the first U.S. woman to win a World championship, winning four, and the first to be inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. With 11 U.S. national titles, she never lost to an American opponent. She is considered to be the greatest women’s wrestler in American history.