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National Wrestling Hall of Fame announces Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award state winners

by Jack Canefix, National Wrestling Hall of Fame

STILLWATER, Okla. - The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Tuesday announced the state winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award (DSHSEA).

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.

The award recognizes and celebrates the nation’s most outstanding high school senior male wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service.

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.

“This year has been so hard for so many seniors whose seasons and state championships were either shortened, postponed or canceled as a result of the pandemic,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “Despite the many challenges they encountered, these student-athletes demonstrated tremendous resolve while working to achieve their academic and athletic goals.

“In recognition of their fortitude, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is excited to recognize these young men with our Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, and we wish them continued success, on and off the mat.”

DSHSEA regional winners will be announced on July 27 and the national winner will be announced on August 10. Regional winners are selected from state winners, and the national winner will be chosen from the regional winners.

The state winners of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award (TSHSEA) will be announced on Wednesday. The TSHSEA recognizes and celebrates the nation’s most outstanding high school senior female wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service. The TSHSEA regional winners will be announced on July 28 and the national winner will be announced on August 11.

The Hall of Fame accepts nominations for its high school excellence awards from state chapters and coaches. The nominations are reviewed by a committee, which selects state and regional winners. The committee then determines the national winners from the regional winners.

National winners of the DSHSEA award have combined to win 20 NCAA Division I individual titles led by four-time champion Logan Stieber (2010), three-time winner Zain Retherford (2013) and two-time winners Steven Mocco (2001), David Taylor (2009) and Teyon Ware (2002). The 2018 winner David Carr won a title in 2021 while 2016 winner Mark Hall won an NCAA title as a freshman in 2017 and 2015 winner Zahid Valencia won back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.

2021 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award State Winners
State - Name, High School, Hometown, College Attending

Alabama - Mason Blackwell, Wetumpka High School, Wetumpka

Alaska - Jared Hopkins, Colony High School, Palmer, Campbell University

Arizona - Ramon Ramos, Casteel High School, Gilbert, Arizona State

Arkansas - Caleb Winston, Greenbrier High School, Greenbrier

California - Richard Figueroa, Selma High School, Sanger, Arizona State

Colorado - Vince Cornella, Monarch High School, Lafayette, Cornell

Connecticut - Nico Provo, Greens Farms Academy, Stutford, Cornell

Delaware - Kevin Hudson, Caesar Rodney High School, Dover

Florida - Jaekus Hines, Osceola High School, Kissimmee, Appalachian State

Georgia - Caden McCrary, Woodland High School, Dalton, University of North Carolina

Hawaii - Branden Pagurayan, Kapolei High School, Kapolei, Wyoming

Idaho - Drew Roberts, Coeur d’Alene High School, Coeur d’Alene, Minnesota

Illinois - Dean Hamiti, Joilet Catholic Academy, Joliet, University of Wisconsin

Indiana - Alex Cottey, Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Iowa - Drake Ayala, Fort Dodge High School, Fort Dodge, University of Iowa

Kansas – Jared Simma, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Shawnee, University of Northern Iowa

Kentucky - Spencer Moore, Walton-Verona High School, Crittenden, University of North Carolina

Louisiana - Peyton Ward, Saint Paul’s School, Covington

Maine - Joshua Cote, Noble High School, Lesanon, University of Southern Maine

Maryland - Cooper Flynn, McDonogh School, Seymour, Virginia Tech

Massachusetts - Max Leete, Danvers High School, Danvers, American University

Michigan - Alex Facundo, Davison High School, Davison, Penn State

Minnesota - Derrick Cardinal, Forest Lake High School, Forrest Lake, South Dakota State

Missouri - Nathan Pulliman, Rolla High School, Rolla, University of Missouri

Montana - Cooper Birdwell, Fergus High School, Lewistown, Oklahoma State

Nebraska - Evan Canoyer, Waverly High School, Walton, Cornell University

Nevada - Devin Griffen, Spanish Springs High School, Sparks, Reinhardt University

New Hampshire - Conor Maslanek, Pelham High School, Pelham, Campbell University

New Jersey - Shayne Van Ness, Blair Academy, Branchburg, Penn State

New Mexico - Alex Holguin, Cobre High School, Bayard, Colorado Mesa University

New York - Stevo Poulin, Shenendehowa High School, Shenendehowa, North Carolina State

North Carolina - Richard Treanor, William Amos Hough High School, Cornelius, U.S. Military Academy

North Dakota - Reece Barnhardt, St. Mary’s Central High School, Bismark, University of Mary

Ohio - Padraic Gallagher, Lakewood St. Edward High School, Chesterland, Ohio State

Oklahoma - Tate Picklo, Mustang High School, Mustang, University of Oklahoma

Oregon - Chance Lamer, Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis, University of Michigan

Pennsylvania - Alejandro Herrera-Rondon, Seneca Valley High School, Zelienople, University of Oklahoma

Rhode Island - Nicholas Fine, Bishop Hendricken High School, Cumberland, Columbia University

South Carolina - Chris Compton, James F. Byrnes High School, Wellford

South Dakota - Sam Kruger, Winner High School, Kimball, South Dakota State

Tennessee - Alex Whitworth, McCallie School, Dalton, Harvard

Texas - Braxton Brown, Allen High School, Allen, University of Maryland

Utah - Lucas Cochran, Box Elder High School, Perry, Penn State

Vermont - Sam Worthing, Fair Haven Union High School, Poultney

Virginia - Erik Roggie, St. Christopher’s School, Smithfield, University of Virginia

Washington - Steele Starren, Tahoma High School, Issaquah

West Virginia - Gavin Quiocho, Parkersburg South High School, Glenville State College

Wisconsin - Matty Bianchi, Two Rivers High School, Two Rivers, University of Arkansas – Little Rock

Wyoming - Analu Benabise, Kelly Walsh High School, Casper, University of Wyoming

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

2020 - Braxton Amos, Parkersburg South High School, Mineral Wells, West Virginia

2019 - Cohlton Schultz, Ponderosa High School, Parker, Colorado (Greco-Roman Cadet World Champion)

2018 - David Carr, Perry High School, Massillon, Ohio (NCAA Champion and Junior World Champion)

2017 - Daton Fix, Charles Page High School, Sand Springs, Oklahoma (Junior World Champion)

2016 - Mark Hall II, Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley, Minnesota (NCAA Champion and 2X Junior World Champion)

2015 - Zahid Valencia, St. John Bosco High School, Bellflower, California (2X NCAA Champion and Junior World Silver Medalist)

2014 - Chance Marsteller, Kennard-Dale High School, Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania

2013 - Zain Retherford, Benton Area High School, Benton, Pennsylvania (3X NCAA Champion)

2012 - Taylor Massa, St. Johns High School, St. Johns, Michigan

2011 - Morgan McIntosh, Calvary Chapel High School, Santa Ana, California

2010 - Logan Stieber, Monroeville High School, Monroeville, Ohio (World Champion and 4X NCAA Champion)

2009 - David Taylor, Graham High School, St. Paris, Ohio (World Champion and 2X NCAA Champion)

2008 - Jason Chamberlain, Springville High School, Springville, Utah

2007 - Zachary Sanders, Wabasha-Kellogg High School, Wabasha, Minnesota

2006 - David Craig, Brandon High School, Brandon, Florida

2005 - Troy Nickerson, Chenango Forks High School, Chenango Forks, New York (NCAA Champion)

2004 - Coleman Scott, Waynesburg High School, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (NCAA Champion and Olympic bronze medalist)

2003 - C.P. Schlatter, St. Paul Graham High School, Urbana, Ohio

2002 - Teyon Ware, Edmond North High School, Edmond, Oklahoma (2X NCAA Champion)

2001 - Steven Mocco, Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey (2X NCAA Champion and Olympian)

2000 - Ben Connell, Lugoff-Elgin High School, Lugoff, South Carolina

1999 - Zach Roberson, Blue Valley North West High School, Overland Park, Kansas (NCAA Champion)

1998 - Garrett Lowney, Freedom High School, Appleton, Wisconsin (2X Olympian) and Justin Ruiz, Taylorsville High School, Salt Lake City, Utah (Olympian)

1997 - Jeff Knupp, Walsh Jesuit High School, Akron, Ohio

1996 - David Kjeldgaard, Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa

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. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has museums in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Waterloo, Iowa. The Stillwater, Oklahoma, location reopened in June 2016 following a $3.8 million renovation and now features interactive exhibits and electronic kiosks, as well as the opportunity to watch NCAA Championship matches from the 1930s to present day. It also has the John T. Vaughan Hall of Honors where the greatest names in wrestling are recognized, including iconic granite plaques presented to Distinguished Members since the Hall of Fame opened in 1976. The museum has the largest collection of wrestling artifacts and memorabilia in the world, including the most collegiate and Olympic wrestling uniforms. Wrestling truly is for everyone and the diversity and accessibility of the sport continues to be highlighted through exhibits featuring females, African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans. There is also a library featuring historical documents, including NCAA guides and results, as well as books on the sport. For more information about the Hall of Fame, please visit