2022 USA Wrestling Women’s Freestyle Award winners: Amit Elor (athlete), Nate Engel (coach)
by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
Amit Elor bites her 2023 Senior World gold medal; Nate Engel and his children receive his Coach of the Year Award from National Coach Katie Kreibel. Photos by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.
During the 2023 Pritchard Companies U.S. Open, presented by FloWrestling in Las Vegas, Nev., USA Wrestling presented many of its major awards, including its Athlete and Coach of the Year honors in each discipline. Today, we post the women’s freestyle winners.
2022 USA Wrestling Men's Freestyle Awards: David Taylor (athlete), Casey Cunningham (coach)
2022 USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Award winners: Max Nowry (athlete), Spenser Mango (coach)
Amit Elor named 2022 USA Wrestling Women’s Wrestler of the Year
Amit Elor (Walnut Creek, Calif. /Titan Mercury WC/New York City RTC) has been named the 2022 Women's Wrestler of the Year by USA Wrestling. It is the third time she’s won this prestigious and added to her honors in 2017 and 2019.
Elor had a record-setting 2022 season, winning the 2022 Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, the 2022 U23 World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain and the 2022 U20 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, all at 72 kg. She became the first U.S. wrestler (and only second wrestler in the world) to win three UWW World titles in the same year. She was the youngest U.S. Senior World champion in history in any Olympic discipline.
Elor’s amazing 2022 began at the USA Wrestling Women’s Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas in May, where she won two age-group national tournaments, the U20 Nationals and the U23 Nationals. In the best-of-three finals at the U20 Nationals, she beat Latifa McBryde in two straight matches. She also defeated Marlynne Deede in two straight in the U23 finals.
She earned her spot in Final X at the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Coralville, Iowa later in May, when she won her semifinals match over Marlynne Deede. She qualified for the U.S. Senior World Team at Final X – New York, defeating Skylar Grote in two straight matches.
Her World Championships gold-medal run began at the U20 Worlds in August, where she won four matches, including a technical fall over Anastassiya Panassovich of Kazakhstan in the finals. Next was the Senior World Championships. Next up was the Senior Worlds in September, where she again won four straight bout, stopping Zhamila Bakbergenova of Kazakhstan by technical fall. She completed her domination with her final World gold medal at the U23 World Championships in October, winning all three matches including a technical fall in the finals over Wiktoria Choluj of Poland.
She also represented the USA at the 2022 World Cup in Coralville, Iowa in December, where she defeated Qiandegenchagan of China, 5-0 in the dual meet against China.
In 2021, Elor won two World titles, a U20 World title and a U17 World title. Her sixth career UWW World title came at the 2019 U17 Beach World Championships. Elor was third in the 2019 U17 World Championships. She was also a 2015 U15 Pan American champion. A native of Walnut Creek, Calif., she won a 2019 California state title for College Park High School as a freshman, and since then has focused exclusively on freestyle wrestling.
PAST WOMEN'S WRESTLER OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
2022 – Amit Elor, Walnut Creek, Calif.,Titan Mercury WC, New York City RTC
2021 — Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Colorado Springs, Colo., Titan Mercury WC
2020 — No award (COVID-19)
2019 — Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Colorado Springs, Colo., Titan Mercury WC
2018 — Sarah Hildebrandt, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC/OTC
2017 — Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Colorado Springs, Colo., Titan Mercury WC
2016 — Helen Maroulis, New York, N.Y., Sunkist Kids
2015 — Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2014 — Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2013 — Alyssa Lampe, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2012 — Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2011 — Ali Bernard, New Ulm, Minn., Gator WC
2010 — Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo., Gator WC
2009 — Deanna Rix, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2008 — Randi Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo., Gator WC
2007 — Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2006 — Kristie Marano, Colorado Springs, Colo., New York AC
2005 — Iris Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. U.S. Army
2004 — Sara McMann, Lock Haven, Pa., Sunkist Kids
2003 — Patricia Miranda, Colorado Springs, Colo., Dave Schultz WC
2002 — Kristie Marano, Albany, N.Y., ATWA
2001 — Toccara Montgomery, Cleveland, Ohio, Sunkist Kids
2000 — Kristie Marano, Albany, N.Y., ATWA
1999 — Tricia Saunders, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1998 — Kristie Stenglein, Albany, N.Y., ATWA
1997 — Sandra Bacher, San Jose, Calif., Dave Schultz WC
1996 — Tricia Saunders, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
1995 — Vickie Zummo, Hamburg, N.J., New York AC
1994 — Shannon Williams, Ontario, Calif., Sunkist Kids
1993 — Tricia Saunders, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
Nate Engel named 2022 USA Wrestling Women’s Coach of the Year
Nate Engel (Corvallis, Ore./ Beaver Dam RTC) has been named the 2022 Women’s Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling. It is the second straight year that he has won this prestigious award.
He is the first person to win Women’s and Greco-Roman Coach of the Year. Engel won the 2019 Greco-Roman Coach of the Year award when he coached at Stanford and California RTC.
Engel works as the associate head wrestling coach for Oregon State and coaches the Beaver Dam RTC’s women and men athletes. Beaver Dam RTC provides opportunities for both men and women in the international styles. Beaver Dam RTC launched in October 2020, just months after Engel started his coaching job at Oregon State.
In 2022, Engel coached Mallory Velte, who won a Senior World bronze medal for the United States at 65 kg. The Beaver Dam RTC had three women on the 2022-23 Women’s Senior National Team, with Velte, plus No. 2 ranked Alyssa Lampe at 50 kg and No. 2 ranked Skylar Grote at 68 kg. Velte and Grote are members of the Titan Mercury WC, while Lampe is with the Sunkist Kids.
At the U.S. Open in Las Vegas in April 2022, Grote won the national title at 72 kg, and Lampe placed second wrestling up at 53 kg, with Velte placing second at 65 kg.
Engel served as personal coach to six-time World champion Adeline Gray, including coaching her to a 2020 Olympic silver medal and 2021 World gold medal. Gray did not compete in the 2022 season, but has returned in 2023. Gray wrestles for the New York AC.
Engel also has had significant success as a Greco-Roman coach. In 2019, Engel served as the volunteer coach for the U.S. Junior World Greco-Roman team, which had a historic performance at the Junior World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. For the first time ever, the United States had three Junior World Greco-Roman medalists during the same year, with silver medalist Cohlton Schultz at 130 kg, plus bronze medalists Alston Nutter at 63 kg and Peyton Omania at 67 kg. Engel also served as a coach with the 2018 U.S. Junior Greco World Team at the Junior World Championships in Trnava, Slovakia. The United States had two Junior World medalists in 2018, silver medalist Andrew Berreyesa at 82 kg and bronze medalist Cohlton Schultz at 130 kg.
Engel has coached a number of other teams on international tours, coaching both men and women athletes.
His college assistant coaching career has a number of highlights, including helping lead Stanford to its first Pac-12 team title in 2019, as well as Oregon State to the 2023 Pac-12 team title. Engel previously served an assistant coach for the U.S. Naval Academy from 2014-18. Engel also held a coaching position with the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2013.
He was a nationally-respected Greco-Roman wrestler as a competitor, starting his international career training at Northern Michigan University under respected coach Ivan Ivanov. Later in his career, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and became a member of its World Class Athlete program. Engel was a two-time National Team member in Greco-Roman.
Engel finished runner-up at 2013 World Team Trials. He also won the Maccabiah Games Champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman at 55 kg in 2013, while taking home a bronze medal in 2017. Engel also won a University Nationals championship.
As a college wrestler, Engel earned All-American honors and qualified for four NAIA Championships at Missouri Valley College. His college career started at William Penn University. He attended St. Helena High School in California and Pasco High School in Florida.
PAST WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
2022 – Nate Engel, Corvallis, Ore., Beaver Dam RTC
2021 – Nate Engel, Corvallis, Ore., Beaver Dam RTC
2020 — No award (COVID-19)
2019 - Vladislav "Izzy" Izboinikov, Colorado Springs, Colo., Titan Mercury WC
2018 - Troy Steiner, Fresno, Calif., Valley RTC
2017 – John Smith, Stillwater, Okla. and Cary Kolat, Buies Creek, N.C.
2016 – Valentin Kalika, New York, N.Y., Titan Mercury WC
2015 – Aaron Sieracki, Colorado Springs, Colo., U.S. Army WCAP
2014 – Afsoon Johnston, San Diego, Calif.
2013 – Archie Randall, Mustang, Okla., OKCU Gator Women’s RTC
2012 – Vladislav “Izzy” Izboinikov, Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Wrestling
2011 – Kevin Black, River Falls, Wis., New York AC
2010 – Keith Wilson, Colorado Springs, Colo., Sunkist Kids
2009 – Kevin Black, River Falls, Wis., New York AC
2008 - Tadaaki Hatta, Elyria, Ohio, New York AC
2007 - Troy Steiner, Corvallis, Ore.
2006 - Joe Corso, Metairie, La., Gator WC
2005 - Bill Scherr, Glenview, Ill., Sunkist Kids
2004 - Tricia Saunders, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
2003 - Townsend Saunders, Phoenix, Ariz., Sunkist Kids
2002 - Joe Corso, Des Moines, Iowa, Sunkist Kids