Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award state, regional winners announced

Greg Kerkvliet recognized as Minnesota winner

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

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

The Hall of Fame will announce the state and regional winners of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award (TSHSEA) on Monday. 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.

Regional winners for both awards are selected from state winners, and the national winners will be chosen from the regional winners.

The national winner of the DSHSEA will be announced on Tuesday while the national winner of the TSHSEA will be announced on Wednesday. The national winners will be presented with their awards during the 43rd Annual Honors Weekend at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum on May 31-June 2 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. For information on Honors Weekend, visit nwhof.ticketleap.com or telephone (405) 377-5243.

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 Class of 2019 state and regional winners of our Dave Schultz High School Excellence award represent an outstanding group of students, athletes and citizens who are prepared to have a positive impact on our sport and society in the years to come,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “I want to thank our selection committee for the diligent work they have done, and hopefully this award will inspire each of these young and talented individuals to achieve lofty goals not only in wrestling but in their careers and lives.”

West Region winner Jaden Abas is the son of Gerry Abas, who was the first four-time All-American from California, reaching the NCAA Division I finals three times while capturing three Western Athletic Conference championships for Fresno State. His uncle, Stephen Abas, a Distinguished Member inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018, was a three-time national champion and a four-time All-American for Fresno State and an Olympic silver medalist in 2004.

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 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 19 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 2016 winner of the DSHSEA Mark Hall won an NCAA title as a freshman in 2017 while 2015 winner Zahid Valencia has won back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019.

The 2019 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award Regional Winners are:

West Region: Jaden Abas of San Diego, California, is a two-time California High School state champion and three-time state finalist for Rancho Bernardo High School. The son of Gerry and Virginia Abas, he was a Super 32 champion, a two-time Ironman finalist, a Cadet Freestyle finalist and a bronze medalist at the Junior Nationals in 2018. Abas has a GPA of 4.10 and has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Stanford University.

Central Region: Cohlton Schultz of Parker, Colorado, is a four-time Colorado High School state champion for Ponderosa High School. The son of Rick and Christy Schultz and Jessica Schultz, he had a high school record of 188-2 with 152 pins. Schultz has been a world team member six times and will compete in the Greco-Roman World Junior Championships in August. He won the Greco-Roman Cadet World Championship in 2017 and was a bronze medalist at the Greco-Roman Junior World Championships in 2018. Schultz was also on the U23 World Team in 2018, the Cadet World Team in 2016 and the Junior Worlds in 2017. He is a two-time Ironman Champion and a four-time finalist and a four-time Reno Tournament of Champions champion, earning Outstanding Wrestler honors in 2019. Schultz was a four-time Doc Buchanan Champion and was named Outstanding Wrestler in 2018 and 2019. He is a member of the Student Athletic Council and the Principal Interview Committee. He also volunteers as a motivational speaker and volunteers at Southeast Christian Church. Following his gold medal win in 2017, the mayor and Parker City Council declared October 17 as “Cohlton Schultz Day.” Schultz has a GPA of 3.25 and has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Arizona State University.

Midwest Region: Carson Kharchla of Powell, Ohio, is a two-time Ohio High School state champion for Olentangy Liberty High School. The son of Miron and Carson Kharchilava, he finished fourth at Junior Nationals in 2017 before winning the title in 2018. Kharchla won the FloWrestling Who’s #1 tournament and the Ironman Tournament in 2018 and was named Outstanding Wrestler by the Ohio State Wrestling Coaches Association in 2018-19. He has a GPA of 3.20 and has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Ohio State University.

Northeast Region: Michael Colaiocco of Sparta, New Jersey, is a four-time Beast of the East champion and a two-time champion and three-time finalist at Prep Nationals for Blair Academy. The son of Vincent and Elizabeth Colaiocco, he won the Major Ray Mendoza Award, which is presented to the wrestler who scores the most team points, at the 2017 Ironman and the 2019 Prep Nationals. Colaiocco finished first at Junior Nationals in 2018 after a fourth-place finish in 2017 and a sixth-place finish in 2016. He was the Outstanding Wrestler at the Beast of the East in 2017 and at the Geary Invitational in 2018. Colaiocco has a 5.20 GPA on a 6.0 scale and has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Pennsylvania University.

Southeast Region: Brevin Balmeceda of Miami, Florida, is a four-time Florida High School state champion, finishing with a career record of 331-18 for South Dade High School. The son of Victor and Susan Balmeceda, he is a three-time National High School Coaches Association national champion and won the Super 32 championship in 2017. He was named the 2019 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Wrestling. Balmeceda also competed on the swimming team and was a member of the district champion 100-meter relay team in 2017. He is a member of Best Buddies, where he is a peer mentor to mentally challenged students, while also serving as a team mentor for Special Olympics and as a peer athlete for Inclusionary Teams. Balmeceda has a 3.79 GPA and has signed a letter of intent to wrestle for Oklahoma State 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

2019 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award State Winners

State – Name, High School, Hometown, College Attending
Alabama – Christian Knop, Alexandria High School, Anniston, North Carolina State
Alaska – Luciano Fasulo, Homer High School, Anchor Point
Arizona – Marcus Castillo, Mountain View High School, Tucson, University of Arkansas – Little Rock
Arkansas – Jake Turner, Rogers High School, Rogers, University of Arkansas – Little Rock
California – Jaden Abas, Rancho Bernardo High School, San Diego, Stanford University
Colorado – Cohlton Schultz, Ponderosa High School, Parker, Arizona State University
Connecticut – Sean Johnson, HH Ellis Technical High School, Ashford
Delaware – Anthony Caruso, Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes
Florida – Brevin Balmeceda, South Dade High School, Miami, Oklahoma State University
Georgia – Kyle Gollhofer, Woodland High School, Acworth, University of Northern Iowa
Hawaii – Rysan Leong, Kalaheo High School, Kailua
Idaho – Ridge Lovett, Post Falls High School, Post Falls, University of Nebraska
Illinois – Luke Luffman, Urbana High School, Urbana, University of Illinois
Indiana – Asa Garcia , Avon High School, Indianapolis, Indiana University
Iowa – Cade DeVos, Southeast Polk High School, Altoona, South Dakota State
Kansas – Wyatt Hendrickson, Newton High School, Newton, Air Force Academy Prep School
Kentucky – Zane Brown, Male High School, Louisville, Lindsey Wilson College
Louisiana – Patrick Evans, Brother Martin High School, New Orleans, University of Virginia
Maine – Noah Lang, Camden Hills Regional High School
Maryland – Jason Kraisser Centennial High School, Ellicott City, Campbell University
Massachusetts – Ryan Garlitz, St. John’s Preparatory School, Manchester, University of Maryland
Michigan – Cameron Amine, Detroit Catholic Central, Brighton, University of Michigan
Minnesota – Greg Kerkvliet, Simley Senior High School, Simley, Ohio State University
Missouri – Kai Orine, Seckman High School, Imperial, North Carolina State
Montana – Michael Weber, Forsyth High School, Forsyth, North Dakota State University
Nebraska – Phillip Moomey, Kearney High School, Kearney, Cornell University
Nevada – Steele Dias, Green Valley High School, Henderson
New Hampshire – Conner McGonagle, Timberlane Regional High School, Danville, Lehigh University
New Jersey – Michael Colaiocco, Blair Academy, Sparta, Pennsylvania University
New Mexico – Zeke Marquez, Silver High School, Silver City, Lander University
New York – Adam Busiello, Eastport South Manor High School, Manorville, Arizona State University
North Carolina – Nathan Dugan, Lake Norman High School, Mooresville, Princeton
North Dakota – Kyle Burwick, Hettinger High School, Hettinger, University of Wisconsin
Ohio – Carson Kharchla, Olentangy Liberty High School, Powell, Ohio State University
Oklahoma – Zane Coleman, Choctaw High School, Choctaw, Arizona State University
Oregon – Sean Harman, West Linn High School, West Linn, University of Missouri
Pennsylvania – Ryan Anderson, Bethlehem Catholic High School, Hackettstown, Iowa State
Rhode Island – Sean Caltagirone, Coventry High School, Coventry
South Carolina – Chandler Smalley, Abbeville High School, Donalds, Lander University
South Dakota – Caden Lamer, Tri-Valley High School, Colton, South Dakota State University
Tennessee – Mason Reiniche, Baylor School, Soddy Daisy, Cornell University
Texas – Aidan Conner, Highland Park High School, Dallas, Princeton
Utah – Terrell Barraclough, Layton High School, Kaysville, Penn State University
Vermont – Dakota Peters, Rutland High School, Rutland
Virginia – John Birchmeier, Broad Run High School, Ashburn, United States Naval Academy
Washington – Brenden Chaowanapibool, Bonney Lake High School, Auburn, United States Air Force Academy
West Virginia – Brandon Holt, St. Albans High, Elkview
Wisconsin – Eric Barnett, Hortonville High School, Greenville, University of Wisconsin
Wyoming – Donny Proffit, Kemmerer High School, Diamondville

All-Time National Winners of Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award
2018 – David Carr, Perry High School, Massillon, Ohio
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, 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 www.NWHOF.org.

Would you like to receive the latest Minnesota wrestling news in your inbox?