• Gilmer senior Matthew Waddell celebrates after winning his third individual state championship in February.
    Gilmer senior Matthew Waddell celebrates after winning his third individual state championship in February.

Waddell wins Schultz Award

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on May 1 announced the state and regional winners for the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award (DSHSEA), and Gilmer High School’s Matthew Waddell captured the honor for Georgia.

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

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.

“Each year we are pleased to honor these remarkable student-athletes, who are inspirational role models because of their excellence on the wrestling mat, in the classroom and in their communities,” said executive director Lee Roy Smith. “We take great pride in our high school excellence honorees and enjoy following their careers as they continue to be positive influences.”

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 the High School Excellence awards, and a committee, with input from Hall of Fame state chapters, selects state and regional winners. National winners are then chosen from the regional winners.

National winners of the DSHSEA award have combined to win 16 NCAA Division I individual titles led by four-time champion Logan Stieber (2010) and two-time winners Steven Mocco (2001), Zain Retherford (2013), David Taylor (2009) and Teyon Ware (2002). Retherford, who will look to win his third title in 2018, and Mark Hall (2016), who won as a freshman, both captured titles in 2017.

Waddell, a six-time All-American, will wrestle for the University of Oklahoma Sooners.

Times Courier

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