By Ed Greif
The Stone Memorial wrestling team received their letter awards and special awards during their annual luncheon Sunday afternoon in the school lobby.
"As most of you know, wrestling is a very tough sport, the toughest in high school. To earn a varsity letter in wrestling, boys must earn 30 varsity points without forfeits, wrestle in 75 percent of our varsity matches, complete two full seasons or complete their senior season," said Coach Brian Parker.
"We are very proud of the wrestlers who made it through the whole season, but did not meet the criteria to letter. For these wrestlers, we have the SMHS wrestling DVD that you are watching," added Parker.
Non-lettermen were Marco Hernandez, Joe Staton, Steven Amsden, Blake Hicks, Justin Woolfrom, Mtizi Dominquez, Mackenie Wylie and Nicole Towell.
Lettermen receive a letter and a wrestler pin or bar for lettering multiple years.
Varsity letter winners were Laura Napier, Achaia McDonough, Cody McCarl, Ismael Matias, Chandler Brickle, Jacob Flannery, Connor Heavilon, Joel Hernandez, Conner Crockett, Christian Staton, Juan Loza, Justin Johnson, Dakota Karge, Chase Eichner, Ethan Robinson (manager) and Zach McAdoo (manager).
Captain's pins were presented to McCarl, Heavilon, Eichner and Johnson.
Parker recognized the state qualifiers — McCarl, Johnson, Napier, Matias, Karge, McDonough, Heavilon and Eichner.
McCarl received a Century Club patch for reaching 100 varsity pins in his career. He finishes with 133 victories, good for second-place all-time.
Eichner was Most Improved.
"The Most Improved Wrestler award goes to the wrestler who most improves his winning percentage and technique from the previous season. There were four wrestlers who really improved this year, but Chase had the highest increase over last year, as well as improvements in all areas of his technique. He increased his win percentage by more than 23 percent over last season with a record of 32-12," said Parker.
Heavilon won the Panther Pride Award, which goes to the wrestler who possesses all the attributes the coach want in his wrestlers, such as work ethic, leadership, character, courage and wrestling ability.
"Conner has shown great improvement in all of these areas since the season began. He struggled with some tough losses during the season, but by the end of the season, he overcame these losses, nearly won the region and won two matches in the state tournament," added Parker.
Alegria won the Most Outstanding Freshman Award, which goes to the freshman who scores the most varsity points for the team.
"Anthony was a nice surprise for us this year since he was also a rookie. With 15 varsity wins, which is five more than any other freshman, he's your Most Valuable Freshmen," said Parker.
McCarl won Most Outstanding Wrestler honors which goes to the grappler who scores the most points for his team in dual and tournament competition.
"Cody had 40 points this season and qualified for the state, again. He also led the field in pins with 26 on the season. While one other wrestler had the same number of pins, they could not reach the pin total of his," Parker continued.
Record holders this season were McCarl, most pins in a season (26, tied for third), most wins in a season (40, ties for third); most wins in a career (133, second behind Zach Heavilon); and most pins in a career (79, tied for second with John Adams); and Johnson, most wins in a season (40, tied for third).
"It real fun wrestling with you guys. I will miss you," said McCarl.
Parker recognized assistant coach Nathan Hoffman.
"Nathan has been such a life-save this year. He was always there when I needed him and picked up my many of the duties of the assistant we lost without batting an eye. He is great with the kids and I don't think I realized how valuable he is until I considered the possibility of not having an assistant at all. He will be very difficult to replace. We are really going to miss him as he goes to live closer to family. We wish you and your family best of luck in your future," said Parker.
"It was a pleasure working with you guys. I will miss you a lot," said Hoffman.