Air Force Wrestling Announces 2008-09 Team Awards
April 17, 2009
USAFA, Colo. - The top awardwinners for the Air Force wrestling team were honored Thursday night at the team's annual banquet. Earning top honors was senior captain Stephen Crozier (Monona, Iowa), who was named the 2008-09 Outstanding Wrestler.
Crozier earned second-team All-WWC for the second-consecutive year after placing as the runner-up at 174 pounds at this year's West Regional. Crozier, who started the season wrestling at 165 pounds, compiled a 5-2 record as the starter at 174 pounds, including a 3-1 mark at the West Regional. Crozier, also a three-time academic all-conference selection, ended the 2009 season with a 25-16 overall record, leading the Falcons in total wins for the second-straight season.
Crozier, honored as the Falcons' team captain, also earned the Commitment to Excellence Award for the second year in a row. The award is granted to the cadet with the best all-around performance at the Academy (academics, military and athletics). Meanwhile, sophomore Brett Boyce (Brigham City, Utah), the team member with the highest GPA, was the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award.
Earning Most Improved honors was junior Joshua Smith (Orem, Utah). Smith, who returned to the team after a two-year mission, saw significant action in the second half of the season, bringing home an individual title at the Fort Hays Open, before finishing the season with a 10-7 overall record.
The Coaches Appreciation Award was presented to a pair of individuals whose consistent hard work have helped the team immensely. This year's winners were junior Samuel Sheppard (Ramstein AB, Germany) and sophomore manager Joseph Cook. Sheppard, a 125-pounder, has demonstrated his leadership by his willingness to step into the lineup wherever necessary, often wrestling up two weight classes, to give the team a greater chance of success. Meanwhile, Cook, has consistently worked hard behind the scenes to assist the coaches in whatever has been needed.
The Most Falls Award, given to the wrestler who earned the most wins by fall on the season, was presented to junior Stephen Makuka (Columbus, N.J.). Although his season was cut short by an ACL injury, Makuka still managed to recrord the most pins, registering wins by fall in six of his nine victories.
Also handed out Thursday was the Wayne Baughman/A-10 Wart Hog Award. Named in part for the Falcons' former head coach, the award is earned by the wrestler who, like Coach Baughman and the A-10 Wart Hog, is relentless and aggressive, demonstrates an unwavering determination to succeed and who embodies good sportsmanship and team spirit. The recipient of this year's award for the second-straight season was junior Tyler French (Malta, Mont.). French, an NCAA qualifier in 2008, battled back from a lingering injury to get back on the mat this season. Although his season ended prematurely, French was still able to post a winning record, despite wrestling hurt.
The Falcons, who graduate seniors Joseph Brock, Casey Butikofer, Crozier, Zac Pendleton, Juancarlos Pino and Sterling Tribble, finished the 2008-09 season with a 4-12 overall record and sixth-place finish at the WWC Tournament.