Air Force Wrestling Announces 2007-08 Team Awards
May 1, 2008
USAFA, Colo. - Air Force head wrestling coach is proud to announce the recipients of the 2007-08 team awards, handed out during the team's annual awards banquet Tuesday evening.
The Falcons' top awardwinner this year was senior Jake Kriegbaum (Abilene, Kan.), named the 2007-08 Outstanding Wrestler. Kriegbaum, a three-time NCAA participant, captured the Western Wrestling Conference title at 141 pounds and was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the tournament. He closed out the season with a 25-13 record after going 2-2 at the NCAA Championships.
The Most Falls Award, given to the wrestler who earned the most wins by fall on the season, was presented to senior captain Chris Szabolcs (Westlake, Ohio). Szabolcs led the team with seven wins by fall, with a fastest fall of 1:31.
The recipient of the Most Improved Award was senior Jacob Devlin (Livingston, N.J.). Devlin had his best season as a Falcon, finishing the year with a 22-20 overall record and earning his first-ever NCAA Championship appearance. Devlin, who took fourth-place at the All-Academy Championships, was the 184-pound runner-up in the Western Wrestling Conference and picked up two wins at the national tournament.
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 senior manager Ajvish Varatharaj and sophomore Justin Shadrix (Bremen, Ga.). Varatharaj, a team manager for four years, has worked hard behind the scenes to assist the coaches in whatever has been needed. Meanwhile, Shadrix has demonstrated his leadership by his willingness to step into the lineup wherever necessary to give the team success.
Also handed out Tuesday 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 was sophomore Tyler French (Malta, Mont.). French, an NCAA qualifier and WWC champion at 174 pounds, held the team's highest winning percentage, putting together a 26-12 overall record despite battling injury for parts of the season.
A series of recognition awards were also handed out at the banquet. Szabolcs was honored as the team captain, while junior Stephen Crozier (Monona, Iowa), an NCAA qualifier and member of the WWC All-Conference and All-Academic teams, was the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete Award. Crozier, named the team captain for the 2008-09 season, was also given the Commitment to Excellence Award, granted to the cadet with the best all-around performance at the Academy (academics, military and athletics).
The Falcons, who graduate seniors Greg Adam, Devlin, Tony Dorward, A.J. Harris, Kriegbaum, Duane Miller, Anthony Stegeman, Szabolcs, Zach Valdez and Varatharaj, finished the 2007-08 season with a 9-9 overall record, 3-2 mark in the Western Wrestling Conference and a second-place finish at the WWC Tournament. Air Force, finished with five finalists--Kriegbaum, French, Devlin, Crozier and Dorward--at the WWC Tournament, and sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. In addition, Sharratt was named the Western Wrestling Conference Coach of the Year.