Every year at the ASICS Junior National Championships, the ASICS High School Wrestlers of the Year are announced. This recognizes the top high school athlete in the nation, regardless of age level.
This year’s recipients are Morgan McIntosh of California for boys and Jenna Burkert of New York for girls.
McIntosh, a 2010 ASICS Junior Nationals champion, won three California state high school titles for Calvary Chapel High School. He was named the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner on the national level by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, based upon athletic and academic achievement and community service.
McIntosh is expected to compete this week at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals in freestyle. He will attend Penn State in the fall.
Burkert was fourth at the 2011 U.S. Senior Open, and was a member of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games team. She won the FILA Junior Nationals title this spring and qualified for the Junior World Team at the Body Bar Nationals.
Burkett attended Marquette High School in Michigan, where she is a member of the U.S. Olympic Education Center (USOEC) program.
Burkett will not be competing this week at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals, as she is in her final week of training for the Junior World Championships which take place next week in Bucharest, Hungary.
Burkert becomes only the second girl to win the award twice, joining California’s Tatiana Padilla who was honored in 2007 and 2008. No boy has ever won this award twice.
The program began in 1986, when California’s Laurence Jackson was named as the first ASICS High School Boys Wrestler of the Year. With the growth of women’s wrestling, the first ASICS Girls High School Wrestler of the Year was recognized in 2001, with Toccara Montgomery of Ohio receiving the award.
Looking back over the history of the program, the winners have gone on to achieve great things at the higher levels of wrestling.
Olympic champion Henry Cejudo of Colorado was the 2006 boys winner. Others who have made Olympic teams for the United States include boys recipients Oscar Wood of Oregon, Cary Kolat of Pennsylvania, Joe Williams of Illinois and Steve Mocco of New Jersey and girls Toccara Montgomery of Ohio and Ali Bernard of Minnesota.
World medalists who are past winners include girls Montgomery and Padilla, plus boys Kolat and Williams.
Wrestlers who have won multiple NCAA Div. I titles included Kolat, Williams, Mocco and Damion Hahn of New Jersey. Others won an NCAA Div. I title were Alan Fried of Ohio, Jesse Jantzen of New York, Zach Esposito of New Jersey, Dustin Schlatter of Ohio and Troy Nickerson of New York.
Future winners of this award may be competing this weekend in Fargo. A large majority of past winners have either won titles here or have been multiple All-Americans on the Junior or Cadet levels.