OREM, Utah – As voted by its coaches, the Western Wrestling Conference has announced postseason award winners for the 2013-14 season. North Dakota State 165-pound senior Steven Monk was the unanimous WWC Wrestler of Year. Wyoming 184-pound redshirt freshman Benjamin Stroh was named WWC Freshman of the Year and North Dakota State head man Roger Kish was chosen by his peers as the WWC Coach of the Year.
The Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches this past week, while the Coach of the Year balloting was determined after the NCAA West Regional/WWC Tournament.
Wrestler of the Year: North Dakota State – Steven Monk, Sr., 165 lbs., Wausau, Wis. (Wausau West HS)
Monk had a stellar senior season that he capped off with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The third-place finish is the highest national finish in North Dakota State and WWC history. The NDSU senior, who entered nationals as the No. 4 seed, defeated four fellow All-American finishers throughout the course of the season (those who placed 4th, 5th, 6th and & 7th at the NCAA Championships). Monk earned his third-place finish by going an impressive 5-1 at the NCAA Championships, with a fall over the three-seed from Virginia Nick Sulzer in the third-place bout. His lone loss of the tournament came to two-time National Champion and Dan Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor of Penn State in the semis. Monk finished his inaugural All-America run with three pins and a major decision at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
The Wausau, Wis., native won his third consecutive West Regional/WWC Tournament title at 165 pounds and went a stellar 36-2 on the season. Monk also went a perfect 18-0 in duals on the year, registered 14 pins, five technical falls, two major decisions and 14 decisions. He also posted a 27-match win streak during the season.
Monk became NDSU and the WWC’s highest ever nationally ranked wrestler as he was ranked as high as third during the season. Monk also finished the season fifth in the NCAA’s Most Dominant Wrestler standings, behind four national champions.
The three-time NCAA qualifier was named the WWC’s Most Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA West Regional and will leave North Dakota State with a career record of 134-24, including 90 wins in his final 100 matches. Monk was also recently named the Wrestler of the Year in the WWC by www.D1CollegeWrestling.net and was named a three-time WWC Wrestler of the Week during the season.
Freshman of the Year: Wyoming – Benjamin Stroh, RFr., 184 lbs., Harlem, Mont. (Chinook HS)
Stroh qualified for NCAA Championships for the first time by earning an automatic bid after winning the 184-pound title at the NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships. At nationals, the Wyoming redshirt freshman made it to the round of 24 as he finished with a 1-2 record.
The Harlem, Mont., native finished the year with a 28-8 record, which included five wins over ranked opponents. Stroh also went unbeaten in conference action with a unblemished 9-0 mark and 8-4 in duals. He also finished third on the Cowboy roster in wins with 28, third in dual victories (8), second in dual points (37), third in pins (8), fourth in major decisions (5), and also posted third-quickest pin (0:36). Stroh won titles at the Cowboy Open, Northwest Open, and Reno Tournament of Champions. Of his 28 victories, 13 came via bonus points and seven of his eight losses were against NCAA qualifiers.
Stroh finished the year ranked 17th on the final coaches poll and 28th on the final RPI. He was named the WWC Wrestler of the Week twice on the season and placed fifth at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Stroh was also named the Freshman of the Year in the WWC by www.D1CollegeWrestling.net.
Coach of the Year: Roger Kish (North Dakota State)
Kish, who just completed his third season as NDSU’s head coach, was named the 2013-14 WWC Coach of the Year. The honor is Kish’s second straight, as he also received the award for the 2012-13 season. This year, Kish led his team to its first-ever NCAA West Regional/WWC Tournament title. He also led the Bison to a second-place finish in the WWC regular season with a 4-1 conference dual record.
Kish led his 2013-14 club to a 11-7 overall record, which included a pair of victories over nationally ranked foes (No. 19 Chattanooga and No. 20 Oregon State). NDSU finished the season ranked 22nd on the final NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll but Kish and his Bison were ranked as high as 19th during the 2013-14 campaign. He also helped North Dakota State qualify four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships for the second straight season and coached NDSU and the league’s highest ever national placer in Monk.
The Western Wrestling Conference is comprised of six schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming. The conference formed in April 2006.
Western Wrestling Conference Postseason Awards 2014
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