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Chad Welch (H.M. @ 160) collected many honors during his senior year at Castle High School.

He won the Indiana High School Athletic Association state championship in wrestling at 160 pounds. He also won the 2001 National Championship in that weight class at the National High School Coaches Association Senior National Tournament in April.

Welch was named the most valuable player of the wrestling team as well as the Chris Knapp Award winner. The Castle faculty also awarded the Purdue-bound grad with the Crest Award.

On Monday at the Ridgway Center at the University of Evansville, Welch was nominated for yet another award. He is one of eight finalists for the second annual Southern Indiana Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year award.

?It?s huge,? Welch said. ?It?s been a privilege for me. I kind of knew about it, but I didn?t know what to expect. It?s pretty awesome.?

Despite his laundry list of accomplishments, Welch had no idea that he would be selected for the top athlete honor.

?If you were to tell me at the beginning of this year that I was going to do this, I probably would not have believed you,? Welch said. ?I had no idea. I?m just happy to be here.?

Before his senior season, Welch set two goals. One was to win the state championship, and the second was to win a national championship. Anything else he accomplished would simply be an added plus.

?This is just brownie points,? Welch said of the athlete of the year nomination. ?Being here, it just adds to the year.

For Full Artice By Andrew Macke, Warrick Publishing