OREM, Utah – The Western Wrestling Conference announced its postseason award winners for the 2012-13 season on Thursday. The league's head coaches selected North Dakota State 125-pound senior Trent Sprenkle as the unanimous WWC Wrestler of Year, Air Force 125-pound freshman Josh Martinez*as the*WWC Freshman of the Year, and North Dakota State head*coach Roger Kish was chosen by his peers as the WWC Coach of the Year.
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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.
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NDSU 133-pounder Josh Rodriguez placed third in the balloting for WWC Freshman of the Year.
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Wrestler of the Year: North Dakota State – Trent Sprenkle, Sr., 125 lbs., Billings, Mont. (Billings HS)
Sprenkle had a stellar senior season that he capped off with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The NDSU senior had arguably the biggest upset victory of the tournament when he defeated the former two-time NCAA Champion and three-time NCAA finalist Matt McDonough of Iowa in the round of 12. The ninth-seeded Sprenkle went an impressive 6-2 at nationals, which included wins over the three-seed McDonough and the five-seed Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech in the fifth-place bout.*
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The Billings, Mont., native won his second consecutive West Regional/WWC Tournament title at 125 pounds and went an impressive 34-6 on the season. Sprenkle also went 16-2 in duals on the year, registered 10 pins, and went 12-4 versus ranked opponents, including five wins over top-10 opponents.*
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Sprenkle became NDSU’s highest ever nationally ranked wrestler as he was ranked as high as No. 4 during the season.*
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The three-time NCAA qualifier was named the WWC’s Most Outstanding Wrestler at the NCAA West Regional and will leave North Dakota State second all-time in wins with 109 career victories.*
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Freshman of the Year: Air Force – Josh Martinez, Fr., 125 lbs., Colorado Springs, Colo. (Pine Creek HS)
Martinez qualified for NCAA Championships for the first time by earning an automatic bid after he placed second at the West Regional/WWC Championships. At nationals, the 10th-seeded Air Force grappler made it to the round of 24 as he finished with a 1-2 record.*
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The Colorado, Springs, Colo., native finished the year with a 28-11 record. Those 28 wins included five over ranked opponents and three over eventual All-Americans. Eight of 11 losses on the season came to wrestlers seeded at the NCAA Championships.The 125-pound freshman compiled a 7-2 dual record, which included a 3-2 mark in WWC duals. *
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Martinez was ranked 10th on the final regular season InterMat poll, 11th on the final coaches poll and fifth on the final RPI. He was named the WWC Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 29 and placed third at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and fourth at the Southern Scuffle.
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Coach of the Year: Roger Kish (North Dakota State)
Kish, who just completed his second season as NDSU’s head coach, was named the 2012-13 WWC Coach of the Year. The honor is Kish’s first during his tenure at North Dakota State. This year, Kish led his team to its first regular season conference title with a perfect 5-0 league mark. He also led the Bison to a second place finish at the West Regional/WWC Tournament a month ago as NDSU (76) finished just three points back of Wyoming (79). *
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Kish led his 2012-13 club to a 10-8 overall record and had his team nationally ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll during the season as the Bison knocked off three ranked schools (No. 14 Wyoming, No. 24 Boise State, No. 25 Old Dominion). He also helped the Bison qualify four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships and coached NDSU’s first All-American since the school jumped up to the Division I level in Sprenkle.*
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