Seniors Parker Wilkinson and Cody Wall won the two highest awards at the Mt. Carmel wrestling awards banquet held Sunday at the MCHS cafeteria.
Wilkinson won the John Gates Award, named after the legendary coach and Athletic Director who brought wrestling to the Hilltop in 1971.
“We started this award a couple of years ago to recognize a wrestler who demonstrates so many qualities that aren’t necessarily just about wrestling,” said Mt. Carmel coach Michael Cheesman. “Qualities of being a good student, a great leader on our team, but also is a good person in our community.”
The award is voted on by players and coaches, and includes a $100 scholarship.
Wall, who won 38 matches and advanced to the IHSA Class 1A state tournament at the State Farm Center in Champaign, won the team MVP award. Cheesman said he won for “his work ethic and the leadership that he has shown. Getting his name written on the wall in the wrestling room (for advancing to state) is a huge accomplishment.”
Sophomore Andrew Wise, who has advanced to state both years as an alternate, received the Most Promising Sophomore award. Luke Wolfe won the Most Improved award, while Austin Rodriguez won the Heart of a Champion award.
Freshman Aaron Wood, who won over 30 matches and advanced to state as an alternate, was tabbed Most Promising Freshman in voting by his peers.
William Dardeen was named the most valuable on the junior varsity team, though he also wrestled at the varsity level as well.
There were 19 wrestlers and two wrestlerettes in the program this year. Also honored were IKWF wrestlers.
Logan Johnson won what Cheesman called the “fun award for the year,” the 6-Pound Orange. It goes to the person “who tells little white lies about what they weigh,” an award Cheesman said he won twice himself while wrestling for his father, Pat Cheesman, at the Hilltop.
Coach Cheesman thanked his parents and brother Andrew (assistant coach) for all their assistance with the program and IKWF wrestlers. “I don’t think I could be more thankful to have a family that loves wrestling so much,” he said. “They are crazy about it.”
The Aces coach also thanked parents who performed several duties in support of the program.
Cheesman touched briefly on the Mt. Carmel Open, a fund-raising event held Saturday. He thanked those who helped as well as those wrestlers who took part.