The following is a press release courtesy of Iowa State athletic communications.
AMES, Iowa – Earlier today, Amateur Wrestling News and The Open Mat announced its winners of the 2012-13 Amateur Wrestling News awards. Sophomore All-Americans Kyven Gadson and Michael Moreno each took home awards.
"I thank Amatuer Wrestling for all the well-deserved honors," ISU head coach Kevin Jackson said. "I’m really proud of both these guys. This just shows the hard work and dedication of both these young men and what were building towards here at Iowa State."
Gadson was named the 2013 “Comeback Wrestler of the Year” and received the “Courage Award”. The 197-pounder finished the season 30-4 with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines.
"Although the season didn’t end the way I wanted it to, it was nice to get some recognition," Gadson said. "The awards are a good stepping stone for this year."
The Waterloo, Iowa was sidelined most of last season, as he went down with a severe shoulder injury early in the year. Gadson’s father, Willie, who was a two-time conference champion and two-time All-American at Iowa State, passed away losing a yearlong battle with cancer a week before the NCAA Championships.
"It has definitely been a long year with everything myself and my family have been going through," Gadson said. "I thank my mom, coaches, family, friends and fans for all the support. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it all without them."
Head coach Kevin Jackson was there 100 percent of the way to help Gadson through this season.
"I don’t think he could have handled everything any better than he did," Jackson said. "Since day one of his dad’s diagnosis up until the day Willie passed, Kyven has handled everything like a mature adult. He’s handled it like a champion and was still able to compete at a high-level despite it all."
On March 9 in Stillwater, Okla. Gadson took home a the Big 12 title at his respective weight. The title made Gadson and his late father, Willie, the first father-son duo to win conference titles in the storied history of ISU wrestling.
"My dad helped instill a toughness factor in me," Gadson said. "He was a great mentor and an even better father."
Moreno was tabbed the 2013 “Most Improved College Wrestler”. The 165-pounder finished the season 31-10, placing sixth at the NCAA Championships. Last season while wrestling at 157 pounds, Moreno finished the year 4-17. The Urbandale, Iowa native’s 27-win improvement will go down as one of the greatest single season turnarounds in Cyclone history.
“I really changed my mindset this year,” Moreno said. “This year brought a ton of confidence to me and proved to our team that if we’re willing to put in another tough off-season of work, that anything is possible.”
Like Gadson, Moreno’s father, Mike, is also a former All-American at ISU. Moreno and Gadson, along with their father’s Mike and the late Willie, stamped their names in the ISU wrestling record books at the NCAA Championships in late March, as they became the first father-son duos in Cyclone singlets to become All-Americans.
13 more awards were handed out by AWN to some of the top college wrestling names in the country. Here’s a complete list of this year’s award winners:
Division I Assistant Coach of the Year 2013 – Mark Perry, Illinois.
True freshman of the Year 2013 – Nahshon Garrett, Cornell
Redshirt freshman of the Year 2013 – Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State
Upset of the Year 2013 – Todd Porter, Missouri over Chris Perry, Oklahoma State
Most Improved Division I Program 2013 – The Citadel
Breakout Wrestler of the Year 2013 – Undrakhbayar Khishgnyam, The Citadel
Most Improved College Wrestler 2013 – Mike Moreno, Iowa State
Comeback Wrestler of the Year 2013 – Kyven Gadson, Iowa State
Best Ambassador to the Sport 2013 – Jordan Burroughs, Team USA
Courage Award 2013 – Kyven Gadson, Iowa State
Division I Coach of the Year 2013 – John Smith, Oklahoma State
Fan Favorite 2013 – Kyle Dake, Cornell
Best Technical Wrestler 2013 – Kyle Dake, Cornell
Best non-DI Wrestler 2013 – Joey Davis, Notre Dame
Wrestler of the Year 2013 – Kyle Dake, Cornell