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UCO’s Streck Named D2 Wrestler of the Year

MANHEIM, Pa. (April 7) – Shawn Streck couldn’t have written a better script for his junior season at Central Oklahoma.

The agile 260-pounder went a perfect 26-0 to become UCO’s first-ever heavyweight national champion in helping lead the Bronchos to their 16th team title and Friday was named the NCAA Division II Wrestler of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

“It feels really good,” Streck said on hearing the news. “I’m grateful to my teammates and coaches for all they did to help me get to this point, all credit goes to them. An award like this makes me realize people appreciate the work I put in.”

Streck joins Chris Watson (2015) and Heath Gray (2020) as UCO individuals to win Division II’s top award, which started in 2008 and is voted on by every head coach in the country.

“This is an amazing achievement for Shawn and he earned it,” head coach Todd Steidley said. “He won at what I think was the strongest weight in the country this year. Shawn’s a guy who comes to the room every day ready to work and we’re excited for all the success he’s had.”

Streck missed the first month of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, debuting at the Drury Open on Dec. 3. He breezed to that title, then added gold medals at the prestigious Midwest Classic and the Division II Super Regional IV Tournament in earning the No. 1 seed for the national meet.

Streck made that stand up with four easy decisions during the NCAA Division II Championships March 10-11 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, capped by an 8-3 finals win over Glenville State’s Jared Campbell.

His 26-0 campaign included 16 bonus-point wins (nine falls, six major decisions, one technical fall). Streck held an astounding 123-1 takedown advantage this season, giving up his lone takedown in an 8-3 win over Lander’s Juan Edmond-Holmes in the national tournament quarterfinals.

The Merrillville, Ind. native was a high school All-American and started his collegiate career at Division I Purdue, qualifying for the national tournament as a redshirt freshman there.

He was out of wrestling for several years before coming to UCO at the semester break last season and went on to earn All-America honors with a sixth-place national finish after defaulting his last two matches with injury.

“I was new to UCO last year and things I planned didn’t go my way, but it was different this year,” Streck said. “I had the whole year with the guys and the coaches and I felt more comfortable and settled in.

“Coach Chenny (assistant Scott Chenoweth) was amazing. He really helped me, from training to match strategy and everything else. I was more confident this year and carried that into the national tournament.”

So what does the reigning national champion and newly-minted Division II Wrestler of the Year do for an encore as a senior in 2023-24?

“Honestly this doesn’t change much for me,” Streck said. “I’m going to continue to put the work in, both in the wrestling room and the weight room, and wrestle in as many off-season tournaments as I can.

“I’m really thankful for the position I’m in right now. I love that I’m a part of this program and appreciate everything UCO has done for me.”

The Broncho wrestling family feels the same way.

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