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Pizzo, Freeman earn state wrestling awards WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Ben Freeman of Walled Lake Central shows his Dave Schultz Award. (MIPrepZone photo).
  • Katlyn Pizzo was a winner in her first match of the D3 state tournament. (MIPrepZone file photo).
  • Walled Lake Central's Ben Freeman showed four fingers for four state titles. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Katylyn Pizzo of Clawson competes at the D3 state tournament. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Katlyn Pizzo had things under control during her first match at the D3 state tournament. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Ben Freeman of Walled Lake Central led wrestlers' entrance at the state tournament. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Walled Lake Central's Ben Freeman takes on Birmingham Groves' Colin Takata in the state finals. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • The Churella family with Mark (right) were among honorees. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Ben Freeman of Walled Lake Central was atop the podium as state champ. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Ben Freeman of Walled Lake Central competes at the state tournament. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Medal-laden Katlyn Pizzo had some fun after qualifying for state in cross country. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Ben Freeman takes a peek with his award. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Guests are on hand as Ben Freeman accepts his award. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Mark Churella Sr., a Farmington High graduate and state champion, had three sons who all attended Novi High and earned all-state honors. (MIPrepZone file photo)
  • Ben Freeman puts the pressure on his opponent. (MIPrepZone file photo)

Pizzo gets Tricia Saunders state, regional honor; Freeman earns Dave Schultz honor for Michigan

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ANN ARBOR - Now that the high school wrestling season is over, Walled Lake Central senior Ben Freeman can chow down all he wants.

He helped himself to a delicious meal Sunday during the National Wrestling Hall of Fame - Michigan Chapter ceremonies.

Even so, he’ll have to cut down his intake soon before taking part in a wrestling tournament next month in Lincoln, Neb.

Until then, Freeman, a four-time MHSAA state wrestling champion, can savor the Dave Schulz Excellence Award for Michigan as one of two high school award recipients for the event. Clawson’s Katlyn Pizzo, a Division 3 all-state wrestler in the boys tournament, earned the Michigan and Regional Tricia Saunders Award for Excellence.

“Each year we are pleased to honor these remarkable student-athletes who are inspirational role models because of their excellence on the wrestling mat, in the classroom and in their communities,” said Lee Roy Smith, executive director.

Freeman was only the fourth D1 wrestler to finish his high school career unbeaten as he finished with a 167-0 record.

It’s really gratifying … it’s really cool to get the award,” said Freeman, who will wrestle at the University of Michigan next season. Freeman, who has a 3.65 GPA, looked up the biography of Schulz and was impressed with him “as a person and a wrestler.”

Schulz was a 1982 NCAA champion at Oklahoma, won a 1984 Olympic berth and had won 10 national championships in international wrestling. His sportsmanship was unique. He learned Russian so that he could communicate with other wrestlers. He was training for the 1996 Olympic Trials when he was shot and killed by his employer at Team Foxcatcher.

Pizzo, a two-time state qualifier, reached the medal stand this past season by claiming eighth place in the D3 state tournament 103-pound class.

She earned a silver medal and helped the USA team win the 2016 Pan American Cadet Championships. She won the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals championship in 2016. She was cross country team captain four years, qualified for state three times. She lettered three years in track and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Tricia Saunders, of which the award is named, is a four-time world champion and women’s wrestling pioneer.

Pizzo was in Texas training with Team USA and was not able to be present at the ceremony, according to wrestling representatives.

Last Updated: 5/22/2017 8:51:47 PM EST

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