This page was last updated on: June 24, 2018
Connecticut Chapter
National Wrestling Hall of Fame
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Connecticut Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Connecticut chapter scholarships
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National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Connecticut Chapter
Scholarship Application
Scholar Athlete 
This scholarship will be awarded annually. Requirements include:
• Be a senior, 4 year wrestler
• Have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale or 80% of an alternative scale at conclusion of the junior year
• Be a top three place winner in a CIAC divisional tournament (Class LL, L, M, S) at least once in career
• Be a top five place winner in the State Open at least once in career

Please include information about additional accomplishments in CIAC divisional, State Open
and New England tournaments along with information about extracurricular activities and prominent roles in school and/or the community to support the nomination.

Career Achievement 
This scholarship will be awarded annually. Requirements include:
• Be a senior, 4 year wrestler
• Have a GPA of at least 2.8 on a 4.0 scale or 70% of an alternative scale at the conclusion of the junior year
• Be a CIAC divisional tournament (Class LL, L, M, S) champion at least once during career
• Be a top three place winner in State Open at least once during career
• New England champion or place winner supports nomination
• Repeating as champion at the divisional tournament and State Open is strong criteria
• Out-of-season accomplishments strengthen nomination

Please include information about additional accomplishments at the New England tournament
and off-season wrestling tournaments to support your application. Multiple titles at the CIAC divisional and State Open tournaments will benefit your application.

Erik Weihenmayer Scholarship 
This scholarship will be awarded in those years when a deserving candidate is nominated.
Requirements include:
• Be a senior, 3 year wrestler
• Demonstrated the ability to overcome exceptional adversity

The recipient of this scholarship lives by the message written by Weihenmayer in his book, The Adversity Advantage: "I believe that inside each of us is something I can only describe as a light, which has the capacity to feed on adversity, to consume it like fuel. When we tap into that light, every frustration, every setback, every obstacle becomes a source to power our lives forward. The greater the challenge, the brighter the light burns. Through it, we become more focused, more creative, more driven, and can even learn to transcend our own perceived limitations to bring our lives more meaning."

About Erik Weihenmayer
The scholarship awarded for overcoming adversity is named after Mr. Erik Weihenmayer, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. A former middle
school teacher and wrestling coach, Erik is one of the most exciting and well-known athletes in the world. Despite losing his vision at the age of 13, Erik has become an accomplished mountain climber, paraglider, and skier, who has never let his blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life.

On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the only blind man in history to reach the summit of the world's highest peak - Mount Everest. On August 20, 2008, when he stood on top of Carstenz Pyramid, the tallest peak in Austral-Asia, Weihenmayer completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits - the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Erik is joined by fewer than 100 mountaineers who have accomplished this feat. Additionally, he has scaled El
Capitan, a 3,300-foot overhanging granite monolith in Yosemite; Lhosar; a 3,000-foot ice waterfall in the himalayas; and a difficult and rarely climbed rock face on 17,000-foot Mt. Kenya. More information can be found at www.touchthetop.com
Weihenmayer was 
a wrestler at 
Weston High School
How to apply
1. Download the application
2. Include recommendations from your coach, guidance counselor and a school administrator. 
3. Follow the instructions in the application.
4. Send to Ted Oczkowski, 79 Governor's Hill Road, Oxford, CT 06478
5. Scholarship applications close on March 15.  Deadline to apply is March 15 of the current year.

Selection committee
The scholarship selection committee is comprised of the Executive Board of the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. If you have any questions about submitting an application or the scholarship process, please e-mail chapter president Ted Ockowski at ctcoy2002@yahoo.com.
Tyler Tilbe
Erik Weinhenmayer scholarship
Jake Odell
Scholar Athlete 
Photo courtesy Martha Marteney, Reminder News
Patrick Gillen
Career Achievement
Photo courtesy Connecticut Post
2017 HOF Scholarships
Chapter honors two with HOF scholarships
​The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded $500 scholarships to three deserving athletes who will be continuing their education in college this fall. 

Ellis Tech’s Baltazar Gonzalez has been awarded the Career Achievement scholarship while Newtown’s Ed Lovely was awarded the Scholar Athlete award.

Gonzalez is a two-time New England, State Open and Class M champion. He earned All-American honors at the National High School Coaches Association Senior Nationals in March by finishing seventh. Gonzalez finished with a career record of 171-10 and 93 pins.

He was named the Connecticut winner of the Dave Schultz award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He plans to study at American International College in Springfield.

Gonzalez, the outstanding wrestler at the 2016 State Open, is a youth wrestling coach with the Silverbacks Wrestling Club in Willimantic and has served as a summer youth counselor and mentor for the Windham Recreation Department.

Lovely, who had a GPA of 3.55, won the Class LL championship this winter, finished third at the State Open and second in New England. He was a four-time Class LL finalist.

He was a NHSCA All-American in 2015 and a four-time All-Academic selection by the Southwest Conference. Lovely was a 2014 NHSCA Academic All-American. He will attend Roger Williams University in the fall.

It’s the seventh year that the chapter has awarded scholarships to deserving athletes. The chapter has awarded $8,000 in scholarships to students over the last seven years.

​2016 HOF Scholarships
Chapter honors three with HOF scholarships
​The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded $500 scholarships to three deserving athletes who will be continuing their education in college this fall. 

Fairfield Warde’s Charles Kane has been awarded the Career Achievement scholarship while New Fairfield’s Alec Opsal and New Milford’s Bryan Rojas were each awarded a Scholar Athlete award.

Kane is a two-time New England and State Open champion. He won two Class L titles and one Class LL crown. He is 120-2 in his career, finishing undefeated his junior (48-0) and senior (34-0) seasons. 

Kane missed his entire sophomore year with a back injury. He also won a 2015 USA Wrestling Northeast Regional Junior Division championship in freestyle at 145 pounds, earning Outstanding Wrestler honors. In 2015, he was named state wrestler of the year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and MSG Varsity.

Opsal has a 4.0 average and is ranked in the top five percent of his class at New Fairfield where he was a two-time State Open champion winning at 120 pounds as a senior and 113 as a junior. He was 42-4 with 24 pins as a senior and 40-6 with 22 pins as a junior. 

Opsal won seven tournaments as a senior. He earned All-American honors by placing eighth at the National High School Coaches Association’s Junior Nationals in 2015. Opsal will be studying aeronautical engineering at the Air Force Academy next fall. He also plans to wrestle for Air Force, too.

Rojas has a 3.96 average at New Milford High and is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. This season, he won a Class L title at 145, took second at the State Open and fifth in New England. He was 47-5 this winter and finished with a career record of 159-32 and with 88 pins. Rojas will be attending New York University next fall.

It’s the sixth year that the chapter has awarded scholarships to deserving athletes.

​2015 HOF Scholarships
Garcia, Murillo honored with HOF scholarships
The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded $500 scholarships to two deserving athletes who will be continuing their education in college this fall. Danbury’s Juan (Johnny) Garcia has been awarded the Career Achievement scholarship while Southington’s Zack Murillo has been awarded the Scholar Athlete award.

Garica was a four-year wrestler at Danbury High where he won three FCIAC championships, three CIAC Class LL titles and two State Open championships in 2014 and 2015. This past winter, Garcia (47-4) won his first New England championship at 182 pounds, going undefeated against New England competition. He was second in New England at 170 pounds in 2014 and third at 160 in 2013.

Garcia became just the second wrestler in state history to earn All-American honors four times at the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) national tournaments. He was second in his weight class in 2013 and 2014. He was also named to Wrestling USA magazine’s All-American team. 

Garcia will attend Notre Dame College in South Euclid Ohio, where he plans to wrestle. Notre Dame College is a top 10 wrestling program in NCAA Division II, winning the national title in 2014. The Falcons also won two NAIA national titles in 2010 and 2011 before they moved to the NCAA.

Murillo is ranked in the top 10 percent of his class and will be named to the NHSCA Academic All-American team this month. 

This winter, Murillo (45-3) won 12 consecutive post-season matches and became the first Southington High wrestler to win a New England championship. He also won the Class LL and State Open championship at 106 pounds.

He had a career record of 130-35 and twice finished second at USA Wrestling’s national freestyle championship tournament in Fargo, N.D., in 2014 and 2013. In 2014, he was also second at USA Wrestling’s Greco-Roman tournament.

He was selected as the 2015 Connecticut winner of the Dave Schultz Excellence award, presented by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame to recognize excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service.

Murillo will attend Wesleyan where he plans to study pre-med and compete on the Cardinal wrestling team at 125 pounds.

2014 scholarships
Jack, Kilpatrick honored with HOF scholarships
The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded $500 scholarships to two deserving athletes who will be continuing their education in college this fall. Danbury’s Kevin Jack has been awarded the Career Achievement scholarship while Bacon Academy’s Howard Kilpatrick has been awarded the Scholar Athlete award.

Jack is one of just 12 wrestlers in Connecticut history to have won three State Open championships. He went 52-2 as a senior this year and won his second straight New England championship, where he was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. He finished third at the National High School Coaches Association’s Senior National tournament to earn NHSCA All-America honors for the third time.

Jack won three FCIAC and three Class LL championships. He was selected as the 2014 Connecticut winner of the Dave Schultz Excellence award, presented by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame to recognize excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service. Jack will attend North Carolina State in the fall.

Kilpatrick went 87-5 over the past two seasons and won consecutive Class M and State Open championships. A member of the National Honor Society at Bacon Academy, Kilpatrick earned a 3.87 GPA and was a two-time NSCHA Academic All-America selection. He was recently named as the Norwich Bulletin’s wrestler of the year.

Kilpatrick also played soccer in the fall and lacrosse in the spring for the Bobcats. He will be studying at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in the fall where he aims to become a physician assistant.

It is the fourth year that the chapter has awarded scholarships to deserving athletes.

2013 scholarships
Antler, Tepper honored with HOF scholarships
The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded $500 scholarships to two deserving athletes who will be continuing their education in college this fall. Xavier’s Elliott Antler has been awarded the Career Achievement scholarship while Danbury’s Zack Tepper has been awarded the Scholar Athlete award.

Antler will be attending West Virginia University this fall. He had an outstanding senior season for the Falcons, wrestling at 170 pounds. He won the Class LL, State Open and New England championship, posting an undefeated 46-0 campaign.

He was selected as the wrestler of the year by the New Haven Register and Hartford Courant. He was also selected as the Dave Schultz award winner in Connecticut by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Antler won the Class LL title three times and captured three Southern Connecticut Conference championships. An opportunity to win a fourth SCC title evaporated when the league meet was cancelled due to a February blizzard. Antler also played four years of football at Xavier, which has won the last two Class LL state titles.

Tepper wrestled for four years at Danbury and finished his high school career with a 4.06 grade point average (weighted). He earned Academic All-State honors three times and was twice recognized as a Scholar Athlete by the CIAC. Tepper is a member of the National Honor Society at Danbury High and was a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.

On the mat, he was a two-year captain at Danbury and won a FCIAC championship in 2012 at 120 pounds. As a senior, he was second in Class LL at 138 pounds and fourth at the State Open. As a junior, he was second in Class LL at 120. In the community, he was a volunteer coach and practice partner with the Danbury Youth Wrestling Association and participated in the Community Change Projects in the greater Danbury area.

2012 scholarships
Kirkegard, Walsh recognized with HOF scholarships
The Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has selected two outstanding student athletes to receive $750 college scholarships.

New Milford’s Conor Kirkegard has been selected to receive the Career Achievement scholarship while Griswold’s Brandon Walsh has been chosen to receive the Scholar Athlete scholarship.

Kirkegard was the first New England champion in New Milford history in 2011. He also won four Southwest Conference championships, three Class L titles and two State Open championships while winning a school-record 171 matches in his career (171-11). Kirkegard had 109 pins in his career and won 89 straight matches at one point. He earned Academic All-State honors three times.

Walsh, who had a grade point average of 3.4 out of 4.0, twice earned Academic All-American honors from the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) as a junior in 2011 and as a senior in 2012. He won a New England championship, two State Open titles and three Class S crowns. In 2010, he finished fourth at the NHSCA’s sophomore national tournament to earn All-American honors. A four-time Academic All-State recipient, he was named the Scholar Athlete of the Year at the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s All-State wrestling banquet in March. He finished his career with a record of 178-23.

It is the second year that the chapter has awarded scholarships to deserving high school wrestlers.

2011 scholarships
CT chapter of HOF awards three 
college scholarships
The Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has selected three outstanding student athletes to receive $500 college scholarships.

Shelton High’s Patrick Gillen has been selected to receive the career achievement scholarship, South Windsor’s Jake Odell has been chosen to receive the scholar athlete scholarship and Nonnewaug’s Tyler Tilbe has been selected to receive the Erik Weihenmayer scholarship for overcoming exceptional adversity.

Gillen, who will be wrestling for the University of Virginia next fall, finished second in the recent National High School Coaches Association national tournament in Virginia at 215 pounds. Gillen, who won a state record 204 matches, won two New England championships and two State Open championships wrestling for Shelton High. This season, Gillen was 53-1 and was named the outstanding wrestler in six tournaments, including the Class LL, State Open and New England championships.

Odell, who has a grade point average of just over 3.5 out of 4.0, is a member of the National Honor Society, who competed in wrestling and football at South Windsor High. He was recognized four times as an Academic All-State wrestler, won two Class LL championships and captured his first State Open title at 152 pounds this winter. He finished in the top three of his respective Class LL weight class all four years.

Tilbe is the first two-time State Open champion from Nonnewaug and the Berkshire League despite wrestling with Tourette syndrome. He earned a school-record 160 victories, won three Class S championships and four Berkshire League titles. He earned Academic All-State honors for four straight years and was an Academic All-American as a junior. He wrestled at 125 pounds as a senior.

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. It has challenged Tilbe on and off the mat. “When I’m in the middle of an intense match and my brain suddenly decides that it wants me to step on a line a certain way or kick the back of my heel with my other foot, this can cause a problem,” Tilbe said. “This puts me out of position and averts my attention. Until I complete this action that the Tourette syndrome tells me to do, it is very difficult to focus on anything else other than that twich.”
Brandon Walsh
Scholar Athlete
Conor Kirkegard
Career Achievement
Scholarship 
honor roll

Scholar Athlete
2018: Demetre Carnot, Maloney
2017: Ed Lovely, Newtown
2016: Alec Opsal, New Fairfield and Bryan Rojas, New Milford
2015: Zack Murillo, Southington
2014: Howard Kilpatrick, Bacon Academy
2013: Zach Tepper, Danbury
2012: Brandon Walsh, Griswold
2011: Jake Odell, South Windsor

Career Achievement
2017: Baltazar Gonzalez, Ellis Tech
2016: Charles Kane, Fairfield Warde
2015: Juan (Johnny) Garcia, Danbury
2014: Kevin Jack, Danbury
2013: Elliott Antler, Xavier
2012: Conor Kirkegard, New Milford
2011: Patrick Gillen, Shelton

Erik Weinhenmayer
2018: Jarod Kosman, Fitch
2011: Tyler Tilbe, Nonnewaug

2018 HOF Scholarships
Chapter honors two with HOF scholarships
​The Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded $500 scholarships to two deserving athletes who will be continuing their education in college this fall.

Jarod Kosman of Fitch in Groton has been awarded the Eric Weihenmayer Scholarship while Demetre Carnot of Maloney High in Meriden was awarded the Scholar Athlete award.

Kosman was recognized with the Eric Weihenmayer Scholarship for his excellence mat and for the exceptional adversity and challenges he has overcome to succeed. 

For the last four years, Kosman has to strictly regulate his diet to avoid high protein foods. His body lacks an amino acid and enzyme that helps break down protein in his body. He is allowed 40 grams of protein per day. He eats no meat and no dairy. He has measure everything he consumes.

Kosman, who will attend the University of Maryland, is just the fifth wrestler in conference history to win four Eastern Connecticut Conference titles. He went undefeated his senior year (57-0) at 113 pounds, winning a second straight Class L title, a State Open championship, and a New England championship.

In March, he became the first Connecticut wrestler to win a national championship at the National High School Coaches Association’s Senior Nationals in Virginia. Kosman was named the Connecticut winner of the Dave Schultz award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. 

The Erik Weihenmayer Scholarship is presented to honor Weihenmayer, a former wrestler at Weston High School. Despite losing his vision at the age of 13, Erik has become an accomplished mountain climber, paraglider, and skier, who has never let his blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life. In 2001, he became the first blind man to reach the summit of the world’s tallest peak – Mount Everest.

Carnot has a 4.0 average at Maloney where he won two Class L championships and finished second at the State Open this year. Carnot, who was 38-8 as a senior at 132 pounds, finished his career with 154 victories – the most in school history.

He played golf at Maloney for four years and was inducted into the National Honor Society. He was the student representative from Maloney to the Meriden Board of Education. Carnot accumulated more than 274 hours of community service during his high school career to several organizations including the Thomas Hooker tutoring program, Meriden Youth Wrestling, First Tee of Connecticut golf and Hanover Elementary School.

Carnot was also recently honored by the Western Golf Association by being selected as an Evans Scholarship recipient – the nation’s largest scholarship program for golf caddies. He plans to study at Miami of Ohio.

It’s the eighth year that the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has awarded scholarships to deserving athletes. The chapter has awarded $9,000 in scholarships to students over the last eight years.
Elliott Antler
Career Achievement
Kevin Jack
Career Achievement
Howard Kilpatrick
Scholar Athlete
Juan Garcia
Career Achievement
Photo courtesy 
Danbury News Times
Zack Murillo
Scholar Athlete
Charles Kane
Alec Opsal
Bryan Rojas
Baltazar Gonzalez
Ed Lovely
Demetre Carnot, Maloney
Jarod Kosman, Fitch