John Hoke, Amateur Wrestling News 3/25/2019
Amateur Wrestling News will present The Hammer, its annual award, to Arizona State’s 174-pounder Zahid Valencia.
The award is presented to the wrestler who wins the national title at what the writers at AWN decide is the most competitive weightclass every season.
Valencia won the 174 pound title this year in Pittsburgh, defeating Penn State’s 2017 NCAA champion Mark Hall in the finals. There were two NCAA champs at the weight (Valencia and Hall) and a total of eight returning All Americans. Valencia finished the season 31-2, with his losses being to Hall and Missouri’s Daniel Lewis. He avenged both at the NCAAs.
Past recipients of The Hammer include Logan Stieber (Ohio State), Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State), Bo Nickal (Penn State), and Spencer Lee (Iowa).
An award is only as prestigious as the quality of those who have previously won it.