GLEN HAZEL – Departing Johnsonburg seniors Jesse Wolfe and Max Zimmerman were honored Sunday afternoon as co-recipients of the prestigious Aaron Muroski Memorial Award presented each year to the most outstanding wrestler in the high school program.
"This year will be the first time that I've been here that I have two individuals who have really fit the criteria," said Johnsonburg head wrestling coach Tom Launer. "These two guys will really be missed by the wrestling program and they're both outstanding individuals, just two hard-working men who represented Johnsonburg, the coaches and the parents extremely well and as a head coach, you really enjoy coaching individuals like those two."
The award is presented to an outstanding wrestler or wrestlers based on the following criteria: the individual is willing to do anything necessary to help the team, is dependable, attends practices, works hard and is willing to help other wrestlers improve their skills, demonstrates team leadership, supports teammates, and is an outstanding representative of the Johnsonburg wrestling team and the high school.
"A few years ago, we started giving out what is really the only award we give out, the Aaron Muroski Memorial Award, he was a former Johnsonburg wrestler, a real good, very hard-working and he unfortunately passed away at a young age," Launer said. "These two wrestlers are very deserving of this award."
Wolfe, wrestling at 125 pounds, finished second all-time in Johnsonburg wrestling history with 119 wins.
"He's had an excellent career in Johnsonburg and we're going to miss him," Launer said. "I've been glad to be a part of his wrestling career."
Wolfe earned his 100th win Jan. 8 at the Coudersport Duals against Andy O'Brien of Lackawanna Trail High School. Wolfe pinned O'Brien in 34 seconds to reach the century mark on what was eventually a 119-18 career mark.
Wolfe finished the season leading the team in wins with 32 (32-5), most decisions with 11, most major decisions with three, most near falls with 38, most technical falls with four, most reversals with eight and most points team points with 142. Wolfe was champion of the Eisenhower Tournament in his weight class, won his first district title, and advanced to the regional and state tournaments. Wolfe also was recognized as an Allegheny Mountain League [AML] All-Star.
Fellow senior Zimmerman also had a banner season as he went 25-6 and became the sixth member of Paper City's 100-win club.
Zimmerman scored his century mark victory Feb. 17 with a fall at the 2:37 mark against Rick Elliot of Clarion Area High School in the last match of the night and his final performance on the home mat. His career record stands at 105-24, good enough for fourth all-time in the school's history.
"[Zimmerman] started at 145 pounds, worked his way down to 135 pounds by the start of the district competition," Launer said. "He missed four matches down in Clearfield that probably would've given him some more wins."
Zimmerman scored the most falls with nine and had the most takedowns with 18; he was the runner-up in the district tournament, was recognized as an AML All-Star and won his third Eisenhower Tournament title.
"We really stress the takedowns, that's an important part of wrestling and Max excelled in that aspect," Launer said. "He did a real good job for us there. He's another one that I can say I was glad I was here to see."