SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Senior Colt Shorts, who earned a team-leading 21 victories and was one of two national qualifiers during the 2016-17 season, was named Most Outstanding Wrestler during a team banquet held Friday night.
Shorts posted a 21-14 record with four falls and five major decisions. He was 8-6 in dual meets and upset No. 6-ranked Clayton Ream of North Dakota State 8-5 in the NCAA Division I National Championships held in St. Louis.
Junior Colton Schilling was presented the Most Improved Award after compiling a 13-11 record with a team-leading nine falls and also qualifying for the nationals.
Other award winners include Blake Kastl with the Leadership Award, Tyler Schilling with the Coaches Award and Spencer Empey with the Academic Excellence Award.
Kastl "is a student-athlete who is a leader both on and off the mat," said first-year Mustang head coach Jon Sioredas. Tyler Schilling "displayed dedication, commitment, sacrifice and unselfishness to the team on a constant basis" while Empey, a mechanical engineering major, earned first-team Pac-12 Conference All-Academic honors.
The team's eight seniors — Kastl, Shorts, Clay Teixeira, Connor Pollock, Xavier Johnson, J.T. Goodwin, Travis Berridge and Mitch Woods — were honored as well.
Under Sioredas and first-year assistants Todd Schavrien and Mike Hatcher, Cal Poly won six dual meets last season, the most in five years, including an upset of No. 27 Indiana.
"In our staff's first year, we have learned a ton about our team, our program, and our community," said Sioredas. "It is remarkable interacting with wrestling alumni and supporters stretching over 60 years and it is humbling to lead one of the most storied wrestling programs.
"We have a lot to celebrate in our first year," Sioredas added. "First and foremost, our academic performance must be commended. This is a testament to our support staff and the diligence and commitment of our student-athletes.
"We achieved a perfect score of 1,000 in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate, which is an assessment of academic success, and earned a Public Recognition Award from the NCAA. This past winter quarter, we received the highest grade-point average in seven years. We currently carry the highest team cumulative GPA in over three years."
Cal Poly also made some progress on the wrestling mat. Highlights include:
• The most dual victories for the program in five seasons, including victories over Big X (West Virginia), Big XII (Indiana) and Pac-12 (CSU Bakersfield) opponents.
• The first team trophy at the Reno Tournament of Champions with a fourth-place finish, the first trophy in 10 years for Cal Poly.
• Qualified a pair of grapplers to the NCAA Championships.