Mark Hall with PSU assistant coach Jake Varner at the NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Penn State's Mark Hall has been named InterMat Freshman of the Year for 2017, the amateur wrestling website announced on Thursday.
This award, presented each year since 2006 to best college freshman wrestler in all divisions for his/her college wrestling performance during the 2016-17 season, is based exclusively on the balloting of writers and executives at InterMat prior to the announcement of other national wrestling awards. Each staff member is asked to select five freshman wrestlers and rank them from first to fifth. Point values are assigned to each placement, ranging from one point to a wrestler listed fifth on a voter's ballot, up to nine points for a first-place vote.
Hall was listed at the top of seven ballots out of 10 submitted by InterMat staffers, for a total of 84 votes. The other freshman to receive any first-place votes was Vincenzo Joseph, Hall's Nittany Lion teammate, with three first-place votes for a total of 60 votes overall.
Mark Hall arrived in Happy Valley with one of the most impressive wrestling resumes in recent memory. Hall became the first wrestler to win six individual Minnesota state championships … helping to lead Apple Valley (Minn.) High School to an equal number of consecutive state team titles. While at Apple Valley, Hall crafted a 277-4 record which included a 171-match win streak and 189 career pins. In addition to these accomplishments in folkstyle, Hall also made his mark in freestyle, winning world titles at both the Cadet and Junior levels. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at 74 kilograms. For all these achievements, Hall was twice named InterMat High School Wrestler of the Year, and also named winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 2016.
When Hall first entered the Penn State wrestling room, it had been decided he would take a redshirt in his first season. However, in early 2017, Hall made the decision on his own to remove the redshirt, saying, "I just wanted to be a part of the national championship run."
That decision has paid dividends for both Hall and the Nittany Lions. In his first year, Hall built a record of 31-3, claiming the 174-pound title at the 2017 Southern Scuffle, and placing second at the 2017 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. Two weeks later at the 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, the fifth-seeded Hall avenged that loss to Ohio State's Bo Jordan -- the No. 3 seed -- 5-2, to end his freshman season with the national title.
In the dozen-year history of InterMat awards, Mark Hall is the third Penn State wrestler to have been voted Freshman of the Year. Jason Nolf received the honor last year; David Taylor was voted Freshman of the Year in 2011.
On Tuesday, InterMat announced that Hall's teammate, Zain Retherford, had been voted InterMat Wrestler of the Year for the second consecutive year. The website will announce its choice for Coach of the Year in the coming days.
2017 InterMat Freshman of the Year Voting Results
1st-5th Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)
1. Mark Hall, Penn State 84 (7)
2. Vincenzo Joseph, Penn State 60 (3)
3. Zahid Valencia, Arizona State 48
4. Kollin Moore, Ohio State 29
5. Michael Kemerer, Iowa 16
6. Logan Massa, Michigan 12
7. Nick Suriano, Penn State 1
InterMat Freshman of the Year Past Winners:
2016: Jason Nolf, Penn State
2015: Isaiah Martinez, Illinois
2014: Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern
2013: Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State
2012: Logan Stieber, Ohio State
2011: David Taylor, Penn State
2010: Kyle Dake, Cornell
2009: Andrew Howe, Wisconsin
2008: Mike Grey, Cornell
2007: Jake Varner, Iowa State
2006: Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota