It’s hard enough to go back-to-back. Nolan Wheeler made it a 3-peat as a State Champion, becoming just the second Lumpkin County wrestler ever to accomplish that feat. The senior is more than deserving of BLITZ Wrestler of the Year honors.
2019-20 BY THE NUMBERS
- 61-4 W-L
- Area Champion
- 3-Peat State Champion
- Class 3A – 160 LBS
Wheeler becomes a 3-time state champion, as he guided the Indians to a 3rd-place finish as a team in the Traditionals Tournament. He polishes off his career with a 61-4 senior season wrestling at the 160-lb class. After going 28-7 as a sophomore and 37-4 as a junior, his career W-L excluding freshman year (unknown) stands at 126-15, which is phenomenal.
- Nolan Wheeler – 91.5 pts (15 1st-place votes)
- Sam Irwin – 68 pts (4)
- Elijah Burns – 46.5 pts (3)
- Athena Malek – 29 pts
- Tyson Thurmond – 18 pts
This was fairly obvious, but there were still some split 1st-place votes, as teammate Sam Irwin and his amazing season rivaled Wheeler a bit. Commerce’s Elijah Burns also took a piece of the 1st-place vote pie.
Voting included our 22-person panel made up of sports reporters, writers, video producers, former coaches, players, GHSA officials, and sports experts. The voting is Heisman-style, with the following points system:
1st place votes: 5 pts; 2nd: 3 pts; 3rd: 2 pts; 4th: 1 pts; 5th-6th: 0.5 pts
HISTORY OF WRESTLER OF THE YEAR
2019-20 – Nolan Wheeler – Lumpkin Co SR
2018-19 – Ryan Hurd – Jefferson SR
2017-18 – Chase Forrester – Commerce SR
2016-17 – Zach Matthews – Lumpkin Co SR
2015-16 – Zach Matthews – Lumpkin Co JR
2014-15 – Chris McCrackin – Banks Co JR
2013-14 – Chance McClure – Commerce SR
2012-13 – Chance McClure – Commerce JR
2011-12 – Coleman Cunningham – Habersham Central SR
2010-11 – Caleb Morris – White Co JR
2009-10 – Caleb Morris – White Co SO
Wheeler is the second different Lumpkin grappler to take the award, following Zach Matthews, who won it back-to-back in ’15-16 and ’16-17. The award has now gone to a senior in 4 straight years, which guarantees next season we will have a 5th straight different winner.
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE
While Wheeler and Irwin are graduating, the other 3 finalists will be seniors next year. They are the obvious choices to have the inside track at winning this award. Of course, anyone from Commerce, Jefferson, and Lumpkin are almost always in the discussion.
11×14 Framed Print – Nolan Wheeler POY
11x14 Framed Print - Nolan Wheeler POY