ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The National Wrestling Media Association, the national professional organization for wrestling journalists, has named the recipients of its Annual Wrestling Journalist Awards. The NWMA has honored the top wrestling journalists in the following categories: Broadcaster of the Year, Print Journalist of the Year, Photographer of the Year, Publicist/SID of the Year, Publication of the Year and Web Page of the Year. Candidates were nominated by the NWMA members.
Print Journalist of the Year – John Huckaby, Center Daily Times, State College, Pa.
Huckaby serves as wrestling columnist for the Center Daily Times, providing insight and updates on amateur wrestling on a weekly basis. His career started with the Sunbury Daily Item in 1967, where he worked as a reporter, regional editor, sports writer and sports editor. He wrote and amateur wrestling column there for more than 29 years. He served as editor of Milton Standard-Journal in Milton, Pa. from 1991-2001, prior to his retirement. He has written the college wrestling column for Centre Daily Times for four years. The column takes a different approach each week, looking at the past week and what is coming up the next week. He was previously named National Wrestling Media Association Print Journalist of Year in 1993. Huckaby has been inducted into Pennsylvania District 4 Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Broadcaster of the Year – Jason Bryant, USA Wrestling
Bryant has been Coordinator of Grassroots and Social Media for USA Wrestling since November 2009. Bryant works on a variety of internet and communication projects for USA Wrestling. In the past year, Bryant has announced audio and video webcasts for USA Wrestling, including the World Championships, the Junior/Cadet Nationals, the Sunkist Kids International, the Grappling World Championships, the Kit Carson Cup and the Dave Schultz International. Previously, he was production manager for Media Sports Productions, where he produced video, radio and print features for Wrestling 411. Bryant was one of the hosts of Wrestling 411’s regular internet broadcasts and handled the video editing duties. He has been contracted by the NCAA to broadcast the NCAA Div. II and Div. III National Championships for the last two years. He served three years as Director of Media Relations for the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) and editor of the InterMat website. InterMat was named National Wrestling Media Association (NWMA) Website of the Year for 2007. He also worked for the Daily Press in Newport News, Va. and founded Mat Talk On-Line, a Virginia wrestling website. He has been a public address announcer for major wrestling events. Bryant received a degree in Communications from Old Dominion. While a student there, he was the sports director for WODU Radio and an announcer for ODU wrestling, field hockey, soccer and baseball events.
Publicist/SID of the Year – Aaron Voos, Univ. of Wyoming/WWC
Voos, an assistant with the media and public relations office at Wyoming, is serving his second year as the primary SID contact for the wrestling team. He also serves as the Western Wrestling Conference Director of Media Relations, handling the publicity duties for that Div. I conference. He writes and distributes releases and handles media relations activities for both organizations. Voos also works as the website coordinator for Wyoming’s athletic department, overseeing all aspects of their website including releases, photos and design. Voos, who was an undergraduate at Wyoming, has worked many years in different aspects of Wyoming’s athletic department. He was an intern in 1996 and served two years as a graduate assistant in Media Relations. He assisted many times with the wrestling program during that time. Voos spent five years as an assistant ticket manager there, before returning to media relations in 2004. Voos has worked in a number of capacities for major wrestling events held at Wyoming, including the Cowboy Open and USA Wrestling’s Rocky Mountain Regional Championships.
Photographer of the Year – Tony Rotundo, Tech-Fall.com
Rotundo, who lives in Oakland, Calif., has been a photographer for five years for the award winning Tech-Fall.com website, which posts quality images from all levels of wrestling. In addition, Rotundo’s pictures have appeared in national publications such as USA Wrestler, W.I.N. Magazine, Wrestling USA and Amateur Wrestling News. His work is also used by numerous Div. I wrestling programs to promote their teams. Rotundo, the son of a successful wrestling coach in upstate New York, started wrestling at the age of five. While at Clarence High School, he took sports photography of his teammates and friends for the yearbook. While attending the Univ. of Buffalo, where he was a wrestler, Rotundo also took photography classes. He moved to the West Coast and was out of both wrestling and photography for awhile. He then served four years as wrestling coach at Berkeley High School in California. It was at a high school event where he met John Sachs of Tech-Fall.com and decided to photograph wrestling once again. He has shot many of the major events including the World Championships, the Olympic Trials, the World Team Trials, the NCAA Championships and the California State High School Championships. Rotundo takes special interest in photographing college wrestling, working events such as the Big Ten and Pac-10 championships. He has a background in graphic arts, which assists in his ability to edit and process his pictures into spectacular images. Rotundo currently works as a producer for MX, which makes DVD and BlueRay discs. He uses his vacation time to travel to wrestling events and provide quality photography to the entire wrestling community.
Website of the Year – Lighthouse Wrestling
In October 2008, Bill Miller, a software manager by trade, founded LighthouseWrestling.com. a website which focuses on Long Island wrestling, as well as coverage across New York State. The name is a reference to the many famous lighthouses on Long Island. The focus of its coverage has a foundation with high school and college wrestling on Long Island, but also includes coverage and features on the state and region. The content is provided by a team of dedicated volunteers including Miller, who serves as webmaster, technician and journalist. Matt Diano serves as editor, feature writer and college analyst for the site. Pete Candito, is called the ‘voice of Lighthouse Wrestling” with play-by-play and color commentary on webcasts and high school analysis. Martin Riccio is also a color analyst. William Ellinger is a feature writer, and Irwin Loew and Jason Layton are other editorial contributors. Lighthouse Wrestling posts feature stories, interviews, videos, webcasts, rankings, podcasts, previews and results. The website has provided live webcasts of the New York State High School Championships the last two years, and has expanded into many other webcasts this year. Lighthouse Wrestling has focused on Div. I programs including Hofstra, Cornell and Binghamton, with coverage of the CAA and EIWA Conferences. Lighthouse Wrestling also provided a live webcast with USA Wrestling from the 2009 New York AC International. The website is a member of the College Wrestling Network.
Publication of the Year – USA Wrestler
USA Wrestler is the membership magazine for USA Wrestling, which is sent to over 130,000 member families six times per year. The Editor in Chief is Craig Sesker, who works as Manager of Communications for USA Wrestling. Sesker was a winner of the 2000 NWMA Journalist of the Year award prior to joining USA Wrestling, when he worked as a newspaper journalist. He assumed editor duties with USA Wrestler starting in 2009, and is the fourth editor in publication history, following Bob Dellinger (1972-85), Mike Chapman (1986-88) and Gary Abbott (1988-2008). USA Wrestler last received this award in 1996, when it was still a newspaper format. Under Sesker’s direction, the focus of the magazine has taken a much stronger feature orientation, with expanded feature stories, more and larger photographs and enhanced graphic design. He also writes many of the major feature articles in the publication. Others who work on the publication include Abbott, who contributes regular features, plus advertising manager Kevin Hansen, proofreaders Tony Black and Shonna Vest and many other USA Wrestling staff. There is a regular column written by USA Wrestling’s National Coaches. A new Kids page has been developed. The magazine has also included features contributed from other writers within the wrestling community. The publication is provided to the family of every USA Wrestling member, and can also be purchased via subscription for $30 a year through USA Wrestling, 6155 Lehman Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918.
The National Wrestling Media Association (NWMA) is the national professional organizations for journalists who cover the sport of amateur wrestling. This includes reporters, editors, publishers, webmasters, photographers, broadcasters, sports information directors and other media professionals who share an interest and involvement in the sport. Dues is $20, which can be sent to the National Wrestling Media Association, 2016 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne, IL 60964