Kim Martori Wickey named USA Wrestling Woman of the Year

By Gary Abbott | April 08, 2006, 4:24 p.m. (ET)
Kim Martori-Wickey of Phoenix, Ariz., a leader with the world-respected Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, has been named Woman of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States. This award recognizes an outstanding woman for her contributions to the sport of wrestling.

She serves as Executive Director for the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, one of the world's most successful and respected international wrestling clubs. The club is based in Phoenix, but has athletes and coaches who train all across the nation, including many of the most successful international wrestlers in the world. Members of the Sunkist Kids compete in all three Olympic styles of the sport (men's freestyle, women's freestyle, men's Greco-Roman).

Numerous Sunkist Kids athletes have won World and Olympic medals for the United States in all three styles. Since its inception in the 1970s, the Sunkist Kids have placed earned over 150 U.S. World and Olympic team berths.

Wrestlers who became Olympic champions while competing for the Sunkist Kids include Cael Sanderson, Rulon Gardner, Kendall Cross, John Smith, Kenny Monday, Dave Schultz and Mark Schultz.

"The Sunkist Kids is about developing the best athletes for USA Wrestling," said Martori-Wickey. "We are dedicated to supporting all of their efforts. The club provides them with the resources to make U.S. teams. If they are willing to do the hard work to win medals for the United States, then we want to provide for them. We will do whatever it takes to make them champions."

As Executive Director, Martori-Wickey has a wide variety of duties, including working directly with athletes and coaches concerning their training, travel and competition needs. She manages many aspects of the organization, including scheduling and communication with the team members.

She works with Tim Gressley, the Sunkist Kids Director of Operations, in organizing and managing major wrestling events that are sponsored by the Sunkist Kids. She manages the annual Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open, a major international wrestling competition held each fall in Tempe, Ariz. Senior-level wrestlers from all three styles from many nations attend this competition. It is the traditional start of the new international wrestling season, and most of the top wrestlers in the United States have competed in the tournament during their careers.

Martori-Wickey has management duties for the Sunkist Kids Ultimate Challenge Youth Folkstyle Championships, a major event in the USA Wrestling Ultimate Challenge Series of youth folkstyle each winter. This tournament provides a high-level wrestling competition for young wrestlers from all across the nation.

She also has duties with a variety of camps, clinics and training opportunities that the Sunkist Kids provide for wrestlers of all ages. One of the new projects is the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Academy, which provides quality wrestling instruction for athletes from kindergarten through high school. There are training opportunities in folkstyle in the pre-season, as well as training in freestyle and Greco-Roman during the international season. The coaching staff includes Sunkist Kids Freestyle Coach Sergei Beloglazov, a two-time Olympic champion and six-time World champion and Joe Romero, the Director of the Sunkist Kids Youth Porgrams who has 20 years experience coaching at all levels. The Sunkist Kids also provides winter break training opportunities for young athletes.

Martori-Wickey also has duties with the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Camps, which are held in June and July in three cities in Arizona (Tempe, Flagstaff, Tucson) as well as in Colorado. Many of the star athletes and coaches from the Sunkist Kids serve as instructors at these popular camps.

Martori-Wickey assists with fundraising events for the team, handling the budget for the organization and overseeing the finances for club. Among the fundraisers is an annual Sunkist Kids ASU Golf Classic held in the Phoenix area each year.

The daughter of Sunkist Kids founder and former USA Wrestling president Art Martori, she has been involved in wrestling her entire life. She joined the management team with the Sunkist Kids five years ago, and has been Executive Director for almost two years.

She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture economics from the Univ. of Arizona, and has professional experience in a variety of businesses. She is also very active in charity work in Arizona. She has chaired a golf tournament for the Phoenix Childrens Hospital, which has raised over a million dollars in the eight years she has been involved. Martori-Wickey has also been chair of a Foundation for Blind Children fundraiser, which raised $200,000. She is married to Menno Wickey, and they have two children, Jacob, 6, and Noah, 3.

"I want to thank USA Wrestling for thinking I am deserving of this award. I am speechless. I am taken back on a daily basis how dedicated the athletes are, not just in their quest for World and Olympic medals, but also with their family, their jobs and their life. They are an amazing group of people," she said.

2005 - Kim Martori-Wickey
2004 - Patricia Miranda
2003 - Kristie Marano
2002 - Pat Short
2001 - Paula McGahee
2000 - Sandy Stevens
1999 - Sue Siar
1998 - Nancy Schultz
1997 - Tricia Saunders