CORRECTED NWMA announces annual national wrestling journalism award winners

By Gary Abbott | March 24, 2008, 11:16 a.m. (ET)
NWMA names National Wrestling Journalism Award winners:
Good, Johnson, Howard, Hobeika, Illinois Matmen, Wrestlers at the Trials and Cowboy Up are honored


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 - Ron Good, Amateur Wrestling News

Good has served as editor of Amateur Wrestling News for 30 years, joining the staff in 1978. He is highly respected for his wrestling coverage, feature columns and wrestling rankings, which has been a favorite in America's oldest national wrestling publication. He has become one of the nation's top experts on college wrestling, He takes pride in his work on the individual rankings, which surveys indicate are among the most popular features of the publication.

Good competed for John Marshall High School in Oklahoma, a state champion team under the respected coach Virgil Milliron. His school produced numerous great champions including Olympic champion Wayne Wells and Olympian Wayne Baughmen. Good attended the Univ. of Central Oklahoma, where he studied music and participated in intramural wrestling.

He attended his first NCAA Championships in 1977 as a fan, and after spending time as a volunteer with Amateur Wrestling News, he was hired in 1978. He worked five years under the mentorship of AWN founder and Hall of Fame legend Jess Hoke. Good says he was impacted by Hoke's "contagious passion" for the sport. He received the Bob Dellinger Award as the Wrestling Writer of the Year in 1989, and Amateur Wrestling News was selected as the NWMA Publication of the Year in 1992. "Wrestling has always been a hobby; it has been a great life," said Good.

Broadcaster of the Year - Tim Johnson, IPTV, Big Ten Network, ESPN

Johnson, who lives in Champaign, Ill. has been a wrestling broadcaster for 22 years, working with a variety of networks covering many levels of the sport. He began his announcing career as a color commentator for Iowa Public Television's broadcasts of college wrestling, working alongside Doug Brown for 12 years. For the last 10 years, he has been the play-by-play announcer for the IPTV broadcasts, working first with Dan Gable and now with Jim Gibbosn. Johnson shared the NWMA Broadcaster of the Year award with his partner Doug Brown in 1994. Chuck Patten, the former coach at the Univ. of Northern Iowa recommended Johnson for his first broadcasting opportunity with IPTV.

For the last five years, he has served as an analyst for ESPN coverage of the NCAA Div.. I Wrestling Championships, working with Dave Armstrong and Jeff Blatnick. This year, he has been a play-by-play announcer for the Big Ten Network, working nine dual meets, the Midlands Championships and the Big Ten Championships.

Among the other networks he has worked for include FOX, Prime Sports Network and the Fighing Illini Wrestling Network. He also served as host for the Real Pro Wrestling broadcasts which aired on Fox Sports Net.

A native of Morning Sun, Iowa, Johnson wrestled in high school and at Coe College and served as a graduate assistant at the Univ. of Northern Iowa. He coached five years at Mt. Vernon High School, mentoring many champions including Greg Randall and Randy Majors. He was Assistant Execurive Director of USA Wrestling, and served as the Director of Wrestling for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif. He ran the American Coaching Effectiveness Program for Human Kinetics Publishers. Johnson currently serves as Midwest Regional Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as well as the Executive Director of Pinnacle Forum.

Publicist/SID of the Year - Leah Howard, University of Michigan

Howard has worked nine years in media relations for the University of Michigan, including four years when she attended Michigan as an undergraduate. She has been Sports Information Director for Michigan's wrestling team for seven seasons. During her time with Michigan, she has progressed from a student in the position, to an intern to a full-time sports information director.

She does additional work for the wrestling program, including assisting with team marketing and promotions, summer camp projects and a monthly newsletter. During her time with the Wolverine wrestling program, the team has been very successful, placing second at the 2005 NCAA Championships and finishing in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships six times. In addition, the team won three straight Big Ten dual meet titles. Among the outstanding wrestlers she has worked with include Ryan Bertin, Ryan and Josh Churella, Greg Wagner, Andy Hrovat, Eric Tannenbaum, A.J. Grant, and others.

Howard has done many distinguished feature stories on Michigan wrestlers, often appearing in prominent publications such as Amateur Wrestling News, the NCAA Championships program as well as numerous national websites. She is currently researching a book on the history of wrestling at the Univ. of Michigan.

Her other duties as a sports information director at Michigan includes the field hockey and softball programs, both which, like wrestling are nationally-ranked every season.

Photographer of the Year - Danielle Hobeika

Hobeika started photographing wrestling in 1997, her senior year of high school, and the year she started wrestling as an athlete. She became an avid artistic photographer and I put the two things she loved together in her wrestling photography.

She was a member of the wrestling team at Harvard Univ., and continued photography there, working for the school's newspaper, the Harvard Crimson. She also provided photos to the wrestling program for use in promotion of the sport.

In 2002, the year after she graduated college, she was a photographer and wrestling enthusiast named Al Elrefai, who knew she had both an interest in web design and photography, Together, they developed a website for posting wrestling photos called Amateur Wrestling Photos.com.

For the past six years, Hobeika, along with Elrefei and wrestler/photographer Julieta Okot, have photographed numerous amateur wrestling events from the youth level up to the Olympic level. Her personal focus has been covering the collegiate level of wrestling, and this year also expanded her coverage to include photographing Mixed Martial Arts fights.

Publications in which her photos have appeared include WIN Magazine, Amateur Wrestling News, The Morning Call Newspaper, the New York Athletic Club's Winged Foot Magazine, Newsday, Pennsylvania Wrestling News, and others.

She has been a competitor on the Senior women's wrestling circuit for the past decade. Hobeika placed second at the 2002 U.S.Nationals as and qualified three times for the U.S. Women's National Team. In addition, she has designed numerous websites for the sport of wrestling, assisting both organizations and individual athletes in having their own websites specific to their needs.

Website of the Year - IllinoisMatmen.com

IllinoisMatmen.com is owned by Mike Bare, who serves as its webmaster. Bare who took over the statewide wrestling website from its founder Jim Moriarty in 2005. Bare gave the website a new design, and has added features. Illinois Matmen provides news, rankings, results, photos, videos and blogs, covering all levels of wrestling in Illinois. The publication has two new writers/bloggers, WIN Magazine prep editor Rob Sherrill and Quad-City Times reporter Shannon Heaton.

The website's message boards are very active, often having over 500 people on the site at once. The website averages 40 million hits per month, causing Bare to move the site to a fully dedicated server.

The website is especially noted for its high school coverage. It covers many of the major high school tournaments in the state in depth, including the sectional, individual state and individual dual meet championships. A number of major college events held in the state are also covered. The publication has a grassroots volunteer base, as numerous people provide information and coverage to share with the state wrestling community. Along with Sherrill and Heaton, other significant contributors include Mike Vest, Andre Morgan and Kevin Drendel.

Among the key events which are covered with live audio commentary, text updates and online video are the Al Dvorak Tournament, the IHSA Individual State Tournament and the IHSA Dual Team State Tournament. Illinois Matmen is organizing an Illinois vs. Iowa All-Star dual meet, and also plans a post-season "true state champion" event each year for Illinois.

Since 2005, Illinois Matmen, along with Infinite Entertainment, has professionally produced a four-DVD set of videos covering the Illinois state high school championships, a very popular item in a wrestling-hungry state.

Bare did not wrestle, but learned about the sport from his in-laws. He attended numerous wrestling events as a fan, starting early in his high school years and became a big fan of the sport. Prior to taking over Illinois Matmen, Bare used his computer skills to develop a central Illinois website, starting in 2000. Bare studied computer science and works as an IT analyst for Boeing, providing the skills needed for a quality website.

Publication of the Year

Wrestlers at the Trials by Jamie Moffatt

Jamie Moffatt is a wrestling fan and a history buff. He has written books on the sport and enjoys researching wrestling.

This year, Moffatt's published a new 196-page book entitled "Wrestlers at the Trials." The book provides in-depth coverage of each of the Olympic Wrestling Trials events held in the decades of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. The major focus of the book is the athletes themselves, those who successfully qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team, as well as those who fell short of their ultimate goal. He interviewed up to 100 athletes directly for the book, and told the personal stories of the athletes and coaches at "The Trials."

Moffatt was the captain of the Hill School team that won the National Prep Championships in 1961. He wrestled on the freshman wrestling team at Cornell University. He served as a wrestling official in Ohio from 1966-1972. Moffatt has served as Executive Director and Chairman of the Board for the College Sports Council, an organization preserving sports opportunities by seeking Title IX reform. He currently serves on its Advisory Board as the chairman emeritus.

He spent most of his business career as an Information Technology Management Consultant for Coopers and Lybrand. He retired as a Senior Partner with the combined firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLC.

Moffatt co-authored with Roger Oleson the book "A Turning Point," about the 1953 NCAA Wrestling Championships won by Penn State, which was published in 2003.

Cowboy Up by Kim D. Parrish

Parrish authored Cowboy Up, an in-depth book following the 2004-05 Oklahoma State national champion wrestling team, which was published in November 2007. The book was published by the Oklahoma Heritage Association, as part of the Oklahoma Centennial Celebration.

Parrish traveled with the OSU team under Coach John Smith throughout the 2004-05 season, as a silent observer who had access to training sessions and other team activities,. The team went on to have one of the greatest seasons in college wrestling history, featured by five individual NCAA champions and a huge margin of victoty at the NCAA Championships. "I felt this was a story that needed to be told," said Parrish, who wanted to promote the excellence of the OSU program within the state and nationally.

Parrish was fhe captain of the Altus, Okla. high school wrestling team, where he was coached by Oklahoma State All-American Mark McCracken. He became a fan of Oklahoma State while attending there as an undergraduate. "Wresatling had such a profound influence on my life. IT's a sport where the participants take its lessons with them more than other sports,"

Parrish is currently a federal Administrative Law Judge, serving in Oklahoma City. He has degrees from Oklahoma State, Oklahoma City Univ. School of Law and Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also a law professor at Oklahoma City University. His other book project was as a co-editor of The Harvard Guide to Influential Books, published by Harper & Row in 1972. He is a frequent technical writer and professional writer in his industry.
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