If Tamyra Mensah-Stock thought that the honors and prizes were all over with for 2019, she received one very nice surprise on the last day of the year.
The 27-year-old from Katy, Texas, and reigning world champion at 68 kg. was named United World Wrestling’s women’s wrestler of the year on Tuesday, and with it received $30,000 Swiss francs, which equates to roughly one thousand more in U.S. dollars.
“That makes me feel so appreciated,” Mensah-Stock said in a press release issued by UWW. “Yeah, I’m doing it for certain reasons, but for me to actually get more money out of it, that’s incredible.”
Mensah-Stock has been on the rise for the last several years, and after winning the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials but not competing in Rio since she was not able to earn the U.S. an Olympic quota for her weight class, she’ll be a favorite to make her first Olympic team in 2020.
After making her first world championships in 2017 and winning a world bronze medal in 2018, she put together a dominant 2019. In addition to winning her first world title this year, she also won gold at the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix, Pan American Games, Pan American Championships, Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov Tournament and City of Sassari Tournament. She’s the first American to win three Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix titles.
In addition to Mensah-Stock’s honor, Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox finished second in the UWW’s men’s freestyle wrestler of the year rankings, earning 20,000 Swiss francs. Cox successfully defended his 92 kg. world title in September. However, with that weight class not part of the 2020 Olympic program, the Columbia, Missouri, native will have to determine whether to move up to 97 kg. or down to 86 kg. for Tokyo. He previously won a 2016 Olympic bronze medal and 2017 world bronze medal at 86 kg.
David Taylor won the men’s freestyle award in 2018, earning 10,000 Swiss francs at the time.
The UWW awards are based off athletes’ performances in Ranking Series events, continental championships and the world championships.