For 11 Pendleton High School senior wrestlers, their success on the mat is still showing itself, long after the season has ended.
On Thursday’s presentation at Pendleton High School, Chris Chambers, Blake Davis, Aiden Patterson, Josh Whaley, Shawn Yeager, Alex Rendon, Caleb Tremper, Ian Bannister, Morgan Verdin and Kirk Liscom were awarded wrestling scholarships from the Schimmel Foundation.
Named after former Buckaroo wrestling coach Rollin Schimmel, the foundation grants scholarships for graduating wrestlers. Recipients for Thursday’s award must have wrestled during their senior year and held a 2.5 minimum GPA.
President Kone Hancock and board member Mike Schubert handed out a total of $10,500 to this year’s group of selected athletes.
“Part of our goal is to help kids further their educations, wherever that may be,” Hancock said during the presentation. “To see your success is why we’re here. It’s why we exist. We had a great, strong class this year.”
Most of the chosen wrestlers were given $1,000 to pursue their secondary education, but Chris Chambers, who was selected to receive this year’s Rollin Schimmel Memorial Award, earned $1,250.
“It’s like an outstanding citizenship award,” Schubert said Chambers’ additional honor. “We give it to a wrestler whose excellence extends into the classroom and the community.”
Chambers, 18, has been on the Bucks wrestling team for all four years. After graduation, he’ll embark on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, after which he’ll attend Brigham Young University in Idaho to major in biology and minor in zoology.
Following his career at BYU-I, he wants to enroll at the University of Washington to earn a dental degree. His time on the mat, he said, will end at PHS.
“It’s been fun. I was part of a great group of guys. We were like a family,” said Chambers. “As much as I loved it, I need to be getting good grades. But my kids will definitely be wrestling.”
With graduation just around the corner, the majority of Thursday’s honorees have already locked in their post-high school plans.
Liscom will attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Patterson, Davis and Bannister will play football for Western Oregon University, and Yeager will join Eastern Oregon University’s football team. Verdin, Tremper and Whaley are attending Blue Mountain Community College in the fall, and Rendon will hit the mat again at Southern Oregon University.
Fred Phillips, who just finished his 18-year career as the Bucks’ wrestling coach last season, was in attendance to see his former athletes make an important step into their respective futures.
“This is a phenomenal group,” Phillips said. “There’s a reason I decided to stay coaching these last three years. I wanted to see these guys through.”