The National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Wednesday, April 19 announced the state winners of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award and #PointerNation is very proud to share that our own Kylie Rule has been named the Wisconsin winner of this honor. She will be wrestling at the collegiate level for Wartburg College in Waverly, IA.

First presented in 2014, the award is named for Tricia Saunders, a four-time World Champion and women’s wrestling pioneer. Saunders was the first woman to be inducted as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006 and was inducted into the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2011. 

The award recognizes and celebrates the nation’s most outstanding high school senior female wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship, and community service. 

“This year’s Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award winners represent an exceptional group of student-athletes whose qualifications combine both academic and athletic accomplishments. They have also participated in a wide range of humanitarian and service-related activities for the benefit of others,” said Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “We look forward to following their future successes and wish them all the best in sports and life.” 

The state winners are evaluated and selected on the basis of three criteria: success and standout performances and sportsmanship in wrestling; review of GPA and class rank, academic honors and distinctions; and participation in activities that demonstrate commitment to character and community. 

The Central Region, Midwest Region, Northeast Region, Southeast Region and West Region winners will be announced on April 25 and the national winner will be announced on May 2. 

Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing high school sports with participation growing by more than 71 percent from 16,562 in 2018 to 28,447 in 2020. Growth has continued through the pandemic and more than 52,400 female high school wrestlers competed in 2022-23. 

The Hall of Fame accepts nominations for its high school excellence awards from state chapters and coaches. The nominations are reviewed by a committee, which selects state and regional winners. The committee then determines the national winners from the regional winners.