By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Miami High School graduate Eli Hale, state wrestling champion as a senior, has capped a remarkable career with a singular honor off the mat.
Hale, who’s attending classes this summer at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, has been named the 2013 Jim Thorpe Player of the Year in wrestling by the Oklahoma Coaches Association.
The OCA presents the award in partnership with the Jim Thorpe Association and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Hale was honored on June 6 during the annual Scholar Athlete Awards Dinner in Oklahoma City.
“Definitely, the Thorpe Award is a great honor,” Hale said Tuesday. “It all was fun and exciting. We’re very happy for the recognition. I received an e-mail about two weeks before the ceremony and dinner.”
Hale, as a senior, was 44-0 in winning the 120-pound Class 4A. He had finished in third place as a freshman and second as a sophomore and junior.
Hale, according to Miami News-Record sports editor Jim Ellis, is the third Wardog to win a state championship and is their first four-time state qualifier. He defeated Tuttle’s Dayton Garrett 6-0 for the crown in State Fair Arena.
Hale, who wrestled for Josh Bolinger and Mark Malcolm two years apiece at Miami, said he will compete for the Small East in the All-State Games in July.
“It’s been busy,” Hale said. “I’m taking six hours this semester. I’ll have 31 hours entering OSU this fall.”
All 25 hours he took at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College while finishing at Miami High School will transfer, Hale said. His present plans call for a degree in the business field.
Hale believes he’ll wrestle at 125 for John Smith’s Cowboys.
Eli is the son of Donna and Dr. Jeff Hale. Dad is president of NEO.