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Yap, Richardson honored with Saunders and Schultz Awards, respectively

Killingly’s Jack Richardson, left, and Stamford’s Samantha Yap have been recognized with the Dave Schultz and Tricia Saunders Excellence Awards, respectively, from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Stamford’s Samantha Yap has been selected as the Connecticut winner of the Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award and Killingly High senior Jack Richardson has been selected as the state winner of the Dave Schultz Excellence Award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Both awards recognize and honor wrestlers for their excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, citizenship and community service.

Yap was one of two state wrestlers to win a third state championship in February when she won the CIAC Girls Invitational at 107 pounds.

Yap (20-3), one of the two captains for the Stamford High program, had three first period pins to win the championship. Amity senior Camryn Brown also won her third title.

Yap earned All-American honors at the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) girls tournament in Virginia Beach in late March with her fifth place finish at 100 pounds. Yap also earned medals in two boys tournaments at 107 pounds. She finished fourth in the FCIAC championship tournament and sixth at the CIAC Class LL championships.

Ranked in the top 20 of her class, Yap had a grade point average of 3.9 after her junior year. Yap will be wrestling for Sacred Heart University next winter.

Richardson (52-1, 35 pins) had a tremendous season. He won his second consecutive New England championship at 152 pounds along with a State Open and Class S championship. His second straight Class S title helped Killingly win the state championship.

Richardson finished with a career record of 142-9 and won the Eastern Connecticut Conference title twice, the Lancer Invitational in Waterford three times and the Greater Hartford Invitational twice. He is a two-time selection to GameTimeCT’s All-State wrestling team.

Richardson will be continuing his education at Johnson & Wales in Providence.

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

The Dave Schultz Award was established in 1996 to honor Olympic and world champion Dave Schultz, whose career was cut short when he was murdered in January 1996. He was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member in 1997 and as a member of the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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