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-   -   Lee Kemp Award (http://www.yappi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=313646)

Nick Corey 06-12-18 08:46 AM

Lee Kemp Award
Anybody hear of this award? I’ll admit, I had not, but I’m glad it’s a thing.
Found out yesterday it’s given out each year in northern Ohio. I’m assuming it’s an OW type award for the region, but couldn’t find a lot of info on it. I also heard it has been awarded for the last 20 years. Didn’t know that, but glad to learn about it, as it’s named after one of our state’s greatest ever. Quite possibly, the greatest wrestler ever from Ohio.
As many know, Kemp started wrestling his freshman year in HS. Won two state titles, junior national titles, & made it to the NCAA finals his freshman year, losing to Iowa legend Chuck Yagla in overtime.
Kemp never lost in college again, winning three national titles for Wisconsin.
Five years after he walked into a wrestling practice for the first time, 18 year-old Kemp beat the 26 year-old NCAA, World & Olympic Champ and legend, Dan Gable, in a tournament at Northwestern University.
Kemp would go on to win three World Championships, but at his athletic peak at the age of 24, Kemp wasn’t allowed to chase his ultimate goal of an Olympic title, as the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics.
Regarding the award itself, any info on it would be appreciated. Again, just glad it’s done, as Kemp (IMO) seems to get lost in the shuffle when discussing our native Ohio greats.
Lastly, congrats to the 2018 recipient, Normandy’s 3X State Champion, Kevon Freeman.

hubman 06-12-18 01:33 PM


he Lee Kemp Award is given to the the Most Outstanding Wrestler from Northeast Ohio. The award is given to a senior wrestler from a GCWCOA member school.

Jim Behrens 06-12-18 01:55 PM

I can give some info.
This is the Outstanding Wrestler award given to a wrestler in the NE area.
The coach must be a member of the GCWCOA (which costs virtually nothing).

Here is a list of past winners.


Looking over the list, it has some pretty impressive names on it.

This years winner was Kevon Freeman from Lake Catholic. I just delivered the trophy to his AD yesterday so hopefully it will be in his hands shortly.

Nick Corey 06-12-18 04:13 PM

Thanks Hubman and Jim Behrens. Great info. And thanks for the link, Jim! Very cool reading some of the winners. Some beasts on there.
Also, saw that it’s been around a lot longer than 20 years. Almost 40! Very cool. Living more than 4 hours south of Cleveland, honestly had never heard of it. Glad it exists, and glad it’s named after Lee!
Hang in there, Soul Provider!

OCEagle 06-12-18 04:28 PM

Kemp won his 1st state title as a junior by coming back from a fairly large deficit to beat the legend from Perrysburg - Jerry Metcalf. Metcalf was 3rd as a sophomore, won the state title as a junior (at 132 in 1972) then lost to Kemp his senior year in the semi-finals (at 138 in 1973). Both were undefeated at the time. Metcalf received a full ride to Iowa State but I believe he left after or during his freshman year and I don't think he wrestled after that (may have wrestled some AAU tourneys - not sure). It shocked a lot of people in the Toledo area when Metcalf did not repeat as state champ, but nobody had heard of Kemp at that point in time. Kemp has long acknowledged that was one of his greatest matches.

Here is an excerpt from an article written in 2004 that I was referring to:

When you ask Lee Kemp about the single most significant highlight of his wrestling career, he has two answers, both which are very detailed and thought out. This is very much like Kemp; there is a reason why things happen in his life, and he is fully aware of the significance of what is going on around him. His "first" most important wrestling achievement happened during his junior year in high school, when Kemp made the jump from being an average wrestler into being the very best - a state champion in Ohio. Kemp sees that victory as developing the personal attributes that led to many greater achievements later on, both on the mat and in the business world. "I learned to be a champion in high school. My thought process was the same there as it was the rest of my career," said Kemp. "I became a three-time World Champion and three-time NCAA champion my junior year in high school." Kemp was a .500 wrestler as a sophomore, but went to a summer camp where he met Dan Gable and became, as he says, "obsessed" with the sport. His junior year, he ran the table, going undefeated and beating the defending champion Jerry Metcalf in the semifinals. Kemp trailed early in the match against Metcalf, but came on at the end with persistence and conditioning, as scored late points for the win. "To be victorious in that match taught me to win from then on," said Kemp. "I won that match by not giving up, by continuing to come at him. He was not prepared for that. That breakthrough allowed me to win my entire career."

Jim Behrens 06-14-18 06:43 PM

A bit of an update:



BTW, the ball game was fun too.

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