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Draydan Gerardo earns wrestling scholarship

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i High School senior Draydan Gerardo was named the recipient of the 2023-24 Most Outstanding Wrestler Award by Princeville resident Tommy Thompson, a former champion wrestler at Shamokin High School in Pennsylvania.

The $5,000 scholarship is presented as part of a program promoted by the West Point Association of Graduates Hawai‘i. The program seeks to foster the continuing education of local Hawai‘i students, Thompson said.

“Draydan is a senior who started wrestling only two years ago, but through perseverance and tenacity he has overcome many obstacles, including several chronic health problems to become an outstanding wrestler, teammate and leader,” Thompson said.

“His work ethic, leadership qualities and dedication to excellence did not go unnoticed by his coaches and teammates, who elected him team captain. He did well to advance to advance to the state championships, an unbelievable accomplishment for someone with such limited time in the sport.”

Thompson said Draydan plans to continue his interest in aerospace technology and mechanics by taking prerequisite courses at Kaua‘i Community College and the Honolulu Community College before embarking on a career.

Thompson said this is the second such award to be given to a Kaua‘i High School wrestler.

“Last year, Thomas Ramos was selected and used the award funds to cover his tuition at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona,” Thompson said. “Thomas has maintained a 3.3 Grade Point Average and was able to transfer to Arizona State University to continue his education as an accounting major.”

As a high school wrestler, Thompson was recruited by the United States Military Academy at West Point where he continued to successfully pursue his craft at the intercollegiate level.

Thompson was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 for excellence in three sports. He was a Pennsylvania All-State selection in football and baseball, as well as posting undefeated wrestling regular seasons in high school and college.

The award is also presented in memory of Thompson’s late wife Penny Lee, an animal lover who posthumously bequeathed a large amount of her jewelry collection to the Kaua‘i Humane Society in 2021.

The Most Outstanding Wrestler Award is in the same category as several other Kaua‘i scholarship awards, including the retired General Eric “Ric” Shinseki awards. Thompson was a 1965 classmate of Shinseki at West Point.
Source: The Garden Island

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