MatBoss is honored to announce the 2023 MatBoss Manager Scholarship recipients.
The MatBoss Manager Scholarship was created in 2018 to support wrestling managers. Recipients are chosen based on their service to the sport of wrestling, academic achievement, honors and awards, as well as their involvement in outside activities and the community.
To be eligible for a MatBoss Manager Scholarship, the student's wrestling team must be a MatBoss customer and she/he must have served an active role as a manager on her/his team and be a high school senior or currently enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution.
This year, 115 wrestling managers from 32 different states applied for a MatBoss Manager Scholarship, with four recipients selected.
The 2023 MatBoss Manager Scholarship recipients are Lauren Francione, Megan Paulson, Alyssa Bray and Isabelle Espy.
Below is a brief biography of each of the four recipients.
Lauren Francione developed a passion for the sport of wrestling when she was a student at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, where she served as the school's wrestling manager for four years. After graduating from high school, Lauren enrolled at Sacred Heart University and became a manager for the school's NCAA Division I wrestling program. She just completed her first season. Lauren believes being a wrestling manager has helped her improve several skills and focus better.
"When you are multitasking you need to be able to tune out what is going on around you and focus on the matches, which can be fast-paced so that your records are accurate," said Lauren. "Part of multitasking efficiently also requires good organizational skills. Managing the wrestling team on both the high school and collegiate level also helped me improve socially."
At Sacred Heart, Lauren was introduced to MatBoss, which she says has made her job easier as a manager.
"MatBoss essentially has all necessary features for accurate recordkeeping," said Lauren "For example, it keeps track of riding time which is helpful when comparing what the scoreboard says during away matches. It is also helpful because the program doesn't leave much room for error. It automatically removes any scoring options that are no longer possible given the positioning of the wrestlers. Since using MatBoss I haven't had to figure out pin times, keep track of the number of points each wrestler has during the match or figure out how many team points have to be awarded at the end of each individual match."
Sacred Heart head wrestling coach John Clark has been coaching wrestling at the college level for 17 years and calls Lauren one of the hardest workers and best managers he has worked with.
"It is amazing to see her tireless work ethic and it has been great learning from her on how to best utilize a manager to help the team," said Clark. "We couldn't be happier with the work that Lauren has done for our team this year and this sentiment is shared by everyone in our program."
Lauren, a biology major on the pre-veterinary medicine track, believes her time as a wrestling manager will benefit her after college.
"I believe the skills I have improved and acquired from managing will benefit me upon graduation because they can be applied to both my personal life as well as my chosen career path."
Megan Paulson has served as a wrestling manager at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Minnesota for the past five years, where she has built meaningful relationships through the sport of wrestling.
"The friends and relationships I have made will stay with me for a long time," said Megan. "The wrestlers were always respectful, which is something I will carry with me."
Megan says being a wrestling manager has helped her improve her social skills by getting along with the coaching staff, cheerleaders, parents, other wrestling managers and the wrestlers. It has also taught her how to multitask.
She used MatBoss during her entire time as a wrestling manager at Kasson-Mantorville, which she says helped her learn and understand wrestling.
"With the program being easy to use and understand, if I ever needed someone to step in to videotape it was easy to teach," said Megan. "With the automatic point options changing, it helps you to learn and understand the sport of wrestling."
Megan's team, Kasson-Mantorville, is one of the top high school wrestling programs in Minnesota. The Komets have won four team state titles, with the most recent state championship coming in 2018, and claimed 33 individual state championships. Kasson-Mantorville finished seventh at the MatBoss Minnesota Christmas Tournament this past December.
Kasson-Mantorville head wrestling coach Ryan Hill has witnessed Megan grow from a young eighth-grader when she started to the "fine young lady" she is today.
"Megan has been nothing but dedicated to our program, showing up and giving maximum effort, day-in and day-out," said Hill. "She always puts the needs of the team and our athletes first. Megan understands that everyone has a role they must perform well in order for us to be successful and her role is no different. Whether she was taking stats/video, uploading video, preparing meals, or taking care of the various different tasks for competition, she was sure to do it with pride and the utmost quality."
Being a wrestling manager can be a major commitment, especially at a highly-successful wrestling program. Alyssa Bray knows this all too well. She has served as the wrestling manager for the past four years at Fennimore High School, one of the most successful high school wrestling programs in Wisconsin. Fennimore repeated as Wisconsin's Division 3 team state champion and has won four state titles in its eight state tournament appearances.
"The Fennimore wrestling program is one of the best sport programs in the state of Wisconsin, and our head coach has demanded a strong commitment from everyone involved in the program, especially the managers," said Bray. "I went above and beyond in my responsibilities to fully guarantee my jobs and duties were being done correctly. There is more work done behind the scenes than a fan would understand."
Fennimore head wrestling coach Chad Steldt has worked closely with Alyssa for the past four years.
"I put a lot of responsibility on her throughout the year," said Steldt, who serves as a social studies teacher in the Fennimore Community School District. "Her main obligation was running MatBoss. This all-inclusive tool combined stats and video to make our wrestling program run seamlessly. Alyssa went above and beyond in running our MatBoss account. She kept our stats up-to-date, provided highlight clips to our videographer, registered weigh-ins, completed seeding criteria, and much more so that I could solely focus on team development."
Alyssa believes MatBoss helped her tremendously with her duties as a wrestling manager.
"MatBoss became my best friend," said Alyssa. "The combination of video and stats helped me locate discrepancies in a particular match, even when another manager might have recorded the incorrect outcome. It is hard to express the time it took to make sure the seeding for our athletes was done correctly. The worst scenario would be to have a wrestler seeded incorrectly at state, costing them a position as a state placewinner. MatBoss enabled me to be precise and detailed with such reporting."
In addition to keeping statistics up-to-date, Alyssa performed many other duties as Fennimore's main wrestling manager, including printing off weight sheets, organizing the team's annual banquet, selling raffle tickets, booking hotels, fixing prior season statistics and making sure all of the wrestlers had access to MatBoss. She says it required her to be mentally strong and accountable.
"Such a commitment required me to be mentally strong but also to have a heightened sense of accountability, so my responsibilities were completed properly," said Alyssa. "I have learned what true teamwork is because everyone had to work in unison to have a successful year."
Isabelle Espy, a wrestling manager at Armuchee High School in Rome, Georgia, has successfully juggled many activities while also excelling in the classroom.
Isabelle carries a cumulative GPA of 3.917. She is a three-year starter and team captain of the softball team and has served as a manager for the wrestling, football and baseball teams at Armuchee. Isabelle has also been involved in volunteer work and student leadership.
MatBoss helped Isabelle better understand wrestling while also serving as a training tool.
"MatBoss aids in training younger managers," said Isabelle. "As a senior manager, I have had to train many below me and even other wrestlers. MatBoss' software has the scoring possibilities laid out for each wrestler, and the options change depending on who gets the first takedown. MatBoss makes it extremely difficult to make errors while scoring and is a great learning tool for new and experienced scorekeepers."
Patience is a skill she acquired as a result of being a wrestling manager.
"One of the main things I have learned is that patience is unquestionably a skill you must acquire," said Isabelle. " Although the boys are in high school, they are still young men ranging from ages 14 to 18. When they come up to the table they are pumping adrenaline and ready to go. They are prone to immediately go to their own manager and use the phrase 'You got me?' to which we as managers always reply, 'No, actually, we don't know who you are.' They always seem agitated at the fact they have to wait at the table a little longer before they go on the mat, and as managers it is difficult to keep your temper while simply trying to help their match go smoothly."
Isabelle believes patience will help her in her future career in law enforcement.
"You will deal with difficult situations and people every day, and having the patience to communicate and handle situations is especially important," said Isabelle.
Isabelle has worked as an intern at the Floyd County Police Department, where she assisted patrol and investigations. She is now planning to continue her internship in the 911 center as she continues her education.
Floyd County Police Department Captain Ron Hunton has high praise for Isabelle.
"Ms. Espy has proven herself dependable and punctual," said Capt. Hunton. "She is always looking for work that needs to be done and volunteers to help others as needed. Ms. Espy has been willing to learn new skills and has shown that she is a driven and focused young woman.
Ms. Espy always greets everyone with a smile and takes on each task with a positive attitude."