MANHEIM, Pa. – West Liberty University senior wrestling standout Cole Laya has been honored as the NCAA Division II Super Region 3 Wrestler of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association and is one of six finalists for the 2022 NCAA Division II National Wrestler of the Year Award.

    “Honoring outstanding achievement is a cornerstone of the NWCA,” executive director Mike Moyer said Tuesday in an NWCA media release. “On behalf of our President and Board of Directors, it is my distinct honor to congratulate these outstanding finalists.”

    Laya, a senior from Fairmont, W.Va. who was honored earlier this week as the MEC Wrestler of the Year, was one of the driving forces behind another spectacular season for Hilltopper wrestling. The WLU veteran dominated the 125-pound field at last month’s NCAA Division II Nationals in St. Louis, notching a first-period fall in the semifinals before posting a 9-0 shutout major decision win in the championship match to claim his second straight national title.

    Now a four-time All-American and three-time Super Region 3 champion, Laya finished the season with a sparkling 27-3 (.900) mark to push his career record to 81-9 (.900). With two national championships and a third-place finish under his belt, Laya also sports an impressive 11-1 record in national championship competition. In addition to his athletic exploits, Laya was a 2021 NCAA Division II Academic All-American and is a three-time NWCA Scholar All-American.

    As one of six NCAA Division II regional wrestlers of the year, Laya automatically becomes a finalist for the NCAA Division II National Wrestler of the Year Award. That announcement is expected later this month.

WRESTLING

2022 NWCA Super Region Wrestlers of the Year

Super Region 1: Andrew Dunn, Kutztown (Pa.)

Super Region 2: Zeth Brower, Lander

Super Region 3: COLE LAYA, WEST LIBERTY

Super Region 4: Dalton Abney, Central Oklahoma

Super Region 5: Darrell Mason, Minnesota State

Super Region 6: Matt Malcom, Nebraska-Kearney