Nyssa High School graduate wins $3,000 wrestling scholarship

Nyssa 152-pound wrestler Elijah Cleaver won his second state title after defeating Rainier’s David Katon 7-0 in the 2019 OSSA state wrestling championships finals. (Photo by Ed Petersen)

A 2020 Nyssa High School graduate was one of three individuals awarded a wrestling scholarship from the Save Oregon Wrestling Foundation.

Elijah Cleaver was awarded a Ron Finley Wrestling Scholarship Award of “$3,000, $1,000 and $1,000, respectively,” which SOW gives to students based on a score system, SOW Director said Paul Fenley, foundation director[LZ1] [BL2] . Cleaver said he was given the $3,000 scholarship.

Cleaver scored the highest of all the applicants, Fenley said.

Cleaver said he didn’t know he had scored the highest, but credits his success to “the people that have given me a chance to prove myself and help me along the way.”

“I’m really excited for the opportunity (the scholarship) presents and the chance it gives to ease some of the tension that comes with the next step in life for me,” Cleaver said. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this far and hope that it’s not all that there is to come.”

Cleaver participated in wrestling, football and baseball, and is a three-time wrestling state champion, an all-state baseball utility player and a two-time all-league football linebacker and tight end, according to the release.

According to the release, he graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was a four-time student of the year in math and science. Cleaver will attend Stanford University in the fall.

Cleaver served as a crew supervisor for four years at Beck Farms and volunteered as a peer tutor at Nyssa School District for four years, according to the release.

Cleaver said the scholarship will have an important impact on his future in terms of reducing financial burdens from college.

“Wrestling and school is hard enough without having to find money every quarter for necessary needs,” Cleaver said.

The award is named for the late Ron Finley, who was the 1984 U.S. Olympic wrestling coach, head coach emeritus at the University of Oregon and a National Wrestling Hall of Fame member, according to the release. Finley died in 2016.

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