The NCAA honored a returned LDS missionary and national champion wrestler with a prestigious award this past weekend.
Matt Brown, a former Penn State Nittany Lion wrestler and 2015 national champion, was honored as one of 10 recipients of the "Today's Top 10" Award at the NCAA convention in San Antonio on Jan. 15.
"It was humbling to be honored among the other top student-athletes in the country at the NCAA convention," Brown said in a text message Tuesday. "I thought it was a fitting capstone to my collegiate career."
The award recognizes student-athletes for their achievements in competition and the classroom, as well as contributions to the community.
Brown, a three-time All-American and native of West Valley City, claimed his national title with a thrilling 5-4 win over Pittsburgh's Tyler Wilps in the 2015 NCAA finals in St. Louis. He was also selected as one of Penn State's Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients last year.
Brown was featured in the Deseret News last April.
Before wrestling in college, Brown, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served an LDS mission to Mozambique and Angola from 2009-2011. He recently earned his master's degree in international affairs at Penn State and is weighing his career options.
Brown has also worked to develop skills as a writer. He recently published a book he titled, "Mission: Accomplished, Reflections of an NCAA Champion." The book chronicles ups and downs in his life. He also talks about how his mission, Mormon faith and goal setting have helped him overcome various obstacles in his life. "Mission: Accomplished" is available through Amazon.com.
Once he decided to write his story, he made time to produce a manuscript amid wrestling camps and an internship, Brown said.
"I learned once again that we can accomplish difficult tasks when we are determined," he said. "After I finished writing what wrestling has taught me over the past 20 years, it was extremely rewarding when the final proof came in the mail. I'm grateful that winning a national championship gave me a platform to communicate all that wrestling has taught me."
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