From an orphanage to All-American: Stockwell caps off high school career
Senior Shaun Stockwell earned All-American status when he finished seventh at the Flo Nationals in Pennsylvania. ((Robin Simmons/Corner Canyon wrestling)
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Ten years ago, Shaun Stockwell was living in an orphanage in Ukraine. Now the Corner Canyon senior is about to graduate as a wrestling All-American and the school’s male athlete of the year.
It all became possible when he was adopted at the age of 12.
“Growing up in an orphanage was pretty rough, but then I found out I was getting adopted, me and my sister, it was pretty sweet,” Stockwell said.
The adjustment was difficult, he said, not knowing any English when he arrived. Now having lived in Draper for six years, he not only speaks great English but has found another home with sports.
During Stockwell’s freshman year, he decided to test out sports besides football. He gave wrestling a shot, but beginning the sport as a freshman was, as head wrestling coach Jeff Eure said, “kinda late in the game.”
“[But] he developed quickly…he had a lot of natural ability and when he decided to buy in and be coachable, he took off,” Eure said.
Stockwell’s launch into the wrestling world led to him taking third at state his sophomore year and an undefeated 36-0 senior season that finished with a state championship. Of those 36 victories, 28 of them were pins.
“I just committed to Coach (Eure) that I’d be committed and not quit and give it all I got and I ended up going undefeated,” Stockwell said. “It was awesome, all the hard work was definitely worth it.”
Stockwell went on to compete at Flo Nationals in Pennsylvania in April where he finished seventh, earning All-American status.
“It was just a lot of fun,” Eure said of Stockwell’s success this year. “He worked extremely hard to be able to do what he did. I think at times, people probably didn’t understand how hard he worked cause he kinda made it look easy.”
Eure continued, “He’s just barely scratching the surface as far as his competitive maturity…I think the sky’s the limit for him athletically.”
Stockwell’s triumphant senior year culminated in him being named Corner Canyon’s male athlete of the year.
“It was pretty sweet feeling cause I didn’t really expect to be awarded that. I guess all the hard work and commitment paid off,” Stockwell, who also played defensive line for the football team, said.
He was unaware of the achievement until the awards banquet after Eure had told him to come.
“Certainly his credentials are highlighted by his achievements in wrestling. It’s just great for our program to be representative at that level,” Eure said.
The winner of the award is determined by a formula that includes accomplishments in their sporting fields, GPA and overall school involvement.
“To win that it’s pretty special,” Eure said.
But this magical senior year almost didn’t happen after Stockwell experienced some issues off the mat his junior year that led to faltering grades.
“The privilege of wrestling was taken away from him and as a coach that’s a hard thing to do to a kid that talented, but it was the right thing to do,” Eure said. “He learned his lesson and figured out and I think he’s going to do great things with his life.”
Eure said it’s been a joy watching Stockwell develop.
“Probably the most gratifying thing at this point is seeing him figure things out off the mat being able to be a good person and make good choices and live right,” he said.
Stockwell said his parents and Eure have been important influences in his life.
“(Eure) hasn’t been just my coach, he’s definitely been there for me through everything and so that’s pretty awesome. Same with my parents, they’ve helped me with everything,” said Stockwell, who intends to play football in college, possibly at Weber State.
Eure wants Stockwell to fulfill his capabilities because “when he puts his mind to something, he can achieve anything.”
“I hope he’ll continue to work hard with athletics and academically and get his degree and go on and do great things with his life. He certainly has that potential.”