South Walton wrestler carries family tradition to Arizona State

SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Ethan Pickren will take a familiar Panhandle pedigree to Arizona State.

Pickren signed a scholarship Thursday with Arizona State University, heading to a big-time program in NCAA Division I wrestling.

Pickren is one of the most successful wrestlers in South Walton history, finishing with a 244-16 record, 54-2 in his senior season wrestling in the 138 pound class. He placed third at the state tournament in March and placed in the top three at state all four years.

He;'ll join brother WIlliam Pickren on the Sun Devils roster. William is a redshirt freshman, competing in Tempe by way of Arnold, where he placed at state all four seasons.

Faced with a decision between Pittsburgh and ASU, Ethan said a big factor in the final decision was reuniting with his brother.

"For sure when he signed, I wanted to go out there and follow him. But as this year went on, I had a little bit of a decision to make," he recalled. "I decided to wrestle with him for the next couple of years. It should be a good time."

Pickren's signing is also a huge moment for the Seahawks' program, fulfillment of head coach Carey Nick's mission.

"It's a tremendous deal for the program at South Walton," Nick said. "It's what we strive to set on, excellence and stay the course. Every year we try to reload--not rebuild, but reload. I get kids experience, get them out on the mats, get them out to summer camps. And Ethan is a product of that."

Arizona State brought four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, with Zahid Valencia winning a second consecutive national title.