UVU Wrestling Boasts 9th Best GPA in Nation
OREM, Utah — The National Wrestling Coaches Association has announced its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 Teams and Utah Valley University was recognized with the nation's ninth best GPA. The NWCA also released its Individual All-Academic wrestling team for the 2010-11 wrestling season on Thursday and UVU's Benjamin Kjar, Justin Morrill, Flint Ray and Josh Wilson all made the cut.
As a team the Wolverines combined for a 3.13 team GPA to earn the ninth-place selection for the second consecutive season. The ninth-place finish pitted UVU one spot ahead of Cornell and two places before National Champion Penn State.
The Wolverines tied for third for the most individuals making the All-Academic team with four. Kjar (3.18 cumulative GPA), Morrill (3.59 cumulative GPA) and Ray (3.67 cumulative GPA) were all 2011 NCAA Qualifiers while Wilson (3.72 cumulative GPA) just missed qualifying for Nationals but had a good enough win-loss record on the year to qualify for the list. The honor was Kjar, Morrill and Ray's second while for Wilson it was his first.
Also on Thursday the Capitol One Academic All-America At-Large Team presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (COSIDA) was announced and the senior Ray was named a District 8 Second Team selection. The Business Management major made the cut with an outstanding season on the mat and a cumulative 3.67 GPA during his career at UVU.
"Being able to recognize our coaches and their teams for the accomplishments that they have made academically is always a high point at the end of the season for our staff. All of the athletes that have made this year's team are setting themselves up for success once they leave college, they are becoming leaders of the future," said Mike Moyer, NWCA Executive Director.
Overall Harvard was honored as the nation's top academic wrestling program for the second year in a row with a record-breaking 3.51 GPA, while three NCAA Champions also made the individual list.
Finishing out the Top 10 Teams behind Harvard are: American, Columbia, South Dakota State, Old Dominion, Princeton, Chattanooga, Nebraska, Utah Valley and Cornell.
For teams to be eligible for consideration, the team GPA is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers that were the entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they may fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.
The Individual All-Academic Team also has qualifying standards by GPA and season record/accomplishment. Ninety-two wrestlers take this honor home with them; out of that group 83 of them competed at the 2011 NCAA Division I Championships in Philadelphia, Pa.
The 2011 individual with the highest GPA was North Dakota State's Tyler Johnson who had a 4.0, while majoring in Biology. This year's NCAA Elite 88 Winner Nick Amuchastegui, coming in at No. 2 with a 3.979 GPA at Stanford University where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. The Elite 88 Award is presented to the top athlete qualifying for a post-season championship in each of the NCAA's 88 national championship events.
Rounding out the Top 5 highest GPA's are Ryan Flores of American with a 3.94, Nebraska's Tucker Lane with a 3.937, and Daniel Mitchell of American with a 3.927.
The three NCAA Champions on this year's Individual Team are: Penn State's Quentin Wright, Kyle Dake of Cornell, and Lehigh's Zachery Rey.
On this year's Individual All-Academic Team there are 92 total athletes, three NCAA Champions, five NCAA Runner-Ups, 28 All-Americans including one from UVU in Kjar and 83 NCAA Qualifiers; three of which were from Orem in Kjar, Morrill and Ray.
Besides excelling on the mat and in the classroom UVU head coach Greg Williams and his staff's 2010-11 recruiting class was ranked the 16th best in the country.