Harvard tops NWCA All-Academic team standings; Stanford places seven on individual team
Manheim, Pennsylvania – For the fourth time in the past five years, coach Jay Weiss’ Harvard Crimson wrestling team sits atop of the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Top 30 All-Academic team standings announced on Tuesday.
Harvard, one of 10 EIWA teams in the Top 30, earned a 3.586 cumulative team grade-point average. It’s the second straight year the Crimson are No. 1 in the All-Academic standings. Stanford, which finished 11th overall, put seven wrestlers on the squad, the most of any team in 2016-17.
Awarded annually, the NWCA All-Academic team is comprised of 135 student-athletes. Four Division I champions made the team, while six additional runners-up were included. In all, 35 All-Americans were All-Academic selections.
Of the 135 individuals, 115 wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Division I championships, up from 101 last season and an increase of 19 since 2014-15
A trio of two-time champions led the honorees on the individual team. Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil (141 pounds), Penn State’s Zain Retherford (149 pounds) and Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) were each represented as was Penn State’s Jason Nolf, the champion at 157 pounds.
Not surprisingly, of the 10 EIWA teams represented, all six Ivy League wrestling institutions made the Top 30. Following Harvard overall was Brown (3.475), American (3.466), Kent State (3.423) and North Dakota State (3.396).
North Dakota State’s Clayton Ream was the Elite 90 Award recipient for the second straight year. The award recognizes the athlete with the highest GPA at the championship site. Ream’s 4.0 is in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Of the 30 teams, 22 were repeat selections from last year.
“In the current landscape of college athletics, it’s imperative that our programs perform in the classroom and show their value to the school, not just in performance on the mat, but performance in the classroom,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “We have teams actively trying to break into the Top 30 of the All-Academic standings because it’s something they can be proud of as a team and something their administrators can be proud of as a school.”
The team GPA was determined using a system that includes 12 student-athletes from each program. A total of 10 of these came from the wrestlers that were entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier.
Ohio State led all teams with four of its All-Americans on the All-Academic team. Joining Snyder were Nathan Tomasello (133 pounds), Micah Jordan (149 pounds) and Bo Jordan (174 pounds). Cornell, Minnesota and Oklahoma State had three All-Americans each on the All-Academic team.
Of Stanford’s seven All-Academic selections, unseeded All-American Paul Fox had the best individual performance at the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships.
“No one should be surprised when it comes to Stanford’s academic performance,” said Moyer. “When you factor in the jobs that coaches Weiss and Jason Borrelli have with coaching their wrestlers and managing the academic rigors of their respective institutions, it’s a true balance of the term student-athlete.”
Following Stanford, Central Michigan and Minnesota had five wrestlers apiece represented, while nine different teams had four individuals on the team. Leading Minnesota’s group of five were NCAA finalists Ethan Lizak (125 pounds) and Brett Pfarr (197 pounds) and three-time All-American heavyweight Michael Kroells. Forty different institutions placed multiple wrestlers on the All-Academic team and 56 of Division I’s 76 active programs were represented.
“It’s a good message to send to our membership and fanbase that nearly three quarters of our Division I teams have representation on the All-Academic team,” said Moyer. “We like those numbers.”
The Big Ten had five teams represented, while the Mid-American Conference saw five of its nine members in the Top 30.