Morningside College repeats as top team as NWCA releases NAIA All-Academic standings and individual awards


Manheim, Pennsylvania – For the second year in a row, Morningside College out of Sioux City, Iowa has been named the top team in the annual All-Academic team standings released by the National Wrestling Coaches Association on Tuesday.

Coach Jake Stevenson’s squad placed three individual wrestlers on the All-Academic team and sported an impressive 3.3883 cumulative GPA.

Link: NAIA All-Academic Team & Individual Awards

“What we’ve seen from coach Stevenson’s teams over the years is an emphasis on the word student when he’s bringing in student-athletes,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “They were No. 1 last year and this year, they improved on their own standard of excellence, exceeding last year’s cumulative GPA.”

Cumberland University was just behind the Mustangs, finishing second with a team GPA of 3.375. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Great Falls and Dickinson State rounded out the top five.

Forty-eight wrestlers from 23 different schools received recognition, while 13 different schools had multiple wrestlers on the All-Academic team. Of the 48, 20 were All-Americans, including four champions and two runners-up.

Concordia University of Nebraska, led by first-year head coach Andrew Nicola, put the most individuals on the team with five. Grand View, which has won the last six NAIA national championships, put four wrestlers on the team, as did Indiana Tech. Cumberland U., Embry-Riddle, Great Falls, Morningside and Wayland each had three individuals on the All-Academic team.

Grand View, which finished 15th in the team standings, placed three of the four NAIA individual national champions on the All-Academic team. Champions Josh Wenger (141 pounds), Grand Henderson (165 pounds) and Evan Hansen (197 pounds) were joined by third-place heavyweight Jacob Laden.

The other champion represented was Midland’s Scottie Bonds (149 pounds).

Leading Concordia’s crop of All-Academic selections were a pair of All-Americans – national finalist Ceron Francisco at heavyweight and 197-pounder Ken Burkhardt, Jr., who finished sixth at 197 pounds.

Four-time All-American Tyler Cowger of Southern Oregon also closed out his career with an appearance on the All-Academic team, while Eastern Oregon completed its first season since reinstatement with a team GPA of 3.0638, good for 12th place.

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