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For the second straight year, Harvard University is honored as the nation’s top academic wrestling program as the National Wrestling Coaches Association announced its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 Teams and Individual All-Academic Wrestling Team.
The individual All-Academic team is highlighted by three NCAA champions -- two-time champs David Taylor of Penn State and Chris Perry of Oklahoma State -- and 285-pound champion Nick Gwiazdowski of N.C. State. Four NCAA finalists were also honored with Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell and Josh Kindig, Maryland’s Jimmy Sheptock and Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe making the All-Academic team.
The team grade-point average 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. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they were allowed to fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.
Harvard, coached by Jay Weiss, checked in with a 3.3657 GPA to claim top honors, while Old Dominion University checked in with its highest All-Academic finish in school history, ranking second with a 3.32 GPA. Individually, Harvard and ODU had just one wrestler apiece on the All-Academic team as Harvard’s James Fox has earned a 3.751 GPA. Tristan Warner, the NCAA Elite 89 Award winner, had a 3.97 GPA for ODU.
Gardner-Webb improved from 29th last season to a program-best third place finish with a 3.3167 GPA. Freshman 165-pound NCAA qualifier Austin Trott was the Bulldogs’ lone All-Academic selection with a 3.2887 GPA.
Rounding out the top 10 teams: Appalachian State (3.31), Brown (3.31), Duke (3.304), Bucknell (3.3), Stanford (3.235), American (3.21), Penn State (3.1831).
Oklahoma had an impressive six wrestlers on the All-Academic team, including three graduate students -- Kendric Maple, Nick Lester and Jarrod Patterson -- with 4.0 grade-point averages. Joining that trio are Travis Rutt, Andrew Howe and Clark Glass.
Rival Oklahoma State put five on the All-Academic team. Joining Perry, Caldwell and Kindig were NCAA qualifiers Anthony Collica and Nolan Boyd.
The Citadel was the only other program with five wrestlers on the All-Academic Team. Coach Rob Hjerling’s team had Matthew Frisch, Aaron Hansen, Joaquin Martinez, Jack Duane and Marshall Haas represented.
Four-time defending NCAA team champions Penn State had four representatives on the All-Academic team with all four finishing as All-Americans at the 2014 NCAA Division I Championships. Taylor, Nico Megaludis, James English and Matt Brown were honored with Taylor, Megaludis and Brown named repeat selections from last year.
In all, 33 All-Americans from the 2014 NCAA Division I championships are on the team and 77 total NCAA Division I qualifiers.
Twenty-two different NCAA Division I institutions had multiple selections named All-Academic for this season.
“The NWCA All-Academic Team and Individual Team is one of the best acknowledgements that we can give to our coaches and athletes at the end of a physically grueling season” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “These young men have proved that they are not only talented competitors but are leaders in the classroom as well. The NWCA Board of Directors and staff look forward to watching these student-athletes continue their success at the collegiate level and eventually as the leaders of the future once they earn their college degrees.”