NWCA Announces Division III Hall of Fame Class of 2022

MANHEIM, PA – A class of six inductees will be enshrined in the NWCA Division III Hall of Fame, with the class coming in after a year off of honorees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The six honorees combine for 15 total All-American finishes, including nine NCAA Division III individual Naitonal Championships. In addition, a pair of the inductees have given years to the sport at the NCAA DIvision III level. 

The first inductee is John Barrick, who is being inducted as a contributor. Barrick is a tireless fan of the sport who supports wrestlers at all levels. His ties are not to just one NCAA Division III program, but all of those throughout the Northeast. Barrick not only attends matches, but also promotes the sport through social media with posts including video, trading cards and stories about the NCAA Division III programs he supports. Most weekends Barrick can be seen wearing his autism awareness baseball cap matside filming matches for several hours, and it is not out of the ordinary for him to travel to multiple events in a weekend. 

 

Josh Chelf from UW-LaCrosse is the next honoree. Chelf was a four-time NCAA Division III All-American, including winning two NCAA titles at 174 pounds in 2007 and 2008. He was also a three-time Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champion at 174, earning WIAC Wrestler of the Year honors twice. Chelf helped the Warhawks to four WIAC team championships,  and  to four top-four placements at the NCAA Division III Championships in his career. In addition to his talent on the mat, Chelf also earned CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team honors, and was a three-time NWCA Scholar All-American. He was also the 2008 WIAC Scholar Athlete for wrestling, and was a four-time member of the WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll. 

The next honoree is Dwayne Dawson of the Western New England Golden Bears. Dawson just closed out his 32nd year as an assistant coach of the Golden Bears in 2021-22, coaching 11 NCAA All-Americans and the institution’s first NCAA National Champion. Dawson has also seen more than 100 Western New England student-athletes earn regional and All-New England honors. Dawson also served as the head coach at West Springfield High School prior to his move to Western New England. In addition to his work in coaching, Dawson has also been involved in officiating wrestling at both the high school and collegiate levels for more than 30 years, working numerous Massachusetts State Championships and officiating some of the biggest prep and public high school New England Championships. Dawson was honored in 2009 as the MIWA Hall of Fame Official of the Year and was inducted into the City of Springfield, Massachusetts Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.  He was most recently inducted into the New England Wrestling Association’s Hall of Fame in 2020.  

Florian Ghinea of Montclair State University is the next honoree. Ghinea was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American at MSU, including winning a pair of NCAA titles at 134 pounds as a  Red Hawk. Ghinea also placed three times at the Midlands while in college, and was also a Romanian Junior National Champion in 1993, becoming the youngest Romanian National Champion ever. He has served as an assistant coach at Columbia University, and is also certified to coach the US National Wrestling Team. he is a New York Athletic Club Team member and owner of Olympic Wrestling Club in Wykoff, NJ.

Marcus LeVesseur of Augsburg is the next honoree. A four-time undefeated NCAA Division III champion for the Auggies, LeVesseur became the first Division III wrestler to ever win four national titles and  the second collegiate wrestler to finish his career unbeaten and untied. LeVesseur won his first three titles at 157 pounds, and closed out his storied career with a 165 title in 2007. He posted a record of 155-0 over his four years on the mat, and became the seventh wrestler in NCAA history to win four national titles in one division. LeVesseur’s four titles helped Augsburg to two NCAA Division III team titles and another two runner-up finishes.    

Another Augsburg Auggie rounds out the 2022 class, with Nik Lewandowski as the final honoree. Lewandowski was a four-time All-American for the Auggies, with his career culminating in a NCAA title at 184 in 2001. He was a runner up at 177 in 1998, and again finished second at 184 in 1999. Lewandowski took third at 184 in 2000 before reaching the top of the podium a season later. His finishes helped Augsburg to three NCAA Division III National Championships and a runner-up as a team.  

The Division III Hall of Fame Class of 2022 will be inducted at the NWCA National Convention July 30, 2022 at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. Tickets for the event can be purchased at: http://www.nwcaconvention.com/shop/product/53552 

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