Five NCAA champs on NWCA academic squad; Nebraska top team

Updated: May 8, 2012

The National Wrestling Coaches Association has announced its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 teams and the NWCA individual All-Academic wrestling team for the 2011-12 wrestling season.

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln is honored as the nation’s top academic wrestling program, while five NCAA Champions: Cornell’s three-time NCAA Champion Kyle Dake, Iowa’s Matt McDonough, Michigan’s Kellen Russell and Penn State’s Frank Molinaro and David Taylor all headline the individual list.

The NWCA All-Academic Team records go back to 1991, which until 2011 the 2001 Princeton team held the highest team GPA of 3.43. For the second year in a row that record was broken by Nebraska with a 3.46 team GPA, earning the Huskers the third all-time highest team GPA. The 2011 Harvard team holds the highest all-time GPA with 3.51 and American the second highest with a 3.48 GPA.

The Nebraska Cornhuskers, lead by head coach Mark Manning, had a team GPA of a 3.46 to take home top honors for the first time in the history of the program. The 3.46 GPA is also the third highest ever for a team.

Last year’s team champion Harvard University finished a close second with a 3.37 GPA. This marks the ninth time the Crimson, under the direction of head coach Jay Weiss, has finished in the top 10.

Finishing out the Top 10 teams are: American, Utah Valley, Indiana, Stanford, Princeton, Brown, Lehigh, and Davidson.

Four of the top five teams from this year’s NCAA Division I Championships were recognized in the top 30 teams which includes team champion Penn State, Minnesota, Cornell and Ohio State.

The EIWA conference saw seven of their teams represented on the list.

For teams to be eligible for consideration, the team GPA is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers who were the entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they could fill those spots with wrestlers who competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.

On this year’s Individual All-Academic Team there are 87 total athletes, five NCAA champions, three NCAA runner-ups, 23 All-Americans and 77 NCAA qualifiers.

Joining the five NCAA champions listed above are the three NCAA runner-ups which include Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford, Lehigh’s Zack Rey and Penn State’s Quentin Wright.

The 2012 individual with the highest GPA is Northern Illinois’ Brad Dieckhaus. He has 4.0 while working towards his master’s degree in Sport Management.

This year’s NCAA Elite 88 winner Daniel Mitchell of American comes in at No. 2 with a 3.95 GPA followed by Tristan Warner of Old Dominion with a 3.95, Nebraska’s Tucker Lane with a 3.94, and Michael Klingsmith of Nebraska with a 3.94 to round out the top five.

American University and Nebraska tied for the most individuals on the team with five individuals apiece while Lehigh, Penn State and Virginia all had four individuals make the team.

“The NWCA All-Academic Team and team awards are one of the best acknowledgements we can give to our coaches and athletes at the end of a physically grueling season. These 87 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,” said Mike Moyer, NWCA executive director.

Click here for the Top 30 Teams.

Click here for the Individual Team.

The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a non-profit organization for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on developing coaches who work in academic environments.   The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling.

The three core competencies of the NWCA are: Coaching Development, student-athlete welfare, and promotion of wrestling.