OREM, Utah - The National Wrestling Coaches Association announced its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 Teams and the NWCA Individual All-Academic Wrestling Team for the 2012-13 wrestling season, and Utah Valley University's wrestling squad has the 16th best team GPA in the country, with a 3.09 clip.
UVU juniors Avery Garner and Monte Schmalhaus along with senior Josh Wilson were also named to the NWCA Individual All-Academic Team as they respectively hold 3.42, 3.30 and 3.61 cumulative GPA's. The honor is Garner and Schmalhaus' first and is Wilson's third. Wilson also represented the Wolverines at the NCAA Championships this past season and went 2-2 at the `Big Show' for his second consecutive season.
The team recognition marks the fifth consecutive year that Utah Valley has been named a NWCA All-Academic Top 30 Team. The Wolverines finished fourth last season with a 3.27 team GPA, ninth in 2010-11 (3.13 GPA), ninth in 2009-10 (3.18 GPA) and sixth in 2008-09 (3.16 GPA).
Harvard University was honored as the nation's top academic wrestling program, while four NCAA Champions (Cornell's 4x Champ Kyle Dake, Oklahoma State's Chris Perry, Penn State's 2x Champ Quentin Wright, and Oklahoma's Kendric Maple) headlined the individual list.
Harvard, led by head coach Jay Weiss, had a team Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.418 to take home top honors. The Crimson were champions in 2011 and finished last year second with a 3.37 GPA. This championship finish marked the program's third win in the past four years and the tenth time that the program has finished in the top 10 under Weiss.
The runner-up in this year's team competition was the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Following a top finish last year, Mark Manning's squad again delivered a strong performance with a 3.32 team GPA.
Rounding out the Top 10 teams was Stanford University (3.25), Indiana University (3.24), University of Virginia (3.24), Brown University (3.23), Lehigh University (3.23), Old Dominion University (3.16), Duke University (3.15), and Penn State University (3.15).
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. 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.
On this year's Individual All-Academic Team there are 82 total athletes, four NCAA Champions, four NCAA Runner-Ups, 21 All-Americans, and 72 NCAA qualifiers.
Joining the four NCAA Champions were four runner-ups including Lehigh's Robert Hamlin and Penn State's Matthew Brown, Nicholas Megaludis, and David Taylor.
The student-athlete with the highest GPA was Matthew Brown from Penn State University. Brown, who had a 3.97 GPA in Criminology, was also named the NCAA Elite 89 award winner.
Rounding out the Top 5 of the individual list were Virginia's Matthew Snyder (3.95), Hofstra's Steve Bonanno (3.77), North Dakota State's Evan Knutson (3.755), and Ohio State University's Cody Magrum (3.745).
Virginia had the most individuals on the list as eight of their student-athletes finished on the All-Academic team. Ohio University and Penn State finished second with four student-athletes on the team while UVU tied for third with three.
"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."
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.