Fifteen Utah Valley University wrestlers were named to the 2018 Academic All-Big 12 Wrestling Team that was announced by the league office on Wednesday.
Redshirt freshman Matt Findlay led the way by being just one of two grapplers in the entire conference to hold a perfect 4.00 GPA, and the 15 total Wolverines marked more than any other Big 12 Conference institution.
Behind UVU's league-leading 15 selections, Air Force was second with 12, while fellow Big 12 affiliate members Northern Colorado (10), North Dakota State (nine), Wyoming (nine) and South Dakota State (eight) rounded out the top six. Oklahoma State led all core Big 12 institutions with seven honorees.
Eleven of UVU's 15 grapplers were named to the league's first team, while the other four made the second team.
Findlay (141 pounds), Benjamin Andrew (heavyweight), Kimball Bastian (174), Chase Call (141), Abel Gomez (197), Taylor LaMont (125), Grant LaMont (149), Jarod Maynes (133), Tanner Orndorff (197), Max Sultan (157) and Kieffer Taylor (174) earned first-team honors, while Gary Jantzer (184), Durbin Lloren(133), Raider Lofthouse (157) and Matthew Ontiveros (149) were named to the league's second team.
The recognition marks the third straight for Maynes and Lofthouse and the second consecutive for Bastian, Grant LaMont and Orndorff.
In all, 88 student-athletes from the 12 league schools made the cut. Sixty-three student-athletes, including Iowa State's Hank Swalla and UVU's Findlay with perfect 4.00 grade-point averages, made the first team, while 25 selections made the second team.
First-team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 or better GPA, while the second-team selections hold a 3.00 to 3.19 GPA.
To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or better either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 20 percent of their team's scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.
The Wolverines now prepare for the 2018 Big 12 Championship that will be contested March 3-4, at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, UVU looks to qualify as many of its grapplers as it can for the NCAA Championships that will run March 15-17, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.