The Utah Valley University wrestling team, as well as four Wolverine grapplers, were honored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association on Friday for achieving all-academic honors. As a team, UVU boasted the sixth-best team GPA in the nation for 2017-18, and Kimball Bastian, Taylor LaMont, Tanner Orndorff and Demetrius Romero earned NWCA Division I Individual All-Academic accolades as well.
This marks the ninth time in the past 10 seasons UVU has earned a spot on the NWCA Division I All-Academic Top-30 Teams list, as it was recognized with the nation's sixth-best GPA with a 3.39 team grade-point average in 2017-18. The sixth-place finish is the team's second-highest finish in program history on the list and seven spots higher than a season ago. In 2011-12, Utah Valley posted its best team GPA finish by placing fourth on the list with a 3.27 team GPA.
The Wolverines are one of five Big 12 Conference institutions to make the cut and boasted the highest finish of the group with the sixth-place finish. North Dakota State is next by finishing seventh, while Northern Colorado is 15th, South Dakota State is 17th and Wyoming is 23rd. All five schools are affiliate members of the league for the sport of wrestling.
Of the individual honors, Bastian and Orndorff were both named to the NWCA Division I Individual All-Academic Team for the second-consecutive season, while LaMont and Romero made the cut for the first time. All four Wolverines were NCAA qualifiers for the Wolverines this past season, and LaMont led the way in the classroom by posting a 3.91 cumulative GPA while studying psychology. Romero is next as he holds a 3.88 cumulative GPA in family studies, while Bastian maintains a 3.5 GPA in exercise science and Orndorff holds a 3.26 GPA in computer science.
The four individuals making the cut ties for the most of any Big 12 institution, as NDSU and SDSU both also had four individuals honored.
Awarded annually, the NWCA All-Academic team is comprised of 155 student-athletes. Five Division I champions made the team, while seven additional runners-up were included. In all, 42 All-Americans were All-Academic selections. Of the 155 individuals, 123 were at minimum NCAA Division I qualifiers, up from 115 a year ago. The team GPA was determined using a system that includes 12 student-athletes from each program. Ten of these came from the wrestlers that were entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier.
For the fifth time in the past six years, Harvard is the top team in the annual NWCA Division I All-Academic team standings released Wednesday by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The Crimson achieved a team GPA of 3.5654 and placed four individuals on the individual All-Academic team.
Harvard is followed by Kent State of the Mid-American Conference in second. Sacred Heart, American and Stanford round out the top five, followed by UVU, NDSU, Drexel, Campbell and Ohio State to complete the top 10.
Ohio State finished with seven wrestlers on the All-Academic team, six of them All-Americans including three-time NCAA champion and recent AAU Sullivan Award winner Kyle Snyder. The Buckeyes' seven individuals are the best of any program in 2017-18. Five schools featured five individuals on the team — Drexel, Kent State, NC State, Stanford and NCAA champion Penn State. Of Penn State's five individual All-Academic selections, three were All-Americans, including NCAA individual champions Jason Nolf and Zain Retherford.
The EIWA had eight of its 16 member schools listed in the top 30, followed by the MAC with six teams. The Big 12 had five teams represented, while the Big Ten had four.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.