May 8, 2008
MANHEIM, Pa. - The Northern Illinois wrestling team ranked 10th in the nation with a 3.10 grade point average, the National Wrestling Coaches Association revealed Wednesday in its 2007-08 Division I All-Academic Top-30.
"This truly shows the commitment our guys have to academics," 12th-year head coach Dave Grant said. "The student-athletes have focused to apply their hard work on the mat to the classroom, and I'm proud of their achievements."
The Huskies are the top-ranked Mid-American Conference program on the list. Central Michigan was 25th. Northern Illinois had the highest GPA among teams in the Midwest. Grant credits some of the success to the work of Associate Head Coach Ryan Ludwig and Assistant Coach Mike Castillo.
"The staff has had day-to-day contact with the student-athletes regarding their academics," he said. "We stress that quite a bit, and it's paid dividends."
The Huskies were led by 11 wrestlers with GPAs above 3.0. Redshirt sophomore Will McDermott holds a perfect 4.0 in psychology. Senior Kalen Knull earned a place on the Academic All-MAC Team after recording a 3.4 GPA and finishing third at the MAC Championships at 149 pounds.
Both of NIU's Mid-American Conference Individual Champions are among those with 3.0 or better GPAs .Redshirt freshman Pat McLemore has registered a 3.12 GPA in elementary education, and senior Pat Castillo, the conference's two-time Most Outstanding Wrestler, holds a 3.04 in physical education.
The Huskies finished the season with an 11-7-4 record in dual meets, and sent three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships.