June 8, 2009
Complete NWCA Top-30 in PDF Format
DeKALB - For the fourth straight year, the Northern Illinois wrestling team has been listed among the nation's elite academic programs, the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) announced in its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 Team.
With a 3.07 team grade point average, the Huskies ranked 11th in the country. NIU was the top Mid-American Conference school and placed just behind Cornell for what would have been two straight seasons of top-10 accolades. In 2007-08, the Huskies finished 10th in the NWCA rankings, while NIU finished 16th in each of the two years prior.
"This demonstrates our long-term success in the classroom and commitment to academics,"13th-year head coach Dave Grant said. "For many years now, I've been very proud of our student-athletes for the hard work they put in on and off the mat."
Northern Illinois wrestling also repeated as champions of the MAC in the Academic Progress Rate (APR), the primary tool used by the NCAA to judge academic progress, and measure eligibility, retention and graduation of student-athletes.
"The ultimate goal for our student-athletes is to get an NIU degree," Grant said. "Success in that area has a lot to do with recruiting student-athletes that have the total package academically. That's something we've always prided ourselves on and will continue to do in the future," Grant said.
Four-year matman Will McDermott (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) highlighted the Huskies' academic success by graduating in May with a perfect 4.0 GPA as a psychology major.
"Will is a very reliable hard-working individual that was dedicated with his wrestling and his academics," Grant said. "Very few people graduate with straight-`A's all the way through college and we're extremely proud of the way he's represented the university and the wrestling program."
The team GPA is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers that were the entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they were able to fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.
"We are finding that year in and year out, coaches strive to have their team's listed as an All-Academic Team. This is another measure of success for these programs," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. "There is so much more to wrestling than what is done on the mat and we see just one part of that here with the All-Academic Team."
The academic notice caps a year that saw the Huskies earn an individual MAC title the for 10th straight season, and place two grapplers in the NCAA Championships.