May 10, 2008
Stanford, Calif. -
The Stanford wrestling team was listed among the nation's best academic programs when the National Wrestling Coaches Association announced its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 and Individual All-Academic wrestling teams for the 2007-08 season. Stanford came in fourth among all Division I programs with a 3.269 GPA.
Seniors Tanner Gardner and Josh Zupancic, along with sophomore Jake Johnson, all received individual NWCA Academic All-America honors.
Gardner, who has already completed a BA in Public Policy and is finishing his Master's in Sociology, was honored for the third straight year. Boasting a 3.73 undergraduate GPA and a 4.00 graduate GPA, Gardner won his second-straight Pac-10 Championship at 125 pounds this year and became Stanford's first three-time All-American with a fifth place finish at the NCAA Championships. The redshirt senior also shattered Stanford's career win record, bested his own single-season win record and topped the school's single-season pin record this year. Gardner's perfect GPA while working towards his Master's was the highest in the nation.
Zupancic, an American Studies major with a 3.71 GPA, earned his fourth Academic All-America honor. The Akron, Ohio native finished third in the Pac-10 at 157 pounds, before claiming his second All-America honor with a sixth place national finish. Zupancic finished his senior season with a 39-9 record, and etched his named in the record books as the third winningest wrestler in school history.
Johnson, an undeclared major with a 3.39 GPA, went 25-14 and claimed sixth place in the Pac-10. The sophomore finished third on the team with 59 dual points in his first season as the team's 197-pound starter.
To be eligible for consideration, teams comprise 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 may fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.
Individually, wrestlers must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA, been an NCAA qualifier or won 60 percent of his total schedule - and must have competed in at least 60 percent of said schedule. The other way to qualify for the All-Academic team is have a 3.0 cumulative and been an NCAA All-American.
"We're seeing more teams and more coaches aware on how important being recognized for academics can be," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. "We had mountains of data to look through and reference while compiling this information. Our staff was impressed with not only the volume of nominations, but the number of new programs who were submitting All-Academic recommendations."
Last season, 57 wrestlers were named to the All-Academic team. This year, that number increased 35 percent to 88 total wrestlers. Duke and American tied for the top GPA in the nation with a 3.335. Stanford was among 11 schools to have three or more All-Academic Selections.