LA CROSSE, Wis. – Augsburg College’s Tony Valek (SR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West) was named the recipient of the NCAA Elite 89 Award as the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average at the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships, it was announced on Saturday.
According to the NCAA: “The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA championships.”
A three-time NCAA All-American at 149 pounds, Valek is an accounting/general management major with a 3.87 grade-point average. He has earned National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Scholar All-America honors his final three seasons, while also earning Capital One Academic All-America (CoSIDA) first-team honors in 2011.
A four-time national tournament qualifier, Valek finished as national runner-up at 149 in both 2011 and 2010. Valek finished this season in third place at 149, finishing his season at 34-1. Of his 34 victories, 29 were bonus-point victories (15 pins, two technical falls, 12 major decisions).
Valek finished his career with a 136-25 record, with 87 bonus-point victories (60 pins, six technical falls, 21 major decisions).
Valek received the Elite 89 award from Augsburg Athletic Director Jeff Swenson, chairman of the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Committee, prior to the championship matches on Saturday evening at the La Crosse Center.
On Thursday, Valek and four other Auggies – 197-pounder Brad Baus (SR, Mukwonago, Wis.), 141-pounder Will Keeter (SO, Twin Falls, Idaho), 165-pounder Tommy Teigen (SO, Ham Lake, Minn./Meadow Creek Christian HS) and heavyweight Chad Johnson (SO, Ferryville, Wis./De Soto HS) – were named NWCA Division III Scholar All-Americans, and Augsburg received the highest team grade-point average award from the NWCA, with a 3.7341 team GPA.
Augsburg finished second as a team at the Division III national championships on Saturday night, earning five Al-American honors.