The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) announced today their Division I All-Academic individuals, with the University of Minnesota wrestling team having three selected this year.
Senior Nick Wanzek, junior Ethan Lizak, and sophomore Mitch McKee all earned the honor for their outstanding work in the classroom. The three also were NCAA qualifiers, with Lizak earning All-American honors at the 2018 NCAA Championships in March. For Lizak and McKee, it is their second academic honor from the NWCA after receiving the same honor in 2017.
The Minnesota wrestling program has been known as one where wrestlers take the work ethic they’ve developed in the wrestling room and apply it in the classroom and in the community. The Gophers have regularly been one of the most-decorated wrestling programs when it comes to academic honors, both in the Big Ten and nationally. The program also has a well-earned reputation as service-oriented, often logging a significant number of community service hours each year.
This season the Gophers also broke a team academic record with 15 wrestlers made the Big Ten All-Academic team. The 15 is the most in the program’s history, up from nine in 2017. Of those 15, James Berg, Carson Brolsma, Ethan Lizak, Chris Pfarr, Rylee Streifel, Gannon Volk and Nick Wanzek are all multiple time recipients.
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.