Team, Three Johnnies Earn NWCA Academic Awards

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Saint John’s University wrestling team and three of its student-athletes received 2018-19 National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) academic honors at the NCAA Division III Championships March 8-9 in Roanoke, Va.

Senior Luke Dodd (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) and juniors Noah Becker (Browerville, Minn.) and Jerod Novak (Aitkin, Minn.) were named NWCA Scholar All-Americans, each for the second time, while the Johnnies recorded the seventh-best GPA (3.65) en route to NWCA All-Academic team honors.

The NWCA All-America Scholar award is the second consecutive for Becker, while Dodd and Novak achieved the honor as sophomores in 2016-17.

To be eligible for Scholar All-America distinction, a student-athlete must carry a GPA of at least 3.20 (cumulative or last academic year), have a .500 match record or better and meet one of the three criteria: 1) qualify for the NCAA Championships; 2) place in the top eight at the NCAA regional and wrestle in 50 percent of the scheduled dates; or 3) achieve a .665 winning percentage or better and wrestle in 50 percent of the scheduled dates.

SJU has now totaled 24 Scholar All-Americans over the last 11 seasons.

The team grade-point average was determined using a system that includes 14 student-athletes from each program, including all 10 that competed at the NCAA Upper Midwest Regional.

Dodd is a global business leadership major with a 3.48 GPA. He earned his second appearance at the NCAA Division III Championships March 8 with a third-place finish at the NCAA regional and ended the season with a 16-8 record at 197 pounds. He qualified for nationals at 184 pounds as a sophomore in 2016-17.

A global business leadership major with a 3.35 GPA, Becker received the NWCA honor this season, as well as retroactively for 2017-18 at 125 pounds. He thought to have missed academic honors by one win with a 20-10 record last season, when the qualifying winning percentage was .667 (and did not round up). Becker finished sixth at the NCAA regional this season and led SJU with a 26-4 record at 133 pounds.

Novak, who is a nursing major with a 3.86 GPA, missed the fall portion of the 2018-19 season due to knee surgery and made his debut Jan. 12 as SJU won the 12-team Elmhurst (Ill.) Invitational. He finished sixth at 157 pounds at the NCAA regional and ended the year with a 15-8 record.

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