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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Three members of head coach Cael Sanderson’s Penn State wrestling team have been named to the National Wrestling Coaching Association (NWCA) National All-Academic Team.
Individual NCAA National Champions Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) and Jason Nolf (Yatesboro, Pa.) and three-time NCAA qualifier Matt McCutcheon (Apollo, Pa.) were all honored as first team NWCA National All-Academic selections, as announced by the organization earlier this week. For Retherford and Nolf, this marks the second straight year the duo earned NWCA All-Academic laurels. McCutcheon is now a three-time member of the NWCA’s All-Academic team.
Retherford, a junior, amassed a 3.72 grade point average and is a finance major. Retherford is a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA national champion. The Lion won the 2017 title at 149 with an 18-2 tech fall over Missouri’s Lavion Mayes in the finals. Retherford posted a perfect 28-0 record this year with 17 pins, won both the Big Ten and NCAA Championship Outstanding Wrestler Awards, and was the 2017 Hodge Trophy winner as the nation’s top collegiate wrestler. He also earned Big Ten All-Academic laurels this season.
Nolf, a sophomore, posted a 3.75 grade point average and is a kinesiology major. The Lion is a two-time All-American, two-time NCAA finalist and won the 2017 NCAA title at 157 with a 14-6 major over Missouri’s Joey Lavallee. Nolf went 27-0 this season with 14 pins and was named the 2017 Big Ten Wrestler of the Year. He also earned Big Ten All-Academic honors.
McCutcheon, a junior, had a 3.36 grade point average and is a kinesiology major. The Lion 197-pounder is a three-time NCAA qualifier and a three-time first team NWCA All-Academic honoree. He went 20-6 this season and picked up two key wins at the 2017 NCAA Championships. McCutcheon earned his third straight Academic All-Big Ten selection this year as well.
As a team, Penn State posted a 3.27 team GPA, a touch higher than last year’s already impressive 3.26. The Nittany Lions posted their eighth top 30 team GPA finish (19th overall this season) in Sanderson’s eight years at Penn State and their seventh top 20. Penn State now has 30 NWCA Academic All-American honorees during Sanderson’s time as Penn State head coach, an average of just under four per season.
Penn State won its sixth NCAA national championship in the last seven years in St. Louis in March. Penn State also won the 2017 Big Ten Regular season crown and the NWCA Dual Championship Series title, going 14-0 overall with a 9-0 mark in conference action. Penn State returns nine of its starters, eight of nine NCAA qualifiers and all six of its 2017 All-Americans for next the 2017-18 season (including five NCAA Champions).
Penn State Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at @pennstateWREST, on Penn State Wrestling’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/pennstatewrest. The 2016-17 Penn State wrestling season is presented by The Family Clothesline. This is PENN STATE. WRESTLING lives here.