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Three Monarchs Named to NWCA All-Academic Team

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: June 05, 2009
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June 5, 2009

MANHEIM, Pa. -- Three ODU wrestling Monarchs were announced as members of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division I All-Academic Team for the 2008-09 season. Senior NCAA Finalist Ryan Williams (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) earned the honor for the third straight year, while James Nicholson (Des Moines, Iowa) and Kyle Hutter (Mokena, Ill.) were named for the second straight.

"We are please once again to place three Student Athletes on the National All-Academic team," said head coach Steve Martin. "These individuals are to be commended for carrying over the values that they have learned in athletics to the classroom. Ryan Williams again has set the standard for Old Dominion Wrestling and has become the first ever three-time selection in program history."

All three were NCAA Qualifiers for the Monarchs this season, leading ODU to the highest national ranking in school history, at 16th in the nation. ODU also finished higher at the national event than ever before, finishing among the top 20 teams for the first time. ODU went 17-6 including a perfect 5-0 CAA record to capture the regular season title for the first time in school history.

"The fact that we are one of only five programs in the country that placed three or more student-athletes on the team speaks volumes for the direction of the program," said Martin.

Williams led the way for the Monarchs, reaching the NCAA Tournament Finals and becoming the second All-American in as many years for head coach Steve Martin. He became the all-time leader in wins for ODU with 137 and just the second Division I finalist in school history. He was named the ODU Male Athlete of the Year, as well as the CAA Wrestler of the Year, Virginia Sports Information Directors Wrestler of the Year and the Norfolk Sports Club Top Senior Athlete award winner. He becomes the program's first ever three-time National All-Academic team member and posted a 3.33 cumulative GPA, majoring in Marketing.

Junior Kyle Hutter earned his second selection to the All-Academic team after reaching the NCAA Tournament for a consecutive season. He became the first Monarch to earn an at-large bid by the NCAA Selection Committee under the new format. The junior 133-pounder went 22-12 in the regular season and finished second at the CAA Tournament. Hutter carried a 3.35 GPA in Accounting this year.

Joining the two upperclassmen on the All-Academic team is repeat selection James Nicholson. Nicholson posted a 3.62 GPA in Finance while maintaining a Top 10 ranking all season long. He managed a 36-4 record and has 71 career victories already, through just two seasons. He won his second straight CAA Championship and earned a return trip to the NCAA Tournament in his sophomore season, going 1-2 at the big dance.

ODU also boasts three Scholastic All-Americans, according the Wrestling USA, in the 2009-10 recruiting class. John Nicholson, Justin LaValle and Joey Sheridan were listed by the national magazine as 2008-09 honorees. Nicholson ranks in the top five in the nation and is a two-time Iowa state champion. LaValle ranks seventh in the nation and was a USA Wrestling Junior National All-American in 2008. Sheridan also ranks in the top ten for his weight class, and is a three-time Oklahoma state champion.

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