NEW YORK – On Tuesday, the National Wrestling Coaches Association recognized the Columbia wrestling team as one of its Division I All-Academic Top 30 Teams. Juniors Steve Santos
and Jake O'Hara
were named to the 2011-12 NWCA Individual All-Academic wrestling team.
The Lions combined for the 12th-best wrestling team grade-point average in the country at 3.1514. This marks the 16th-consecutive year that Columbia has earned the team honor, going back to the 1996-97 season. Nebraska-Lincoln took top honors this year with a 3.4623 team GPA.
Columbia was one of seven EIWA squads to be represented in the Top 30.
For teams to be eligible for consideration, the team GPA is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers that were the entries in the NCAA tournament conference qualifier. If teams had less than 10 entries for their respective qualifier, they may fill those spots with wrestlers that competed in at least one varsity dual during the season.
On this year’s Individual All-Academic Team there are 87 total athletes, five NCAA champions, three NCAA runners-up, 23 All-Americans and 77 NCAA qualifiers. O’Hara and Santos were both NCAA qualifiers and earned NWCA All-Academic Team honors for the first team in their Columbia careers.
Santos, a financial economics major, enjoyed an outstanding 2011-12 season at 149 pounds. The junior posted a 26-11 overall record and was the Lions’ most-reliable wrestler in duals with an 11-2 record. He was a first team All-Ivy League selection after going 4-1 in conference duals. Santos qualified for the NCAA Championships after taking fourth place at the EIWA Championships. At the NCAAs, the Brick, N.J., native notched three victories and was one win away from earning All-America status.
O’Hara, also a financial economics major, had a breakout 2011-12 season at 157 pounds, going 30-16 overall with a team-high 10 wins by major decision. He qualified for the NCAA Championships by finishing fifth at the EIWAs at 157. At the NCAAs, O’Hara notched a pair of wins, including a thrilling 6-4 decision in overtime over Northern Iowa’s David Bonin.