MANHEIM, Pa. – Gardner-Webb had three wrestlers earn a spot on the 2017 National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic Team and the Runnin' Bulldogs were among the 30 teams honored by the NWCA for academic success.
A total of 135 wrestlers comprised the NWCA All-Academic Team, which is announced annually. Gardner-Webb ranked No. 28 in the team academic standings released by the NWCA, compiling a 3.120 team GPA.
The Runnin' Bulldogs were one of only three SoCon programs included in the team rankings. Each team's grade point average is determined by the NWCA using a system that includes 12 student-athletes from each program. A total of 10 spots were made up of wrestlers who participated in the conference tournament or NCAA qualifier event.
"We take a lot of pride as a program in our team's success in the classroom, and we demand concentration on excellence in that arena as well as on the mat" said head coach Daniel Elliott. "Our wrestlers have accepted that challenge well and we will continue to expect a high level of performance in all areas of their college experience."
Individually, Gardner-Webb was represented on the NWCA All-Academic Team by Boyce Cornwell (Conyers, Ga. / Heritage HS), Hunter Gamble (McDonough, Ga. / Union Grove HS) and Tyler Marinelli (Jefferson, Ga. / Jefferson HS).
Cornwell, a graduate student pursuing his MBA, carries a 3.50 cumulative GPA and made his second-straight appearance on the NWCA All-Academic individual team.
The 285-pound standout narrowly missed his second-straight berth in the NCAA Division I Championships, finishing the 2016-2017 season with a 22-12 overall mark against a very tough slate of opponents.
Cornwell went 11-6 in dual matches, with three pins and one tech fall.
He topped the 20-win mark for the second season in a row and finished his four-year career with the Runnin' Bulldogs with 65 wins – with 45 coming as a heavyweight over the past two seasons.
Gamble, a fifth-year senior, carries a 3.59 cumulative GPA as a major in economics and finance.
A veteran of two NCAA Championship events, qualifying in 2013 and 2017, Gamble finished his final season with the Runnin' Bulldogs with a 26-8 overall mark at 184 pounds. He went 2-2 a the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships in St. Louis, Mo., which included a quick pin of 5th-ranked Virginia Tech wrestler Zachary Zavatsky in the consolation bracket.
Gamble finished with 87 wins over his four-year career, with at least 24 victories in three of his four seasons on the mat. He went 18-6 for his career in SoCon matches, which included a 7-0 mark as a junior – when he helped GWU to a share of the league's regular season crown.
Marinelli, a redshirt sophomore, has compiled a 3.45 cumulative GPA as an exercise science major.
Marinelli enjoyed a breakout season at 165 pounds, going 17-7 with a 5-1 mark against SoCon foes. He was ranked as high as No. 12 nationally by FloWrestling during the regular season and finished with a 10-2 dual mark in his first season wrestling with the Runnin' Bulldogs at 165 pounds.
Gardner-Webb put three wrestlers in the NCAA Division I Championships for the second season in a row and has seen 27 wrestlers qualify for the championships since becoming full Division I members for the 2002-2003 season.