Roadrunner wrestling team, four individuals earn NJCAA Academic All-American status

Published 1:16 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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DOWAGIAC — The accolades keep rolling in for the Southwestern Michigan College wrestling program.

After a successful return to the mat after more than 30 years, the Roadrunners captured the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s dual tournament and then went on to win the MCCAA championship, a first for Southwestern Michigan College.

Head Coach Todd Hesson did that with a roster filled with freshmen.

The Roadrunners did not only excel on the mat, but in the classroom as well as it finished with a team GPA of 3.13, which was fifth-best in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Because of that, Southwestern Michigan College earned All-American status.

Itasca Community College topped the nation with a GPA of 3.75. Pratt Community College was second (3.585), Iowa Western Community College was third (3.35) and Indian Hills Community College was fourth (3.136).

“It is an absolute honor to recognize these outstanding student-athletes for their incredible accomplishments,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “These wrestlers have demonstrated unwavering dedication to both their academic and athletic pursuits, and we are proud to celebrate their achievements.”

The Roadrunners also had four individual wrestlers earn Academic All-American honors.

They were Gage Ensign (Constantine) with a GPA of 4.0, Vinny Patierno (Pickney) with a GPA of 3.85, Gabe Livingston (Battle Creek Lakeview) with a GPA of 3.56 and Hunter Heath (Brandywine) with a GPA of 3.27.

Academic All-American awards in other sports will be released later this year after spring grades have been submitted to the NJCAA.