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Former Phoenix star leads the nation in grades

STANFORD, Calif. — Former Phoenix High wrestler Nick Amuchastegui had the highest grade-point average of all NCAA Division I wrestlers this past winter, helping Stanford rank among the nation's best.

The Cardinal was well represented when the National Wrestling Coaches Association announced its annual Division I All-Academic Top 30 and individual all-academic wrestling teams for the 2008-09 season.

Stanford came in third among all Division I programs with a 3.2574 GPA.

Amuchastegui, a redshirt freshman, and junior Jake Johnson were named NWCA Academic All-Americans. Amuchastegui's leading GPA was 3.93. The others in the top five were Liberty's Christian Smith (3.92), Nebraska's Tucker Lane (3.92), Utah Valley's Jeffrey Newby (3.82) and Edinboro's Jarrod King (3.78).

Amuchastegui, a mechanical engineering major who was also named to the Pac-10 All-Academic first team, finished the season with a 29-8 record, matching teammate Zack Giesen's 2007 effort as the third-winningest rookie in school history. Giesen is a North Valley product.

In the course of his notable freshman campaign, Amuchastegui, whose family lives in Talent, led the team with 75 dual points, was the Pac-10 runner-up at 165 pounds and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA championships.

He upended two ranked opponents during the year, including a stunning upset of fifth-seeded Nick Marable in his first career NCAA championship match.

Johnson, a management science and engineering major with a 3.46 GPA, went 31-15 and claimed third place in the Pac-10 this season.

As a team, Stanford finished third among Division I squads behind American and Harvard. The Cardinal moved up one place from last year.

The team GPA is comprised of 12 student athletes, including the 10 wrestlers that were 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.

Individually, wrestlers must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA, been an NCAA qualifier or won 60 percent of his total schedule - and must have competed in at least 60 percent of the team's schedule. The other way to qualify is to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and be an NCAA All-American.

The 2008-09 NWCA Academic All-Americans are highlighted by a total of 51 NCAA qualifiers, 17 NCAA All-Americans, eight NCAA finalists and five NCAA champions. In total 73 individuals representing 45 schools were honored.