NEW YORK CITY — North Dakota State University 149-pounder Clay Ream won the Elite 90 Award presented prior to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship matches Saturday, March 19, at Madison Square Garden.
The award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average at each of the NCAA’s 90 national championships. Ream, a redshirt sophomore from Wentzville, Mo., has a 4.0 G.P.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology.
An award founded by the NCAA, the Elite 90 recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.
“I’ve always seen myself as a nerd,” said Ream. “I just focus on my grades because it’s important to me. I put in a lot of hours. I try to be efficient as I can with my time. When I wrestle, I train as hard as I can.”
Ream is the fifth North Dakota State student-athlete to earn the award. He joins quarterback Carson Wentz, who was a three-time winner at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 FCS football championship games. Rounding out the select group are women’s golfer Amy Anderson and women’s track and field competitor Whitney Carlson, who each won at the 2011 national championships, as well as linebacker Esley Thorton, who was the 2013 football recipient.
Ream completed in his second NCAA tournament appearance with a 1-2 record including a 17-2 tech fall over two-time All-American Evan Henderson of North Carolina. He is 3-4 overall in NCAA competition. Ream compiled a 22-17 record this season including a third place finish at the Big 12 Championships.
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“I believe that being a student comes first and our coaching staff believes in that as well,” said Ream. “We work hard for a career. Wrestling, our sport, is important, but it isn’t a career. Wrestling is fun to do. I love to go out there and compete for NDSU, but in the end I am going to need to have a career after this.”
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
For more information on the Elite 90 award winners, log on to NCAA.com/elite-90.
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