Wrestler James Melnyk named to Academic All-America team
RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE CLASSROOM
James Melnyk, a sophomore wrestler at Penn State New Kensington, was named to a national Academic All-America team.
Melnyk was recognized for his academic achievements by the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, the national governing body for the New Kensington wrestling program. The NCWA recognizes student-athletes who have grade-point averages of 3.5 and above. Melnyk is the first campus wrestler to receive the honor.
The award complements his selection to the Penn State University Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference team. In addition, Melnyk is a recipient of the campus’ John Evans Scholar/Athlete Memorial Award for outstanding academic achievement while participating in an intercollegiate sport.
A product of Schenley High School, Melnyk was invited to the NCWA nationals by finishing in the top six of the Mid-East Regionals. He was ranked 63rd out of 172 opponents in his 168-pound weight class and went 1-2 in the tournament to earn a Top 25 ranking.
Melnyk lost his first match in the 165-pound class, climbed up the consolation ladder with a win over Will Royster of the University of Michigan, and ended the tournament with a loss to Stephen Kemp of Lindenwood. A 157-pounder during the regular season, Melnyk wrestled up a class at the nationals.
During the regular season, Melnyk sported a 4-8 mark, including three pins. He earned an honorable mention on the Penn State University Athletic Conference All-Conference team.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Derek Caldwell, the New Kensington Lions finished the season with a 7-13 record in dual competition. Caldwell has helped resuscitate a program that was dormant from 1975 to 2010. Wrestling was a staple of the campus athletic program in the early 1970s.