Dave Pinto receives honors on Scholar All-American team

Being a student athlete means much more than just competing on game day. A student athlete needs willingness to bring that same effort to all aspects of their life academically and athletically. The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) likes to recognize athletes who excel above the rest of the competition, both academically and athletically, with the prestigious title of being inducted into the Scholar All-American Team.

This year the Norwich University wrestling team was proud to have one of their own named to this honor – the first time NU had a recipient since 2009.

Dave Pinto studies in the library, where he spends lots of time to maintain high academic standing. (Thomas Carson Photo)

Dave Pinto studies in the library, where he spends lots of time to maintain high academic standing. (Thomas Carson Photo)

In order to qualify for the team, an athlete must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher, compete in at least 50 percent of team competition dates, have a winning percentage of 67 percent or higher, and place within the top six of their region.

Dave Pinto, 20, a junior criminal justice major from Milford, Mass., was the first wrestler to make this cut since his current assistant coach, Connor Keating, back in 2009.

Pinto set this goal for himself in his freshmen year, but he was unable to make the cut due to injuries he had to battle during his first two years. Luckily, this year he was able to finish up the season without any injuries and in good academic standing.

“It feels great to accomplish one of my goals,” Pinto said, “but I’m ready to get back on the mat and try to repeat and hopefully make it and place to nationals next year.”

Pinto had a cumulative GPA of 3.4 with a 70 percent winning average, and took fourth at 165 pounds in his region.

Aside from Pinto, the team as a whole has shown success as student athletes this year. The team cumulative GPA was a 3.0 this year and there were five athletes with a 3.5 or higher.

“My goal as a coach is to teach my athletes to strive not only on the mat, but in the classroom and essentially with anything that they do,” said head wrestling coach Alexander Whitney.

“Dave is a prime example of what I try to preach to all of my wrestlers,” Whitney said, “and I look to him to lead by example so that his teammates will follow his footsteps.”

Pinto agrees that his efforts have helped to inspire his teammates as well. “Poole had come close to qualifying as well, and I know that he and many of the other guys are setting this as one of their goals for next season.”

“I know that I will get there next season,” said Evan Poole, 20, a junior criminal justice major from West Milford, N.J. “My grades are there and I’ve been working hard to get there, as long as I can manage to stay healthy I see no reason why I wouldn’t make it.”

“Dave is a true inspiration to me,” said James Duncan, 18, a freshman studies of war and peace major from Brewster, N.Y. He said that seeing Pinto manage academics and wresting with such success gives him someone to model his work ethic after.

Under the new assigned coaching staff, the team has been held responsible to attend one-on-one academic counseling this year with coach Keating, Pinto said.

“Coach K has done a great job of keeping tabs on all of the wrestlers academically this year and it has made a huge difference. Our cumulative GPA as a team has risen as a result,” Pinto said.  “Personally, I think these meetings are very effective on an individual level because each wrestler has his own private meeting as well as his own page in Coach’s grade book, making it a much more personalized process.”

Pinto states that meeting with his coach on a regular basis helped him to stay motivated in attaining his goal.

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