Central Christian College’s Devontae Fitzgerald has been named to the NAIA Wrestling All-Academic team.
He is a freshman from New Kent, Va.
The All-Academic team is sponsored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association and all three divisions of the NCAA as well as the NAIA are represented. Fitzgerald was one of only 49 NAIA recipients and was one of just eight freshmen chosen.
Fitzgerald, who carries a 3.95 cumulative grade point average, had a tremendous season for the Tigers, who were a first-year program. He was ineligible during the first semester and planned to redshirt, but Central head coach Tom Carr made him a deal that if he got straight A's first semester and was eligible, he would remove the redshirt and let him compete. Fitzgerald accepted the challenge at the end of first semester he had all A’s.
He took second in the regional tournament to earn a national berth. At nationals he was matched against the eventual national champion in the first round and lost by a fall. He bounced back to win his next match to even his record at 1-1. In his third match of the tournament he was leading late in the third period, but wound up losing by a fall.
“This year Devontae has carried an immense weight as the leader of this team,” Carr said. “He has shown the dedication it takes to succeed on the mat and in the classroom. Through hard work and perseverance Devontae has earned the recognition of being one of the best student-athletes in our sport."