James Bethel and Michael Smith earn national academic honors, Red Dragons earn team award

Two SUNY Oneonta wrestlers were recognized as NWCA Scholar All-Americans for their work in the classroom. Oneonta also earned honors as a team placing 25th overall in Division III. Earning individual recognition was senior James Bethel and sophomore Michael Smith. Bethel is being recognized for a third straight year while Smith is being honored for the first time.

Bethel became the first wrestler in program history to earn All-American honors four times when he placed third at the NCAA Division III championships. He will leave the program as its all-time leader in wins (167) and pins (91), which includes a record of 50-2 this season. He captured his fourth Regional title this winter and was selected as the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Mideast Regional championships. His dominance on the mat earned him the distinction as this year’s Most Dominant Wrestler Award for Division III.

Bethel has been inducted into two National Honor Societies, is the SAAC President and has been a Student Director on the College at Oneonta Foundation Board.

Smith, a Criminal Justice major, finished his season 13-13 overall with four pins. Smith’s season culminated with a fifth place finish at the Mideast Regional championships earning All-Region honors.

To be a Scholar All-American, wrestlers must have been a national qualifier in this season or placed in the top six at the NCAA Regional tournament or have a minimum record of .500 won/loss while competing in 50 percent of the team’s NCAA sanctioned schedule. They must have a cumulative GPA over the previous two semesters OR cumulative GPA of 3.2+. They also are eligible if they had a winning percentage of 67% but did not place in the Top six at regionals.

The Red Dragons finished its 2018-19 campaign with an overall dual-meet record of 12-7 while finishing in 19th place at the NCAA Championships. The Red Dragons also placed 10th at the NYS Collegiate Championships and fifth at the Mideast Regional Championships.