Powers named All-American, Knox becomes two-time Scholar-Athlete
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sioux City, IA -- The Cumberland University Bulldogs provided an exciting first session at the Tyson Events Center by getting eight of the school-record 12 national qualified wrestlers to win their first match. At the end of Thursday's first session, the Bulldogs were in eighth place. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs did not have a good second and third day, dropping to 20th with 22.5 points by the end of the tournament on Saturday, March 8.

Junior Jordan Powers led the Bulldogs at the 2008 NAIA national tournament, becoming the sole All-American.

"Even though we did not do as well as we had set out to do at the beginning of the year, I am proud of our national tournament. The character of the team is what I am proud of most. We had four guys out there who could barely walk. Three will be having knee surgery, and one wrestled with a broken bone," CU Head Coach Jarad Swint said. "They all had a great chance of being All-Americans or national champs. For these guys to want to wrestle for their team shows me that the future of this program is going to be great. The results weren't there, but I believe they will be in the near future."

Powers, at 184, was practically a walk-on wrestler three years ago. He did not qualify for the state tournament in his senior year of high school. He was working masonry when he decided to pursue his education at Cumberland University and to give wrestling one more shot. Over the past three years, Powers has worked very hard to get his grades up close to a 'B' average and consistently better himself as a wrestler, Swint noted. Each year, the team has a pre-season distance run on the first day back to campus, and Powers has won it for the past two years.

"We are so proud of Jordan for being an All-American, but also for the man that he has become on the mat and in the classroom," Swint said. "It always feels great to get a guy like Jordan to be so successful. He had a lot of adversity to overcome."

Powers won his first two matches by defeating Richard Farrell from Southern Oregon 2-1 and Trey Jackson from York College 11-2. He advanced to the quarterfinal round and lost to Chris Thompson from Montana State University Northern 13-4. Powers then had a must-win match to become an All-American and did so convincingly by defeating Lindenwood University's Neil Kemp 8-1. Powers lost his next two matches to take eighth place. He will be one of three returning All-Americans from the national tournament at this weight. The other All-Americans were seniors.

Junior Kyle Knox became a two-time Academic Scholar-Athlete with a cumulative GPA of 3.51. Hailing from Alpharetta, Georgia, Knox is a business major in the Labry School of Business and Economics at CU.

"Kyle is a very bright guy, and we are lucky to have him on our team," Swint said. "To see him on that stage for the second time is a proud moment. He transferred to Cumberland after one year at another school. He was ineligible to wrestle in his first semester at Cumberland. He turned his grades around and never looked back."