Nate Rodriguez Earns Conference Athlete of the Year Award

Even after the culmination of wrestling season, Maryville University’s Nate Rodriguez keeps pinning down awards and accolades.

Rodriguez just added the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) Richard F. Scharf Paragon Award to his ever-growing trophy case when he was honored at a ceremony in St. Louis. The Paragon Award is awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete, based upon academic excellence, athletic ability and achievement, character and leadership.

“It’s great to be recognized here,” says Rodriguez in an interview with Jim Powers, Coordinator of Athletics Communications at “It’s even better that wrestling got promoted into the GLVC, and I think that’s the best thing.”

Rodriguez becomes the first Maryville Saint to be honored with the conference athlete of the year award after becoming a national champion in the 141-pound class and graduating from college with a 3.97 GPA. He has been accepted into medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

“Nate has been an outstanding student athlete,” says Mark Lombardi, PhD, president of Maryville University, in an interview for “We are so thrilled to be able to salute him.”

Nate Rodriguez wins GLVC Male Athlete of the Year Award
Photo courtesy of GLVC

Saints wrestling head coach Mike Denney says there are very few like Rodriguez who have that combination of being a great student and athlete.

“He comes in everyday and works hard,” says Denney. “He’s like that in the classroom, too.”

On the wrestling mat, Rodriguez became the second Maryville student-athlete to become a national champion after he defeated Darren Wynn during the NCAA Division II wrestling finals in March.

“It feels pretty cool, and to do it for Maryville is even better,” says Rodriguez. “My goal this year was to be an NCAA champ. It was on my symbol and it didn’t matter what was going to happen, I was going to reach it.”

*Rodriguez also accomplished the following during the 2016-17 academic year:

  • No. 1 ranked wrestler all season and finished the season with a 32-2 record
  • Won Super Region 3 title
  • Voted the Super Region Wrestler of the Year
  • All-American
  • NWCA Academic All-American
  • First-team All-GLVC selection
  • Maryville Male Student-Athlete of the Year
  • GLVC Academic All-Conference honors
  • Maryville Dean’s List
  • GLVC Sportsmanship Award for wrestling

*Information provided by


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