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November 7, 2013

Five earn Academic All-District

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Five Grove City College football players earned Capital One/College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Division III Academic All-District IV honors Thursday afternoon through voting by the region's sports information directors.

Senior safety Joe Diani (West Leechburg, Pa./Leechburg), senior safety Chris Gibbs (Akron, Ohio/Revere), sophomore defensive tackle Ryan Hickey (Murrysville, Pa./Franklin Regional), junior wingback Sam Ivan (Whitehouse, Ohio/Toledo Christian) and senior wide receiver Anthony Ritchie (Big Rock, Ill./Wheaton Academy) all earned First Team All-District honors.

All five men advance to the nationwide Academic All-America ballot. The Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America team will be announced later in November.

Diani and Gibbs each earned their third Academic All-District award. Ivan and Ritchie are both two-time honorees.

Diani has started all eight games at free safety this season for Grove City. He leads the Wolverines with three interceptions and has recorded 40 tackles this year. A three-year starter and four-year letterwinner in the defensive backfield, Diani led Grove City with five interceptions last year. He earned All-Presidents' Athletic Conference Honorable Mention at both punter and defensive back in 2012. In 2011, Diani tied for the team lead with three interceptions.

In the classroom, Diani has earned a 3.67 cumulative grade-point average while majoring in mathematics. He has been named to the Dean's List and the conference's Academic Honor Roll.

Gibbs is a four-year starter in the secondary, having played cornerback, free safety and strong safety in his career. This year, he has started all eight games at strong safety and has 78 total tackles. He leads the conference with three forced fumbles and his 78 tackles are tops among conference defensive backs. Gibbs led Grove City with 79 tackles in 2011 and ranked second with 68 stops last year. He has made 33 career starts.

Last year, Gibbs became the first junior Grove City football player to be named a CoSIDA Academic All-American. He also earned Academic All-District in both 2011 and 2012.

Gibbs has achieved a 3.93 cumulative GPA as a biology major. He is a Dean's List student and has been named to the league's Academic Honor Roll. He is also a Presidential Scholarship recipient. This past summer, he spent 10 weeks working in genomic research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Hickey has started six games at defensive tackle this year after playing extensively as a reserve in 2012. Hickey has collected 15 total tackles, including three for loss. He appeared in nine games as a freshman and tallied eight tackles.

Hickey owns a 3.80 grade-point average while majoring in mechanical engineering. He has been named to both the Dean's List and the conference's Academic Honor Roll.

The versatile Ivan has played in all eight games for Grove City and is third on the team in rushing with 120 yards on just 19 carries. He is averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Ivan has also caught 13 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown.

Ivan is a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter in the backfield for the Wolverines. He also earned Academic All-District recognition last year after ranking third on the team in rushing and fifth in receptions.

Ivan has achieved a 3.77 grade-point average while majoring in molecular biology. He is a Dean's List honoree and has also been named to the conference Academic Honor Roll.

Ritchie is in his third season as a starting wide receiver for Grove City. He leads the Wolverines in receptions (46), receiving yards (613) and all-purpose yards (698) this year. A four-year letterman, he is third all-time at Grove City with 135 career receptions. His 1,640 receiving yards also rank third in program history.

Ritchie led Grove City with 41 catches in 2011 and then had a team-high 43 receptions last year. He earned All-PAC Honorable Mention and CoSIDA Academic All-District as a junior.

He has earned a 3.57 GPA while majoring in mechanical engineering. Ritchie is a Dean's List honoree. He has also been named to the conference Academic Honor Roll.

The 2013-14 academic year marks the third year that CoSIDA has based its Academic All-America program on individual divisions within college athletics. Currently, CoSIDA honors student-athletes in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, along with a "College" division that includes NAIA institutions and junior colleges.

Grove City is now part of District IV for the CoSIDA Academic All-America program. District IV includes all of the NCAA Division III programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

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