CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT dominated the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District team that was released by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Seven of the 25 positions on the team were filled by Engineers, the most by any team in the New England Football Conference. Senior offensive lineman Ethan Peterson (Rutland, Vt.), senior defensive lineman Russell Spivak (Scarsdale, N.Y.), junior defensive back Rhys Borchert (Pocatello, Idaho), junior defensive back Matt Merlino (Vancouver, Wash.), junior defensive lineman Joel Santisteban (Lawrence, N.Y.), sophomore receiver Brad Goldsberry (Elizabeth, Colo.) and sophomore running back Justin Wallace (Palatine, Ill.) were the Engineers selected for the honor. All will now advance to the Capitol One Academic All-America ballot, from which first, second and third team All-America honorees will be selected later in November.
Peterson, a first team All-NEFC selection this season, was a second team Academic All-American in 2011. A nuclear science and engineering major with a 4.8 GPA (5.0 scale), Peterson was recently named a finalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy that recognizes the best scholar-athlete in the nation. Peterson was the leader of the MIT offensive line that that was among the national leaders in allowing the fewest sacks. The Engineers allowed just nine sacks all season, tying for the best mark in the NEFC.
A starter along the defensive front, Spivak was among the leaders on the line with 29 tackles this season. A management and political science major with a 4.8 GPA, he also tied for the team lead with 5.5 tackles for a loss of team best 29 yards.
A repeat member of the all-district team from last season, Borchert finished fourth on the squad with 54 tackles. Majoring in physics with a 4.9 GPA, he intercepted two passes and broke up three others for the Engineers as well as serving as one of the team's primary kick returners, averaging 20.3 yards per kick return and 12.3 on punt returns.
Another starter in the defensive backfield, Merlino tied for second on the team with 69 tackles in 2012. An electrical engineering and computer science major with a 4.4 GPA, he shared the team lead with three interceptions while also leading the Engineers with six pass breakups.
Santisteban was solid along the defensive line for MIT, leading all linemen with 33 tackles. Majoring in aerospace engineering with a 4.4 GPA, he led the line with three passes broken up while also getting in on 1.5 sacks.
Goldsberry, a first team All-NEFC selection, turned in one of the most prolific seasons in MIT history in terms of all-purpose yardage. Playing at receiver, running back and kick returner he led the Engineers with 56 receptions for 666 yards and three scores. He also rushed for 458 yards and four more TDs as well as returning kicks and punts for a total of 585 yards. Majoring in mechanical engineering with a 4.5 GPA, he was among the national leaders in all-purpose yards all season and led the NEFC with his 189.9 yards per game average in that category.
Also a first team All-NEFC pick, Wallace has now led the team in rushing in back-to-back seasons after finishing with 867 yards and nine touchdowns to place fourth in the NEFC in rushing in 2012. An aerospace engineering major with a 4.6 GPA, he is already third all-time at MIT in rushing yards with 1,848.