Costella wins NCAA postgraduate award |

Costella wins NCAA postgraduate award

Carson High graduate Ryan Costella can now officially call himself one of the nation’s top collegiate student-athletes.

Costella, who will graduate from Villanova on May 16 with a grade point average above 3.8, has been awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, the most prestigous award the NCAA gives to graduate student-athletes.

It’s more than likely that Costella will use the NCAA scholarship, which is $7,500, to help pay for costs to attend Cambridge University in England, but his options are still open. Costella said he’s “98 1/2 percent sure I’m going to Cambridge in October.”

Costella, who was captain of this year’s Villanova men’s swim team, is still waiting to find out if he’ll receive a Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. State Department, another prestigious award that goes to students studying abroad. He’s a finalist for the award. If he receives the Fulbright Scholarship, Costella could use it to attend Beijing University in China for a one-year program.

The program at Cambridge is two years, which includes two terms at Beijing. Costella majored in political science and English with an honors concentration and minor in Chinese.

“It was kind of crazy but I did it,” said Costella about completing his undergraduate studies.

One of Costella’s major interests is Chinese relations and he would participate in the Chinese studies program at Cambridge, which would cover the Chinese language, politics and economics.

Costella is also in the running for a Gates Foundation scholarship to Cambridge sponsored by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Costella said he didn’t know if he’ll have to pay any expense on his own if he also receives the Gates scholarship, but said even if he has to pay some of the costs, he wouldn’t want to pass up the experience.

“Right now Cambridge is my top choice,” said Costella, who was also a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford in England.

“I think it’s a pretty prestigious award to get,” said Costella about the NCAA scholarship. “I was pretty surprised I got it.”

He said he was pleased that his hard work was paying off. “Hopefully I’ll put it to good use,” he said.

After Cambridge, Costella said he would like to go to law school. “I’d really like to run for a national office, if not President one day,” he said.

“That’s really my goal. I’ll do everything I can to get there and not look back. People tell me all my goals are crazy and I just don’t listen to them.”

Another one of his goals is to compete in an Ironman Triathlon, which includes a 2.4 mile swim, a 26.2 mile marathon and a 112-mile bike ride. Costella plans to compete in a half triathlon this summer to prepare for competing someday in an Ironman. “I’ve got to keep busy athletically,” he said.

Contact Charles Whisnand at or 881-1214.