Editor’s note: The Centre Daily Times will publish weekly updates based on NWCA coaches team and InterMat individual rankings to give readers a glimpse into how Penn State wrestling fits into the bigger picture.
After 30 straight weeks, Penn State lost its status as the unanimous No. 1 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association/Theraworx Division I team coaches poll on Tuesday.
With a 19-15 win over No. 5 Missouri on Saturday, No. 2 Oklahoma State snapped the Tigers’ 15-straight dual winning streak and picked up one first-place vote in the NWCA poll, compared to Penn State’s 15. The Nittany Lions improved to 14-0 this weekend with routs of Michigan State and Illinois.
The NWCA poll is voted on by two coaches from each Division I wrestling conference, according to a release form the NWCA. Each first-place vote is worth 25 points, 24 for second place, 23 for third, etc.
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The Cowboys will next face No. 3 Iowa in what has been one of the most anticipated duals of the 2018-19 season. For their part, the Hawkeyes put up dominant wins over No. 16 Wisconsin (35-2) and Indiana (37-9) to improve to 14-0 and clinch a share of the Big Ten regular season championship along with Penn State.
Also in top-10 action, No. 6 Ohio State added a pair of ranked Big Ten wins, including a 21-12 victory over No. 7 Nebraska. No. 9 Cornell notched victories over No. 13 North Carolina State (29-5) and by criteria 17-16 over No. 14 Virginia Tech, while No. 10 N.C. State beat North Carolina 20-14. No. 8 Minnesota also topped Indiana 34-3 in Minneapolis.
There wasn’t a lot of movement in individual rankings this week for Penn State or overall in the NCAA. Out of the potentially four ranked matchups that Penn State wrestlers could have seen last weekend, only one — Penn State’s No. 1 Jason Nolf vs. Illinois’ No. 10 Eric Barone — came to fruition. Nolf won by injury default.
The highly anticipated matchup between Illinois’ Mike Carr, ranked No. 5 at 141 pounds by InterMat, and No. 2 Nick Lee did not happen, as Carr didn’t wrestle Friday or Sunday. And Penn State’s No. 2 Shakur Rasheed also did not wrestle over the weekend, denying matchups with No. 8 Emery Parker (Illinois) and No. 19 Cameron Caffey (Michigan State) at 184 pounds.
At 141 pounds, Buffalo’s Bryan Lantry suffered his first loss of the season in a 7-2 decision to Ohio’s Cameron Kelly. The senior fell from No. 8 to No. 15 ahead of his matchup with Lee on Sunday. Lantry is one of two ranked Buffalo wrestlers, the other being No. 15 Jake Gunning at heavyweight.
Another big upset occurred last weekend at 184 pounds, where things continue to get more and more complicated, as Cornell’s Max Dean defeated Virginia Tech’s Zack Zavatsky, who had been ranked No. 2 in other college wrestling polls. Zavatsky fell from No. 4 to No. 5 in InterMat’s poll, and Dean moved up six spots to No. 7.
In one of the better individual matchups last weekend, Michigan’s No. 1 Stevan Micic topped Rutgers’ No. 4 Nick Suriano in a tight 3-2 battle. Micic remains No. 1 in the InterMat and Coaches rankings, and Suriano’s still at No. 4.
All Penn State wrestlers’ ranks remain unchanged from last week’s InterMat poll. With just one more dual left in the season, Penn State boasts four top-ranked wrestlers in Nolf at 157 pounds, Vincenzo Joseph at 165, Mark Hall at 174 and Bo Nickal at 197.
Rasheed and Lee are ranked second at 184 and 141 pounds, respectively. Anthony Cassar is No. 3 at heavyweight, while Roman Bravo-Young is No. 11 at 133, and Brady Berge No. 11 at 149 pounds.
Penn State wraps up its regular season at 2 p.m. Sunday against Buffalo.
Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll
|1||Penn State (15)||13-0||399||1|
|2||Oklahoma State (1)||14-0||385||2|
|24||Army West Point||7-3||22||25|
Others receiving votes: Illinois 11, North Dakota State 9, Appalachian State 4, Navy 4, Binghamton 2, Fresno State 2, Oklahoma 2, Buffalo 1
Dropped out: No. 24 Illinois