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Penn State wrestling: Nittany Lions ranked No. 1 in NWCA poll for Dec. 4, 2018

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 a pair of duals in which the Nittany Lions outscored their opponents 84-3 and led the takedown battle 97-3, Penn State remains the unanimous No. 1 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division I team coaches poll for a sixth straight week.

The Nittany Lions put on complete performances from top to bottom against Bucknell and a Lehigh team decimated by injuries, with their lone loss coming from Bo Pipher at 165 pounds on Friday. Pipher filled in for No. 1-ranked Vincenzo Joseph, who did not wrestle due to illness.

Outside of Penn State, this past weekend was rife with action, which included a scare for Iowa against in-state rival Iowa State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and a Cliff Keen Las Vegas tournament that saw more than 40 upsets just on the first day, per FloWrestling’s tally.

After taking the Hawkeyes to the brink and falling just one point short of the colossal upset, Iowa State made its 2018 rankings debut at No. 23. Iowa, however, lost a few points in the voting and slipped to No. 4, switching places with Oklahoma State.

Wrestling without more than half of its starters, Lehigh dropped its first home dual to Princeton in program history, and its first loss to the Tigers in 50 years. With the two weekend losses, Lehigh dropped to 0-3 and fell out of the top 10 to No. 16. The 6-0 Badgers, which have wins over No. 11 Nebraska, No. 22 Utah Valley and Princeton, moved up to No. 10 — giving the Big Ten six in the top 10.

As the Nittany Lions took care of business this past weekend, their individual InterMat rankings did not change. Jason Nolf, Joseph and Bo Nickal remain No. 1 at 157, 165 and 197 pounds, respectively. Mark Hall is No. 2 at 174, while Nick Lee (141) and Shakur Rasheed (184) are both ranked No. 4. Anthony Cassar is No. 5 at heavyweight and Brady Berge is No. 13 at 149 after splitting time over the weekend with teammate Jarod Verkleeren.

True freshman Roman Bravo-Young did not get the opportunity on Sunday to compete against a ranked opponent, as Lehigh’s No. 9 Scott Parker did not wrestle, and remains unranked. His next chance to wrestle ranked competition will be at the Southern Scuffle at the beginning of the new year, where he could face a bevy of ranked competitors — including North Carolina State’s No. 4 Tariq Wilson and Oklahoma State’s No. 5 Daton Fix.

A wild CKLV, which culminated in Ohio State’s third straight crown, caused many shakeups in the InterMat rankings. A few new faces cracked the top 20, including Brent Fleetwood, of North Dakota State, at 125, and Griffin Parriott, of Purdue, at 157, who both shot up to No. 9 after big weekends.

Fleetwood knocked off ranked opponents No. 16 Louie Hayes, No. 11 Zeke Moisey and No. 13 Travis Piotrowksi to finish fourth in the tournament. Meanwhile Parriott took out Nebraska’s then-No. 3 Tyler Berger and Pittsburgh’s then-No. 8 Taleb Rahmani. Berger and Rahmani fell to Nos. 5 and 10, respectively, at 157.

The shakeups continued at 157 over the weekend, as Lewistown native Hayden Hidlay lost for just the second time in his career, as the sophomore fell to Old Dominion’s Larry Early in a 4-2 dual meet decision. CKLV champ Ryan Deakin, of Northwestern, took over the No. 2 spot, behind Nolf, and Early took over No. 3, as Hidlay slid from No. 2 to No. 4.

Pittsburgh’s Micky Phillippi had arguably the biggest weekend as he ran through CKLV at 133 pounds to a second-place finish, taking down All-Americans Ethan Lizak and Luke Pletcher, before falling 11-3 to Rutgers’ Nick Suriano.

Iowa State’s Austin Gomez also slid up three spots to No. 11 after nearly getting the fall over Iowa’s Austin DeSanto, which would have won the dual for the Cyclones, and settling for a 14-9 decision. DeSanto slid two spots to No. 12.

Penn State resumes action on Dec. 14 against Arizona State at Rec Hall. The No. 15 Sun Devils will bring five ranked wrestlers including No. 1-ranked Zahid Valencia for a rematch of last season’s 174-pound NCAA final with Hall.

Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll

Dec. 4

Rank Team (votes) Rec. Pts. Prev.
1 Penn State (16) 3-0 400 1
2 Ohio State 3-0 382 2
3 Oklahoma State 3-0 359 4
4 Iowa 5-0 350 3
5 Michigan 2-0 334 5
6 Missouri 3-0 332 6
7 N.C. State 4-0 302 7
8 Cornell 2-0 278 9
9 Minnesota 2-1 270 10
10 Wisconsin 6-0 246 11
11 Nebraska 4-1 232 12
12 North Carolina 3-0 211 14
13 Purdue 2-1 176 15
14 Virginia Tech 0-2 173 13
15 Arizona State 1-2 153 16
16 Lehigh 0-3 146 8
17 Northern Iowa 1-1 127 18
18 Illinois 0-1 122 17
19 N. Dakota St. 3-0 117 19
20 Lock Haven 1-0 87 20
21 Wyoming 2-2 85 21
22 Utah Valley 5-2 69 22
23 Iowa State 1-1 58 NR
24 Pittsburgh 2-0 56 24
25 Northwestern 1-1 50 23

Others receiving votes: Rutgers 44, Princeton 39, Appalachian State 1, Stanford 1

Dropped out: No. 25 Rutgers

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