Ranked teams come down the stretch as postseason, National Duals Series approaches
Manheim, Pennsylvania — With Oklahoma State and Penn State continuing to win and remaining the only two unbeaten teams in Division I wrestling, the rest of the Top 25 is using this coming week to jockey for position as the NWCA’s National Dual Series approaches on February 19.
The Cowboys (12-0) and Nittany Lions (11-0) appear to be on a collision course to meet for the National Duals Championship for the second year in a row, but this time on the campus of Oklahoma State. After weekend wins at Edinboro and Kent State, Oklahoma State has a pair of regular-season duals left, hosting Wyoming and Oklahoma. Penn State topped No. 4 Ohio State 32-12 in front of the largest crowd to ever watch an Ohio State home wrestling meet. The Value City Arena crowd of 15,338 ranks second this season behind Rutgers’ 16,178 at High Point Solutions Stadium in an outdoor dual this past November.
Nine of the top 10 teams maintained their positions after a handful of duals. No. 3 Iowa (10-2) topped rival Minnesota 27-11 on Sunday in Minneapolis. No. 4 Ohio State hosted Rutgers and topped the Scarlet Knights 23-18 on Monday night. No. 5 Virginia Tech (15-1) and No. 6 Nebraska (12-1) were idle. No. 7 Missouri rolled past Northern Illinois 38-3, while No. 8 NC State (12-1) topped Pittsburgh 23-15 and West Virginia 30-9. Ninth-ranked Cornell (10-2) cruised past Ivy rival Columbia 34-9.
Nebraska faces the toughest upcoming weekend schedule, facing No. 4 Ohio State at home on Friday before heading to No. 3 Iowa on Sunday. The Huskers and Hawkeyes are currently 6-1 in the Big Ten and tied for second place in the conference. Those two duals will have huge implications on placement for the upcoming Dual Championship Series.
Illinois (8-2) won its fifth and sixth straight duals, sweeping Purdue and Northwestern to move into the Top 10 for the first time this season. Michigan fell from the Top 10 after a 19-18 loss to intrastate rival Central Michigan. Michigan (8-5) fell four spots to No. 14, while Central Michigan (7-2) moved up two spots to No. 15.
South Dakota State (12-3) jumped three spots to No. 16. The Jackrabbits beat then-No. 15 Oklahoma 20-19 on criteria with an exciting finish. Seth Gross, the Jackrabbits’ nationally ranked 133-pounder, registered a fall in the dual’s final match to forge a 19-19 tie and coach Chris Bono’s team would earn the school’s first win over Oklahoma by virtue of the third tiebreaker, total match points in bouts not ending via fall.
South Dakota State’s No. 16 ranking is also its highest Division I ranking in school history.
Next week’s poll will be released on Sunday, February 12 following all completed competition with the pairings for the National Duals set to be released the same day.
|1||Oklahoma State (9)||12-0||393||Big 12||1|
|2||Penn State (7)||11-0||391||Big Ten||2|
|4||Ohio State||9-2||348||Big Ten||4|
|16||South Dakota State||12-3||157||Big 12||19|
|25||North Dakota State||11-5||19||Big 12||23|
Others Receiving Votes: Virginia 13, Bucknell 4, Drexel 4, Utah Valley 2, Wyoming 2, Army West Point 1, Buffalo 1, Ohio 1, Rider 1.
Dropped out: None