Penn State, Ohio State start season atop USA Today/NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll

Manheim, Pennsylvania —  Two of the teams favored to compete for an NCAA Division I team championship in 2017-18 sit atop the first USA Today/NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released by the National Wrestling Coaches Association on Tuesday.

Penn State, which won its sixth title in the past seven years and seventh overall, gained all 16 first-place votes to come in as the unanimous No. 1 team in the country. Ohio State, which is expected to field a power-packed lineup, came in second as a unanimous No. 2. They two teams will meet as part of their Big Ten schedule on Saturday, February 3 at Penn State. The USA Today/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll is a dual-meet ranking.

The Nittany Lions return five individual Division I champions — Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184). The Buckeyes boast a lineup that includes past NCAA champions Nathan Tomasello, Myles Martin and World and Olympic champion Kyle Snyder.

Oklahoma State is the lone Big 12 team in the top 10. The Cowboys finished last season ranked second in the Coaches Poll after falling to Penn State in the National Duals finale. Michigan is expected to compete for a team trophy this season with two-time All-American Adam Coon returning off redshirt. The Wolverines are poised to make a significant jump after finishing just 8-7 in dual meets last season.

Missouri is the lone Mid-American Conference squad in the top 10. Hit hard with the loss of three-time NCAA champion J’den Cox and three-time All-American Lavion Mayes, the Tigers do get the services of two-time All-American Willie Miklus back after he lost last season to injury.

Minnesota, Iowa, NC State, Virginia Tech and Lehigh round out the top 10.

As usual, the Big Ten Conference dominates the poll with five of the nation’s top seven teams and nine teams in the Top 25 overall. The Big 12, which added No. 13 Northern Iowa this season as an affiliate member, boasts four teams in the poll, as does the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Along with Oklahoma State and Northern Iowa, both South Dakota State (No. 16) and Oklahoma (No. 19) appear in the preseason poll. The No. 16 ranking for South Dakota State ties the highest team ranking in school history for the program at the Division I level. The Jackrabbits peaked at No. 16 on February 7 last season.

Joining NC State and Virginia Tech from the ACC are North Carolina (No. 22) and Pittsburgh (No. 24).

From the EWL, Rider starts the season ranked No. 23, and for the first time since Jimmy Carter was President, the school will have a man not named Gary Taylor leading the program. John Hangey takes the reins after Taylor coached the Lawrenceville, New Jersey school for 39 seasons. The Broncs were ranked No. 25 for one week last season.

The EIWA, EWL, MAC, and Pac-12 conferences each have two teams represented.

The USA Today/NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll is comprised of two voting coaches from each Division I wrestling conference. Points are 25 for each first-place vote, 24 for second, 23 for third all the way to a 25th-place vote is one point.

Future Poll Dates (Tuesdays unless otherwise noted): November 14, November 21, November 28, December 5, December 12, December 19, January 3 (Wednesday), January 9, January 16, January 23, January 30, February 6, February 13, February 20, February, 27.

RankTeam (First)16-17
PointsConference16-17 Final
Dual Rank
1Penn State (16)14-0400Big Ten1
2Ohio State11-3384Big Ten6
3Oklahoma State14-1358Big 122
4Michigan8-7339Big Ten15
6Minnesota7-5302Big Ten13
7Iowa13-2298Big Ten3
8NC State13-2267ACC8
9Virginia Tech18-1262ACC4
11Arizona State10-4256Pac-1220
12Rutgers12-5214Big Ten12
13Northern Iowa11-3208Big 1214
14Illinois9-3189Big Ten9
15Nebraska12-4171Big Ten5
16South Dakota State14-5157Big 1219
17Central Michigan9-3125MAC17
18Wisconsin7-5120Big Ten16
19Oklahoma11-691Big 1218
22North Carolina8-663ACCNR

Questions about historical polls can be sent to Jason Bryant
Others Receiving Votes: Wyoming 25, North Dakota State 24, Oregon State 23, Purdue 13, Princeton 7, Navy 6, Lock Haven 5, West Virginia 5, Campbell 4, Chattanooga 4, Virginia 4, Buffalo 3, CSU Bakersfield 3, Appalachian State 2, Bucknell 1, Indiana 1

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