Notre Dame College tops NAIA preseason rankings

By Amanda C. | Oct. 20, 2010, 3:59 p.m. (ET)
Defending National Champion Notre Dame (Ohio) landed on top of the NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Preseason Top 20 Poll, the NAIA announced Tuesday. The Falcons racked up 160 total team points. Missouri Valley and Campbellsville (Ky.) share the No. 2 spot with 79.5 points. McKendree (Ill.) checks in at No. 4 with 73 points and with 71.5 points, Cumberland (Tenn.) rounds out the top-five teams.

The Falcons' had 11 grapplers garner a ranking in their respective weight class. The only weight class that Notre Dame is not ranked is 141. Campbellsville boasts eight ranked individuals and Missouri Valley has seven. Both have a ranked wrestler in seven weight classes.

Notre Dame's dominance at the 2010 Wrestling National Championships has set the Falcons apart. Reigning National Wrestling Coach of the Year Frank Romano's arsenal remains intact as all nine wrestlers that advanced to medal matches return for the 2010 - 11 season. Of the nine that wrestled for a spot on the podium, eight came away as All-Americans, including three national champs. Jeffrey Pelton and Thomas Straughn will be eyeing a second title at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively, and 197-pounder Derek Foore will be gunning for back-to-back titles. All three enter this season ranked No. 1 in their respective weight class.

The trio of defending national champions from Notre Dame is joined by Campbellsville's Tommy Pretty as reigning titlists. Pretty took home top-honors at 133 pounds last year, but has bumped up a weight class and is ranked second at 141.

Great Falls' (Mont.) Myles Mazurkiewicz, who finished second to Pretty in the 133-pound finals, also moved up to 141 pounds and starts the season ranked third. A 165-pound semifinalist, Chris Chionuma of Lindenwood (Mo.), made the move up and is listed second at 174. The third returning semifinalist is Notre Dame's heavyweight Orlando Scales. He enters his campaign ranked No. 1.

Three weight classes, 141, 174 and 184, have five returning All-Americans or honorable mentions ranked.

The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the groupings. The first regular-season poll will be announced on Nov. 23.

RANK SCHOOL TOTAL TEAM POINTS
1 Notre Dame (Ohio) 160
2 Missouri Valley (Mo.) 79.5
2 Campbellsville (Ky.) 79.5
4 McKendree (Ill.) 73
5 Cumberland (Tenn.) 71.5
6 Great Falls (Mont.) 65
7 Dickinson State (N.D.) 58
8 Grand View (Iowa) 54
8 Lindenwood (Mo.) 54
10 Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 40.5
10 Morningside (Iowa) 40.5
12 Southern Oregon (Ore.) 38
13 Montana State-Northern (Mont.) 32
14 Menlo (Calif.) 29.5
15 Hastings College (Neb.) 26
16 Oklahoma City (Okla.) 24.5
17 Cumberlands (Ky.) 20
18 Missouri Baptist (Mo.) 18
19 California Baptist (Calif.) 15
20 Jamestown (N.D.) 8.5

Others receiving votes: Midland University 8; Shorter College 5.5; Baker (Kan.) 2.5; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 1.5; York College (Neb.) 1.5; William Penn (Iowa) 1; Sioux Falls (S.D.) 1; Northwestern (Iowa) 1.

Top-Ranked Individuals
125 - Larone Madison, Cumberlands (Ky.)
133 - Wade Lowe, McKendree (Ill.)
141 - Micahel Davis, Cumberland (Tenn.)
149 - Jeffrey Pelton, Notre Dame (Ohio)
157 - Thomas Straughn, Notre Dame (Ohio)
165 - Preston McKinney, Missouri Valley
174 - Cody Butzer, Notre Dame (Ohio)
184 - Michael French, Great Falls (Mont.)
197 - Derek Foore, Notre Dame (Ohio)
HWT - Orlando Scales, Notre Dame (Ohio)
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