Penn State opens season as unanimous No. 1 in NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll

By Jason Bryant, NWCA | Oct. 31, 2018, 11:31 a.m. (ET)
Manheim, Pa. – Penn State received all 16 first-place votes in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll to start the 2018-19 season at No. 1, the NWCA announced Wednesday. In addition to the Nittany Lions, the Big Ten Conference has four of the top-five teams in No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Iowa and No. 5 Michigan.

Penn State is coming off its seventh NCAA championship in the last eight years, while also wrapping up its third straight undefeated campaign. PSU head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad returns past NCAA Division I champions Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall and Bo Nickal. Entering his 10th year as head coach in Happy Valley, Sanderson is aiming to extend the Nittany Lions’ school record 45-dual winning streak when they open the season against Kent State at home on November 11.

Overall, the 11 of the Big Ten’s 14 schools are in the top 25 to start the season. Among the top-five squads, Ohio State returns a host of All-Americans including past NCAA champion Myles Martin. Bolstered by returning NCAA and Big Ten 125-pound champion Spencer Lee, Iowa is expected to contend for Big Ten and NCAA team championships. The Hawkeyes also will put a formidable dual team on the mat.

Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State starts the year as the highest-ranked Big 12 Conference team and returns enough firepower to make this season interesting. No. 14 Northern Iowa, No. 20 South Dakota State and No. 22 Wyoming round out ranked teams hailing from the Big 12

Four of the six ACC schools are in the top 25, with NC State coming in at No. 8, while Virginia Tech checks in at No. 11. Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina and Duke, who makes its first-ever appearance in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll, are listed back-to-back at Nos. 23 and No. 24, respectively.

Sixth-ranked Lehigh and ninth-ranked Cornell are the lone schools represented from the EIWA. Four conferences have a single team included on the poll: No. 7 Missouri (MAC), No. 20 Lock Haven (EWL), No. 10 Arizona State (Pac-12), No. 25 Appalachian State (Southern Conference).

The NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll is voted on by two coaches from each Division I wrestling conference. Each first-place vote is worth 25 points, 24 points for a second-place vote, 23 for a third-place vote and so on through to one point for a 25th-place vote.

Rank

Team (First)

17-18 Rec.

Points

Conference

Final Dual
Rank 17-18

1

Penn State (16)

14-0

400

Big Ten

1

2

Ohio State

14-1

376

Big Ten

2

3

Iowa

12-3

365

Big Ten

7

4

Oklahoma State

13-2

353

Big 12

5

5

Michigan

11-3

331

Big Ten

4

6

Lehigh

12-3

305

EIWA

8

7

Missouri

19-0

298

MAC

3

8

NC State

15-2

295

ACC

6

9

Cornell

13-2

259

EIWA

11

10

Arizona State

11-3

254

Pac-12

9

11

Virginia Tech

14-3

245

ACC

10

12

Nebraska

10-4

230

Big Ten

13

13

Minnesota

10-8

203

Big Ten

18

14

Northern Iowa

6-5

201

Big 12

15

15

Illinois

7-4

167

Big Ten

16

16

Rutgers

8-7

148

Big Ten

19

17

Northwestern

11-4

132

Big Ten

17

18

Purdue

9-7

114

Big Ten

21

19

Wisconsin

7-5

102

Big Ten

22

20 (tie)

South Dakota State

13-2

85

Big 12

12

20 (tie)

Lock Haven

12-4

85

EWL

23

22

Wyoming

13-3

72

Big 12

14

23

North Carolina

9-11

71

ACC

24

24

Duke

7-7

17

ACC

NR

25

Appalachian State

9-4

16

SoCon

NR

 
Others Receiving Votes: Stanford 15, Maryland 11, Drexel 9, Pittsburgh 8, North Dakota State 6, Iowa State 4, Rider 4, Utah Valley 4, Virginia 4, Binghamton 3, Clarion 3, Army West Point 1, Central Michigan 1, Kent State 1, Old Dominion 1, Princeton 1.