Newberry tops DII poll for first time
Wolves displace St. Cloud State behind eight ranked wrestlers
NEWBERRY, S.C. -- Newberry jumped to No. 1 in the NCAA Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association's first regular-season poll. Newberry was ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll but overtook preseason No. 1 St. Cloud State for the top ranking.
It marks the first time the Wolves have been No. 1 in the NWCA poll and the first time they are atop both the NWCA Poll and the Basford poll. The Wolves received three of eight first-place votes. Last year, they finished sixth in the country and won their fourth consecutive Super Region I title.
|3||St. Cloud State||147|
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"It's cool that we can say little ole' Newberry is the number one team in the country," head coach Jason Valek said. "I know that many inside and outside the program take a sense of pride in this, and it makes us all very proud to receive such recognition."
Upper Iowa took the second spot while St. Cloud State dropped to third.
Newberry has eight wrestlers ranked in the country headlined by senior Connor McDonald, who maintained his No. 1 ranking at the 125-pound weight class. The senior started the season 3-1 recording three falls. His only loss came at the hands of Old Dominion's Rob Deutsch, a Division I opponent. McDonald is also No. 1 in the Basford poll.
BJ Young, the 2010 national runner-up, has started the season 10-4 with five falls and sits second at 141 while Jake Elkins is fourth at 285. Sean Byrnes and Deral Brown are No. 5 at 165 and 149, respectively.
Matt Oliver is No. 6 at 133 while Mitch Brown was unranked in the preseason poll and now resides at No. 6 at 184. Brown has Newberry's best winning percentage with an 8-1 record. Travis Sheehy is sixth at 174.
The Wolves open their dual schedule Dec. 10 at the Newberry Duals. Newberry will wrestle Lake Erie, No. 17 Findlay and Chadron State.
"It's a testament to the hard work of the kids, the staff and all those that support us," Valek said. "The challenge lies in maintaining that position knowing that everyone is out to knock you off. It's a great challenge and one we look forward to."