Maryville (Mo.) and St. Cloud State remain at the top of the power rankings with California Baptist moving up to third on the strength of a good Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational showing. Mercyhurst (Pa.) was the best Division II squad at the annual PSAC Championships, finishing in front of Pittsburgh-Johnstown.
Not every squad is full strength in November and December. Come January, however, the best will rise to the top.
1― Maryville (Mo.): The Saints had another good tournament week, crowning four at the Wisconsin Open. Nate Rodriguez appears to be on a mission, pinning four opponents on his way to the 141-pound title. The two-time All-American is 13-0 with eight pins and leads the top team in Division II
2 ― St. Cloud State: Head coach Steve Costanzo’s squad improved to 2-0 in duals with a 39-3 victory over Concordia College (Minn.) Tuesday night in Moorhead, Minn. All-Americans Clint Poster and Austin Goergen are a combined 17-0 and will lead SCSU into this weekend’s Holiday Inn/Husky Open.
3 ― California Baptist: It is only December, but head coach Lennie Zaleksy’s Lancers continue to impress. After knocking off Mercyhurst (Pa.) in a dual meet, CBU finished ahead of UNK at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational over the weekend. Heavyweight Joe Fagiano pinned DI’s sixth-rated man for seventh place in a largely DI field. Fagiano might just challenge DII’s best in March. CBU seems to like DI foes … they compete at the Midlands Championships the last weekend in December.
4 ― Nebraska-Kearney: A partial Loper lineup stepped up in class last weekend at the CKLV. Senior Daniel DeShazer finished sixth at 133 pounds and took down a number of Division I foes. The UNK Loper Open is next up for head coach Marc Bauer’s group, who will not wrestle their first dual meet until Dec. 18 when they face Chadron State (Neb.) and York College (Neb.).
5 ― Mercyhurst (Pa.): The always-tough PSAC Championships saw Mercyhurst in fourth, two spots better than Pittsburgh-Johnstown in the final standings. Francis Mizia (165) and Jeremy Landowski (149) advanced to the finals for a Laker team that faces West Liberty (W.V.) on Friday night.
6 ― Pittsburgh-Johnstown: Senior Travis McKillop rolled through the 184-pound bracket to win the PSAC Championships and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Evan Link (125) and DJ Sims (285) lost in the finals and UPJ again showed they will factor into any DII event. The Mountain Cats (5-0) picked up a big road win at No. 19 Ashland (Ohio) Thursday night, McKillop (13-0) and Link each scoring falls in the 28-13 victory.
7 ― Notre Dame College (Ohio): NDC returns to the mat this weekend at the Cleveland State Open after being out of action since Nov. 21. You can bet the Falcons will send their best lineup to the NWCA National Duals Jan. 8-9 in Fort Wayne, Ind.
8 ― Lake Erie College: The Storm lead a group of five pretty good teams in Super Region II. Lake Erie beat DI Cleveland State earlier this year and has a slight edge on Findlay (Ohio), Tiffin (Ohio), Wisconsin-Parkside and Newberry. A few things will be learned at the 37th Midwest Classic in Indianapolis Dec. 19-20.
Knocking on the door ― Findlay (Ohio), Augustana (S.D.), Tiffin (Ohio), Ashland (Ohio), Newberry (S.C.), Wisconsin-Parkside