NCAA wrestling power rankings: Oklahoma State holds strong at No. 1 in Week 3
As wrestling season continues, OSU remains dominate on the mat. However, there are a few teams moving up in hopes to knock the Cowboys down. Which team could make that happen? Take a look in this week's wrestling power rankings:
1 – Oklahoma State: Last Friday, the Cowboys improved to 5-0 with a 23-19 win over a Cornell squad that was missing some starters. A lightweight “Murderers Row” could be developing with Kaid Brock (133), Dean Heil (141), Anthony Collica (149) and Joe Smith (157), who saved the day against the eighth-ranked Big Red. Although this year’s version of the Reno Tournament of Champions was missing some heavy hitters, John Smith’s “B” team still won the team title. Boo Lewallen, a redshirt-freshman, beat 2016 NCAA finalist Bryce Meredith of Wyoming in the 141-pound final.
2 – Penn State: Division I finally found a way to slow down the Nittany Lions. Unable to get to Reno due to weather issues on the East Coast, PSU stayed home last weekend and will not compete again until the first weekend in January. In three first semester duals, head coach Cael Sanderson’s group outscored Lehigh, Binghamton and Army West Point, 111-16. No Southern Scuffle or Midlands this season means no competition from Dec. 11 to Jan. 6 for PSU.
3 – Ohio State: As the 2015 NCAA champions, Ohio State seems to be getting better each week. Tom Ryan’s troops improved to 5-0 with a 43-3 dismantling of Northwestern last Sunday. Olympic gold medalist and 2016 NCAA champion Kyle Snyder did not suit up. If he had, the Wildcats would not have dented the scoreboard. You want tournament power? How about national champion Nathan Tomasello (133), Micah Jordan (149), top-ranked Bo Jordan (174), national champion Myles Martin (184), outstanding rookie Kollin Moore (197) and Snyder (285)?
4 – Iowa: The Hawkeyes hammered three foes before getting by South Dakota State and rival Iowa State. A lot will be learned about Iowa over the next month with Tom Brands’s group wrestling at The Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30), at Michigan (Jan.6), at Oklahoma State (Jan. 15) and at home against Penn State (Jan. 20). Without a healthy Cory Clark at 133 pounds, it might be a moot point. Iowa has won four of the last five Midlands tournaments and 14 since 1996.
5 – Missouri: With wins over Appalachian State and Kent State on Tuesday afternoon, the Tigers are now 5-1. Injuries have hampered an MU squad first semester, but six are still ranked inside the top four in their weight classes. Lavion Mayes (149), Joey Lavalle (157) and J’Den Cox (197) were a combined 18-0 entering Tuesday. Head coach Brian Smith’s squad will be at the Southern Scuffle to battle Oklahoma State and Cornell for top honors.
6 – Nebraska: The biggest news out of Lincoln last week was an announcement that the 2017 U.S. World Team Trials will be in Lincoln in June. Meanwhile, the Huskers prepare for the Midlands to end the year and a visit from Penn State on Jan. 8.
7 – Cornell: Minus three starters, Cornell nearly took down Oklahoma State in Stillwater last Friday. Gabe Dean (184) and Brian Realbuto (174) are, of course, title threats. But, add Dylan Palacio (157) second semester, 165-pounder Brandon Womack, steady Will Koll (141) and two quality 125 pounders to choose from, and the Big Red could become a threat. After falling in Stillwater, CU went south and beat Oklahoma, 21-14. Circle Jan. 14 and 21 for Cornell-Missouri and Cornell-Lehigh, respectively.
8 – Virginia Tech: The Hokies whipped West Virginia, 36-4. This sent Tech to the holiday break at 5-1 with the only loss coming to Missouri in mid-November. There are very few weak links in Kevin Dresser’s lineup with five wrestlers ranked inside the top five. There is not a better team from 174 to 285 pounds in the country.
Knocking on the door – Lehigh, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota State, Arizona State, Minnesota