Names keep getting added to the contenders’ list in Division II wrestling. Central Oklahoma, a traditional power, slipped outside the top 25 at the 2016 NCAA Championships, but after beating Nebraska-Kearney and Colorado State-Pueblo over the last week, the Bronchos (15-0) are climbing fast. St. Cloud State (11-1) and Wisconsin-Parkside (7-2) remain at the top with Mercyhurst (Pa.) jumping into this week’s Power Rankings. McKendree (Ill.) and UW-P meet in a rather tasty dual Tuesday night in Kenosha, Wisc.The question is: Will the usual suspects - St. Cloud State, Nebraska-Kearney, Notre Dame College, Pittsburgh-Johnstown - rise to the top this March?
RANKINGS: NWCA Coaches
1 – St. Cloud State: The Huskies improved to 11-1 after outscoring Northern State (S.D.) and Minnesota State-Moorhead, 79-6, last week. The top-ranked heavyweight in Division II, Austin Goergen (17-0), did not wrestle last week. His replacement, Mike Hobbs, had a pin and a technical fall. SCSU 197-pounder Vince Deitz lost a tough overtime match to NSU All-American Joe Gomez, but bounced back to pick up his team-leading 20th victory against MSU-Moorhead. The Huskies face DIII St. John’s University on Thursday.
2 – Wisconsin-Parkside: UW-P beat a good Maryville (Mo.) team, 27-12, last Saturday to improve to 7-2. National champion Nick Becker (12-0) and All-American Montrail Johnson (12-0) broke open a 12-9 dual with back-to-back pins at 174 and 184 pounds, respectively, Johnson pinning 2015 NCAA finalist Zeb Wahle. Becker is 53-0 for the Rangers since transferring from DI Central Michigan. UW-P hosts McKendree (Ill.) Tuesday night and faces a streaking Indianapolis team Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
Your #3 ranked Parkside rangers win in the first ever GLVC dual 27-12 over the Maryville saints. Thanks to all fans and alumni for coming!— Parkside Wrestling (@PsideWrestling) January 21, 2017
3 – Central Oklahoma: First-year head coach Todd Stiedley has the Bronchos at 15-0 for the first time in school history after Monday’s 22-12 win over Colorado State-Pueblo. Greg Wilson (197) moved his win streak to 12 and heavyweight Caleb Cotter closed the dual with his 22nd win in 25 matches. UCO opened the weekend by beating Nebraska-Kearney on Friday with Wilson’s pin securing that victory. On Saturday, Stiedley’s bunch beat Adams State (Colo.). Lindenwood (Mo.) hosts the Bronchos this Friday.
4 – McKendree (Ill.): The Bearcats dropped a 19-18 dual to Maryville last Wednesday. MU got a pin from Ryan Strope (157), a technical fall from Austin Geerlings (165), and a major decision from Coltyn Pease (285), but the Saints won 4 of 6 bouts for the tiebreaker after things finished 18-18. McKendree has losses to Central Oklahoma, St. Cloud State, Pittsburgh-Johnstown, and Maryville. The Bearcats (9-4) have beaten Notre Dame College (Ohio), Nebraska-Kearney, and Upper Iowa. A huge dual is set for Kenosha, Wisc., Tuesday night when the Bearcats and Rangers square off.
5 – Upper Iowa: UIU moved to 9-2 with a 41-3 whipping of Northern State (N.D.) last Sunday. Zak Benitz (157), Colby Vance (165), and Nick Baumler (184) wrestled a combined 2:52, all scoring first-period falls. Head coach Heath Grimm’s squad has lost duals to UW-P and McKendree and beaten Maryville. The Peacocks wrestle at Minnesota State-Mankato on Thursday. Just around the corner, on Feb. 9, UIU welcomes St. Cloud State to Dorman Gymnasium.
6 – Nebraska-Kearney: The Lopers beat Newman (Kan.) in Wichita last Thursday, but suffered a 22-16 loss to an unbeaten Central Oklahoma squad a day later. Against UCO, UNK (13-5) trailed 10-0 after three bouts and took back-to-back tough three-point losses at 165 and 174 pounds. A trip to Colorado is on tap this weekend where the Lopers face Western State and CSU-Pueblo.
7 – Mercyhurst (Pa.): Senior 125-pounder Willie Bohince became the Lakers’ all-time wins leader and MU beat Findlay (Ohio), 25-17, last Saturday. One day earlier, Andy Welton’s major decision at 285 pounds secured a 21-18 win at Wheeling Jesuit. All three of MU’s losses came at the wild NWCA National Duals. The Lakers (7-3) host West Liberty and East Stroudsburg this weekend.
T8 – Maryville (Mo.): A forfeit at 141 pounds hurt the Saints in a 27-12 loss at Wisconsin-Parkside last week. At 2-3, MU hosts fellow Missourians Truman State and Drury University this weekend.
T8 – Indianapolis: The Greyhounds won for the seventh-straight time, beating Truman State and Drury last Saturday. UIndy gets a shot at Wisconsin-Parkside this Saturday. The remaining schedule still includes McKendree, Maryville, and Notre Dame College.
Big boys: Dylan Faulkenberg vs Ben Melton https://t.co/kITUIFhLKs— UIndy Wrestling (@UIndyWrestling) January 21, 2017
T8 – Notre Dame College (Ohio): Kameron Teacher’s technical fall at 285 pounds secured the Falcons’ 25-19 win over Lake Erie (Ohio) last Friday. NDC (3-2) wrestles at West Liberty this Friday.
Knocking on the door: Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.), Ashland (Ohio), Colorado State-Pueblo, California Baptist, Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Findlay (Ohio)