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Roger Moore | February 7, 2017

DII power rankings: Notre Dame (OH) leads logjam at the bottom

  Five teams are tied for eighth in this week's rankings, including Notre Dame (OH).

There is a logjam at the bottom of the Division II power rankings this week. Injuries, missing starters and a lot of competitive teams mean close duals result every weekend. Therefore, we have five teams tied for eighth, led by Notre Dame College (Ohio), whose head coach Frank Romano said what many coaches say this time of year: “It was a good match for the team. We wrestled really well on our feet and nobody got injured.”

The Falcons beat Division III John Carroll (Ohio) 48-3 last Saturday night. Joining NDC is banged up Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Indianapolis, Augustana (S.D.) and Colorado State-Pueblo, winners of a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title over the weekend.

1 – St. Cloud State: The reigning champions of Division II continue to blow out opponents, beating a good Minnesota State-Mankato squad, 34-12, and crushing Minot State (S.D.), 42-3, to improve to 14-1 for the season. SCSU has a tough dual at Upper Iowa on Thursday and host the University of Mary (S.D.) on Saturday.

2 – Wisconsin-Parkside: Gregg Lewis’ squad outscored Missouri schools Drury and Truman State, 84-9, to win the first Great Lakes Valley Conference title. Nick Becker won his 59th straight match and is yet to lose in Division II. The Rangers (13-2) do not step on the mat again until NCAA Regionals in Indianapolis, Feb. 24-25.

3 – Central Oklahoma: First-year head coach Todd Stiedley led the Bronchos to an 18-0 dual season, the first time UCO went unblemished during a regular season. On Sunday, UCO whipped Ft. Hays State (Kan.), 30-9, getting a big 3-1 victory by Greg Wilson over FHSU’s Jon Inman in a battle of top 197-pounders. UCO wrestles at the MIAA Championships in Kearney, Neb., this Sunday.

4 – McKendree (Ill.): The Bearcats (14-5) moved their win streak to five with wins over Lindenwood (Mo.), Bellarmine (Ky.), and Indianapolis last week. MU overcame losses by national champion Darren Wynn (141) and Coltyn Pease (285) to edge UIndy, 21-18. MU wrestles at Central Missouri on Thursday and in the always-tough Lombardi Duals in St. Louis on Sunday.

5 – Nebraska-Kearney: UNK moved to 15-6 with a 38-3 win over Central Missouri last Friday. The Lopers host Ft. Hays State this Thursday and welcome members of the MIAA Conference for the annual conference tournament this Sunday.

6 – Mercyhurst (Pa.): Andy Welton’s third-period pin gave the Lakers a 20-19 victory over Kutztown (Pa.) last Friday. Each Pennsylvania squad won five bouts, but Welton’s pin was the only one of the night, earning the tiebreaker. The hosts also got a big victory from senior Francis Mizia, who beat highly-touted T.C. Warner, 5-2, in a battle of top 165-pounders. A trip to Gannon (Pa.) is set for Wednesday and a massive meeting with Pittsburgh-Johnstown this Saturday.

7 – Maryville (Mo.): The Saints moved to 6-3 with wins over Bellarmine and Indianapolis in GLVC duals hosted by Indianapolis. Against the Greyhounds, with a makeshift lineup and a forfeit at 141 pounds, the Saints rallied from a 12-4 hole, getting a big victory from reserve Tyler Harrington at 184 pounds, and a 5-4 decision from Zeb Wahle up a weight to 197 pounds. MU is at Lindenwood (Mo.) on Wednesday and hosts the Lombardi Duals in St. Louis on Sunday.

T8 – Notre Dame College (Ohio): NDC whipped Division III John Carroll (Ohio) last week and is 5-2 heading into the Lombardi Duals this weekend. The Falcons, always with a limited schedule, will not head into the postseason under the radar. Head coach Frank Romano’s team will factor into the team race as they have since joining the DII ranks.

T8 – Pittsburgh-Johnstown: Without two starters, Pittsburgh-Johnstown moved to 12-2 with a narrow 21-18 win over Millersville (Pa.) last Friday. The Mountain Cats host Shippensburg (Pa.) Tuesday night and finish the dual season with a great dual against Mercyhurst in Erie, Pa., this Saturday.

T8 – Indianapolis: The Greyhounds fell to 12-8, but last week’s losses were to Maryville and McKendree, the loss to McKendree including big wins by Nick Crume over NCAA champion Darren Wynn at 141 pounds and heavyweight Dylan Faulkenberg. UIndy finishes the regular season against Ouachita Baptist and Notre Dame College in the Lombardi Duals this Sunday. No DII squad has wrestled a tougher schedule than the Greyhounds.

T8 – Augustana (S.D.): The Vikings won the final three matches and beat Upper Iowa, 19-16, last Sunday to improve to 11-5 for the season. Aero Amo (184) had a major decision and seniors Ben Goodwin (197) and Michael Lowman (285) each had 3-1 sudden victory decisions to push AU ahead. Minnesota State-Moorhead and Minnesota State-Mankato visit Sioux Falls this Friday and Saturday. AU will test SCSU Feb. 16.

T8 – Colorado State-Pueblo: The Thunderwolves bounced back from losses to Central Oklahoma and Western State (Colo.) two weeks ago to beat Nebraska-Kearney (Jan. 28) and claim top honors at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships. Pueblo amassed 116 ½ points and JaCobi Jones (165) won his second RMAC title. Dax Charles’ squad stays busy with duals against Colorado School of Mines, Adams State (Colo.), and Chadron State (Neb.) Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, respectively.

Knocking on the door – Wheeling Jesuit (W.V.), Upper Iowa, Findlay (Ohio), Gannon (Pa.), California Baptist, Colorado Mesa, Ashland (Ohio).