College wrestling: Unbeaten Penn State, Ohio State remain No. 1, 2 heading into this weekend’s massive Big Ten dual
Manheim, Pennsylvania -- Two of the nation’s final three unbeaten Division I wrestling teams are set to meet this coming weekend as No. 1 Penn State will host No. 2 Ohio State at Rec Hall on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. Both Penn State and Ohio State won a pair of conference duals over the weekend to remain atop of the USA Today/NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.
Penn State (11-0) topped then-No. 14 Minnesota 35-8 on Friday at Rec Hall before topping then-No. 18 Rutgers 25-15 in what could be described as a fiesty dual in front of 8,319 fans at the Rutgers Athletic Center on Sunday. In the victory, returning 157-pound NCAA champion Jason Nolf of Penn State lost his first match of the year, falling by injury default to John Van Brill. The Nittany Lions won seven of the other nine bouts. Nolf is expected to miss the rest of Penn State’s regular season schedule due to the injury.
Ohio State (12-0) had little problem with victories over Michigan State 35-12 and No. 24 Purdue 35-7. The only other unbeaten team in the nation, Missouri, improved to 16-0 with a wild 21-19 victory over host Oklahoma State (9-2) on Saturday. Key victories from the Tigers were from 141-pounder Jaydin Eierman, who pinned two-time NCAA champion Dean Heil, and 197-pounder Willie Miklus, who upended fellow All-American Preston Weigel.
There was some movement in the top five as Michigan (8-3) went into Carver-Hawkeye and won the last for weights to rally past host Iowa 19-17. The Hawkeyes, wrestling without All-American 157-pounder Michael Kemerer, slid three spots to No. 7 in this week’s poll. Michigan vaulted back up to No. 4.
No. 5 Oklahoma State stayed put at No. 5 after recovering from the Missouri loss by beating Iowa State 31-3. No. 6 NC State improved to 12-1 with a 32-7 victory over Virginia in the ACC. Virginia Tech (12-2) moved up a spot after two weekend wins, the biggest coming over then-No. 9 Lehigh 20-19 at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Cornell (7-2) moved up to No. 10 after the Big Red beat Brown 27-9 and Harvard 35-3. The two wins pushed Cornell’s Ivy League dual meet win streak to 80.
No. 12 South Dakota State (10-2) won its 10th dual in a row and stayed unbeaten in the Big 12 with a 22-13 win at Oklahoma. No. 19 Rider (11-2) handed No. 23 Lock Haven (10-2) a 22-12 dual meet loss to take over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Wrestling League.
Northwestern improved to 8-2 and jumped three spots to No. 20 after a come-from-behind win over then-No. 14 Minnesota. The Gophers (7-7) have been on a recent slide after wrestling without numerous starters the past several weeks. The win was notable for Northwestern as the Wildcats hadn’t beaten Minnesota in a dual meet since January 20, 1996.