After a weekend of wild upsets and unexpected results, one thing stayed the same: The Penn State Nittany Lions are still No. 1. But they've got some new neighbors in the top 25.
Penn State Coach Cael Sanderson fielded a deep lineup this weekend at the Black Knight Invite in West Point, with four of his athletes winning titles including All-Americans Roman Bravo-Young and Nick Lee at 133 and 141 pounds, the new expected starter Jarod Verkleeren at 149 pounds and 2017 NCAA champion Mark Hall at 174 pounds.
The Nittany Lions will take on Arizona State next on Friday in Tempe in what will be their biggest test of the year so far. Before that dual kicks off later this week, here's what you need to know about the rest of the teams fighting to take down the reigning champs in March and where they stand in the NWCA rankings.
Iowa is looking as dangerous as ever
The No. 2 Hawkeyes are the only team in the top five that didn't move up or down a ranking spot this week other than Penn State, and their second spot is safe for now after blanking UT-Chattanooga behind bonus point wins from two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee, All-Americans Austin DeSanto, Michael Kemer, and Kaleb Young as well as newcomer at heavyweight Tony Cassioppi.
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The Hawkeyes will take on Iowa State in the classic Cy-Hawks dual this Sunday in Ames. On paper, this should be Iowa's dual all day. But the Hawkeyes nearly faltered last year, squeezing out a 19-18 win to avoid the upset against the ever-strong Cyclones. With a stacked lineup that could threaten Penn State for a national title, the Hawkeyes will look to put up big points in their first big test of the season against the Cyclones.
Team of the Week: Rider University
The Broncs pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend when they knocked off No. 6 Minnesota to earn a spot in the rankings for the first time this year. Rider's 174-pounder Dean Sherry headlined the 21-17 win with his pin over then No. 6 Devin Skatzka in the first period. Jonathan Tropea, Chris Wright, Jesse Dellavecchia, Ethan Laird and Ryan Cloud also picked up wins in the dual to launch Rider into the No. 20 spot nationally. Minnesota dropped down from No. 6 to No. 12 because of the loss.
A 26-6 win over Northern Illinois later in the weekend kept the Broncs undefeated on the year, and they'll wrestle at the Keystone Classic this weekend before taking on Bloomsburg and Central Michigan on Dec. 6 and 8.
Hokies, Mountain Hawks rise; Cowboys, Buckeyes drop
Virginia Tech continued its undefeated season with another ranked victory, this time knocking off then No. 3 Ohio State behind a critical win at 125 pounds from Joey Prata. Leading 18-16 heading into the final bout of the night, Prata needed to win against ranked Malik Heinselman of Ohio State to keep his team's hopes for victory alive. A 5-2 decision over the sophomore Buckeye sealed the deal and allowed the Hokies to leave Columbus as the first team to take down Ohio State in the new Covelli Center. Virginia Tech's No. 21 Brent Moore also pulled off a big upset to beat Ohio State’s dangerous freshman Sammy Sasso by fall in the first period. Ohio State's Ethan Smith added an upset win as well, but his 5-4 decision over No. 4 David McFadden wasn't enough to ward off the strength of the Hokie team as a whole. The win propelled Virginia Tech to fourth in the country, up from No. 11 last week.
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The weekend wasn't a total loss for Ohio State, as Tom Ryan's team did pick up a ranked win over Pittsburgh, but their victory couldn't keep them in the Top 5 after the Virginia Tech loss. Ohio State dropped down to No. 6, being surpassed by Virginia Tech, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
The Lehigh Mountain Hawks pulled off an upset similar in impact to the Virginia Tech's defeat of Ohio State when they topped Oklahoma State in Bethlehem on criteria. A forfeit at 133 pounds for the Cowboys tied the dual 20-20, but the Mountain Hawks earned more total points in all ten bouts combined to earn the point necessary to walk away with a W. The win sent Lehigh three spots up in the rankings while Oklahoma dropped from No. 4 to No. 7.
Nebraska slid into the No. 3 spot after a successful weekend at the Daktronics Open with two redshirt freshman winning titles. Nebraska will face Wyoming this Friday and Northern Iowa on Sunday as their schedule starts to heat up. Like No. 3 Nebraska, Wisconsin did not wrestle a dual this weekend, but graduate student Seth Gross did put on a show at the Bill Ferrell Memorial International Open to book his ticket to the 2020 Olympic Trials. The Badgers take on Utah Valley this weekend before traveling to Iowa City on Dec. 1 to take on the No. 2 Hawkeyes of Iowa.
More movement within the Top 15
N.C. State held steady at No. 9, but the Wolfpack were the only team in the top 15 to hold the same spot at the previous week other than Penn State and Iowa. Arizona State dropped down two spots, not because of a loss but rather because of the nature of the movement, though the team still holds a spot in the Top 10. The Sun Devils will take on No. 1 Penn State this Friday night in Tempe.
Iowa State also moved up one spot as a result of the team shuffle and 24-15 win over Bucknell.
Pittsburgh rose three spots despite its loss to Ohio State, and the Panthers are 1-1 on the year. The untested Princeton Tigers and Cornell Big Red hold down the No. 14 and No. 15 spots respectively, and Cornell will wrestle No. 9 North Carolina State this week while the Tigers will take on No. 10 Lehigh.
Northwestern moved up from No. 18 to No. 16 after a ranked upset win over Northern Iowa, a team that dropped down three spots just below the Wildcats as a result. North Carolina also dropped as the result of a loss against Stanford, but the Cardinal are still unranked in this week's poll.
Here is the full list of Top 25 teams in this week's NWCA ranking:
|1||Penn State (13)||1-0||349||1|
|24||Army West Point||3-1||43||24|