The NWCA poll has a new leader for the first time this season in the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa was a threatening presence for the No. 1 spot heading into the year with a stacked lineup that includes seven All-Americans. The Hawkeyes have now officially earned the top spot in the country after a win against Iowa State and Penn State’s loss to Arizona State. Iowa is 2-0 after wins against the Cyclones and UT-Chattanooga. The team will face its first major test Sunday against No. 6 Wisconsin in Iowa City.
IOWA TOPS IOWA STATE: Relive the best moments from the dual
Highlights from Sunday's win in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series: pic.twitter.com/5qfhSKXCDR— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) November 25, 2019
Last week’s No. 1 team, Penn State, took its first loss in 60 duals in a 19-18 loss in its first visit to Tempe, Arizona. Penn State's drop to No. 3 and Iowa's rise to No. 1 are the biggest stories from this week’s poll, but here are a few additional takeaways to know before another wild set of duals this weekend.
Team of the Week: Arizona State
Penn State traveled into a hostile Sun Devil arena on Friday night with all the credentials and the history necessary to be the favorite in this dual. The team had won 60 straight duals, eight national titles in nine years, and had three national champions in the lineup. The Nittany Lions beat Arizona State 41-3 in last year’s dual, and were at the time the No. 1 ranked team in the country. None of this mattered to Arizona State.
The Sun Devils came out with intensity from the first match to 125 pounds and carried all the way through to the critical heavyweight match between Tanner Hall and Anthony Cassar.
A major decision at 125 pounds and wins at 149 and 157 gave Arizona State the lead midway through the dual, but Penn State’s killer 1-2 punch of Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall was still to come.
Joseph squeezed out a decision against No. 5 Josh Shield, and Hall added bonus points at 174 with a 11-3 win over No. 8 Anthony Valencia. But a Penn State forfeit at 184 pounds gave the Sun Devils six additional team points before the 197-pound bout. Junior Kendall Norfleet then topped 2018 All-American Kyle Conel 10-4, bringing the team score to 19-15 and setting the stage for a top-five heavyweight contest.
No. 1 Anthony Cassar would need a tech fall or a pin against No. 5 Tanner Hall to give his team the win, but Hall wasn’t about to let that happen. Hall held Cassar to a decision, so while Penn State picked up the final win, it was Arizona State fans that stormed the mat at the end to celebrate a victory.
"It took vision, it took Zahid and Anthony (Valencia), Tanner (Hall), Josh (Shields), Josh (Maruca) — they were the first believers,” Arizona State head coach Zeke Jones said after the win. “They were the first believers that we could get to this place. I've said it before. Now their belief is coming true."
NO. 1 WRESTLERS TO WATCH: Zahid Valencia holds the top spot nationally at 184 pounds
Arizona State, now ranked No. 4 with one first-place vote, will wrestle at the Cliff Keen Invitational next on Dec. 6. The win against Penn State ensures that they’ll head into the holiday break undefeated in duals at 5-0.
Princeton, Panthers rise after taking down Lehigh
The Princeton Tigers, known recently for their difficult schedule and willingness to wrestle the best teams in the country, took down the then-No. 7 Lehigh Mountain Hawks in New Jersey 18-14 behind wins from Pat Glory, Marshall Keller, Mike D’Angelo, Quincy Monday and Grant Cuomo. Last weekend, Lehigh took down then-No. 4 Oklahoma State, and Princeton’s win against the Mountain Hawks suggests they too will push the Cowboys this weekend in Stillwater and fight for an even higher ranking.
Lehigh went 0-2 on the weekend after also dropping to then- No. 12 Pittsburgh on criteria. The two losses dropped the Mountain Hawks five spots while Princeton and Pittsburgh rose two spots each.
Other shakeups, results in the Top 25
The top-ten Wolfpack put up another strong weekend, taking out then-No. 15 Cornell and Binghamton in a Saturday double-header to rise into the No. 7 spot. Trent Hidlay headlined the wins with upset victories over No. 4 Ben Darmstadt and No. 5 Lou DePrez to move up in the individual rankings at 184 pounds. Thomas Bullard picked up bonus points against Cornell with a 9-0 major decision in his bout with Adam Santoro and added another major decision against Dylan Wood later in the afternoon. Matt Grippi, Hayden Hidlay and Daniel Bullard also put up bonus points against the Bobcats.
A pair of top-5 wins in as many matches this past weekend for R-Fr. @hoagieboyhidlay!— NC State Wrestling 🤼♂️ (@PackWrestle) November 26, 2019
Some images from his 2-1 OT win over #4 DePrez of Binghamton.#PackMentality
📷 @justinhoch pic.twitter.com/aTIBm0Q8uH
Nebraska jumped up to No. 2 after a solid win over No. 16 UNI and a win over Wyoming. Oklahoma State stayed in the top 10 with a win over No. 12 Minnesota. Iowa State ended up in No. 11 again after its loss to Iowa. No. 22 Michigan picked up a win over Central Michigan, while No. 15 Northwestern beat North Dakota State, and No. 18 North Carolina defeated UT-Chattanooga.
STORYLINES TO WATCH: How will Olympic redshirts impact the team title race?
No. 21 Army also dominated West Virginia 35-4, while No. 23 Purdue went 3-0 on the weekend with wins over Clarion, Indianapolis and Northern Illinois.
Full Top 25 rankings below:
|4||Arizona State (1)||5-0||305||10|
|21||Army West Point||4-1||63||24|