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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | February 1, 2022

Penn State wrestling stays No. 1 after win over No. 2 Iowa as UNI cracks top 25

Watch all the best action from the 2021 Wrestling Championship finals

Upsets, top-ranked programs, regional rivalries — this week had it all. While teams across the country put up noteworthy results and forced individual weight class rankings mix-ups, the biggest headline from last weekend’s wrestling results was still No. 1 Penn State's solid 19-13 win over the No. 2 Iowa behind victories from Drew Hildbrandt, Roman Bravo-Young, Nick Lee, Carter Starocci, Aaron Brooks and Max Dean.

The success kept Penn State on top of the rankings while the Hawkeyes held down their second-place spot despite the loss. Penn State and Iowa will battle it out again with their fellow conference and national foes in March for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, but, for now, the Lions stay on top. 

First, the rankings:

RANK

TEAM (FIRST)

RECORD

POINTS

PREVIOUS

1 Penn State (14) 14-0 350 1
2 Iowa 11-1 336 2
3 Michigan 8-1 319 4
4 NC State 9-1 311 5
5 Iowa State 11-1 284 7
6 Ohio State 6-2 281 6
7 Virginia Tech 6-4 247 8
8 Nebraska 5-2 236 9
9 Wisconsin 9-1 235 10
10 Oklahoma State 10-2 232 3
11 Cornell 8-2 209 11
12 Missouri 9-3 196 13
13 Arizona State 6-3 189 12
14 Lehigh 8-5 149 14
15 Rutgers 12-4 144 15
16 Minnesota 3-4 136 16
17 Michigan State 8-2 128 18
18 Purdue 9-4 124 17
19 Pittsburgh 6-4 98 19
20 Princeton 4-2 75 20
21 Central Michigan 9-2 65 22
22 Northern Iowa 5-5 54 NR
23 South Dakota State 10-2 44 23
24 North Carolina 7-4 32 24
25 Oklahoma 6-5 26 21

Big Ten wrestling depth continues

The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten, but the strength of this group isn’t just limited to these two teams. Michigan jumped up one spot to No. 3 following two wins over No. 16 Minnesota 20-16 and Maryland 40-2. As the score suggests, the latter dual was particularly lopsided and showed off the strength and depth of the Wolverines, as they racked up a pin at 125, techs at 133 and 185, and major decisions at 141, 157 and 165. Maryland’s lone win came in upset fashion at 197 pounds when No. 28 Jarron Smith topped Michigan’s No. 10 Patrick Brucki in sudden victory.

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In dual against Minnesota, however, Michigan needed bonus points from Nick Suriano and Myles Amine, along with decision wins from Dylan Ragusin, Cameron Amine, Logan Massa and Patrick Brucki to hold off the tough Gophers. Minnesota made some news of their own though despite the loss with Jake Bergeland upsetting Michigan’s then No. 4 Stevan Micic at 141 pounds and Gable Steveson burying Mason Parris by major at heavyweight. 

Minnesota’s results kept the Gophers steady in the poll but their midwestern rivals, the Wisconsin Badgers, jumped up a spot from No. 10 to No. 9 after they, much like Michigan, picked up a win over the Terps 39-4. Maryland’s lone win in that dual came at 149 pounds in the form of a major decision from Michael North over Aidan Medora, while Wisconsin’s Braxton Amos and Chris Weiler earned notable ranked wins over Maryland at 197 pounds and 165 pounds over No. 32 Smith and No. 12 Kyle Cochran. The Badgers will take on the No. 2 Hawkeyes next weekend while Maryland will wrestle No. 18 Michigan State, and Michigan is scheduled to compete against No. 8 Nebraska, a team that jumped one spot in this week’s poll. 

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The Big Ten currently has three teams in the top five, six teams in the Top 10 and 10 teams in the top 25, as Purdue held on to its top 25 ranking, despite dropping from No. 17 to No. 18, with a 17-16 win over Indiana. 

Northern Iowa, Iowa State top Oklahoma State in duals to rise in poll  

The UNI Panthers made the biggest jump in this week’s poll, moving from being unranked to No. 22 after two upsets wins over Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, both wins that bring an energy to the Panther Train as this team continues its deep Big 12 schedule with a duals against Air Force and West Virginia this weekend before taking on the No. 5 Cyclones next week. 

Leading the Panthers in their Oklahoma sweep were Derek Holschlag, Austin Yant and Parker Keckeisen who went 2-0 on the weekend and all earned upset wins in the dual against the Cowboys in particular. Yant’s 2-0 victory over Travis Wittlake in particular helped lift him over Wittlake in the individual rankings and added even more intrigue into the 165 pound weight class that becomes deeper every week, while Keckeisen’s dominant major decision win over All-American Dakota Geer at 184 pounds reinforced what a contender Keckeisen is for a national title at this weight. 

The Panthers wrestled tough throughout the lineup though, with Lance Runyon earning a critical pin over No. 7 Dustin Plott in the second period with the dual against the Cowboys, and Tyrell Gordon sealing in the team win for UNI with his 2-0 victory against Luke Surber.  

Gordon went 1-1 on the weekend after dropping a 3-1 decision to Oklahoma’s Josh Hindelseman, but the team score in that dual didn’t come down to him in the same way. Kyle Biscoglia and Cael Happel, along with the aforementioned trio of Holschlag, Yant and Keckeisen built a lead for the Panthers that enabled them to walk away champions, even with the loss at heavyweight. 

BEDLAM: Full history between Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma

Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will wrestle ranked South Dakota State next weekend on Friday and Sunday, but the Cowboys will have a challenge on Sunday as well, as they are set to wrestle No. 12 Missouri. The Tigers will come into that dual 9-3 after recently recovering from a loss to South Dakota State last weekend to beat both Wyoming and Utah Valley over the weekend in definitive fashion, outscoring the Cowboys 30-6 and topping the Mountaineers 39-9. This 2-0 result bumped Missouri up one spot in the poll to help them move from No. 13 to No. 12, while Oklahoma moved from No. 21 to No. 22 and Oklahoma State dropped from No. 3 to No. 10. Wrestling without NCAA champion AJ Ferrari — who was injured in a car crash last week — puts the Cowboys at a natural disadvantage, but they still have enough firepower in their lineup that they should be looking to rebound this coming weekend and strive for two ranked wins.

Last season, the Big 12 conference title belonged to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but No. 12 Missouri, as well as No. 5 Iowa State, No. 22 Northern Iowa, and No. 23 South Dakota State keep things interesting. 

The Cyclones, in particular, have momentum on their side right now as they also beat Oklahoma and Oklahoma State over the weekend by scores of 22-9 and 20-12 respectively. Head coach Kevin Dresser’s squad has quietly been compiling an impressive record so far this year with its only loss coming against the No. 2 Hawkeyes in a chippy Cy-Hawk dual that ended in Iowa’s favor 22-11. Iowa State’s returning NCAA champion David Carr paces this team with his undefeated record and a 71.43% bonus rate.

His ranked teammates No. 11 Ian Parker, No. 8 Marcus Coleman and No. 21 Sam Schulyer also went 2-0 on the weekend though while No. 19 Kysen Terukina, No. 22 Ramazan Attasauov, Isaac Judge, No. 18 Joel Devine and No. 14 Yonger Batisda also picked up a win over the course of the two duals. The Big Ten may have stolen the show on Friday night last weekend, but the Big 12 kept action interesting over the rest of the weekend and emphasized that this conference can’t be ignored in the team trophy race or the general conversation.

CYCLONE CHAMP: Relive how David Carr won his 2021 NCAA title

Additional changes in the top 25 and notable results 

Speaking of powerhouse conferences, the ACC has a number of elite teams competing for team trophies of their own this year, led by No. 4 NC State and No. 7 Virginia Tech. These two programs both picked up wins this weekend with the Wolfpack shutting out Duke 43-0, and Virginia Tech topping No. 19 Pittsburgh 24-12. The Pack and the Hokies will meet for a rescheduled dual on February in a match that will likely determine the regular season ACC champion and offer fans a number of the highly ranked bouts they were denied on January 21 when COVID interrupted plans for the original match. 

No. 24 North Carolina also kept itself in the rankings this week after a narrow win over Virginia 17-16, and they’ll take on the Pack on Feb. 18, two days before NC State wrestles the Hokies. Virginia Tech is 6-3 on the year with all of its losses coming to out-of-conference opponents including Ohio State, Arizona State and Cornell, all teams in the top 25. 

The Sun Devils had a hot start to the season but have been taking a few more losses as of late including results against Penn State, Pittsburgh and Princeton that have not fallen in favor of ASU. Head coach Zeke Jones’ squad put themselves back on track last weekend with a win over Oregon State 20-17 but still dropped one spot in the rankings, moving from No. 12 to No. 13. Cornell and Princeton, on the other hand, stayed steady at No. 11 and No. 20, building up for an epic Ivy League battle this coming weekend.

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