NWCA Releases First Coaches Poll of 2011-12 Season; Gophers are tabbed at No. 4 to start the season

The first NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll for the 2011-12 season has been released. Overall three conferences are represented in the Top 10 and eight conferences represented in the Top 25.

The NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll Committee is made up of one coach from each conference.  A number one ranking is worth 25 points and a number 25 ranking is worth one point.

After winning their second NCAA Championship in school history, the first being in 1953, Penn State will start this season at the top of the poll, with four returning All-Americans, including NCAA Champion Quentin Wright. The Nittany Lions received seven out of ten first place votes.

The University of Iowa starts this season at No. 2, after a third place finish at the NCAA Championships. They also return this year with four All-Americans. The Hawkeyes received two out of ten first place votes in this pre-season poll.

Returning with two All-Americans including NCAA Champion Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State will start the season at No. 3, one place higher than their NCAA finish. Oklahoma State received the final first place vote in this week’s poll.

Minnesota returns four All-Americans to the mat this year, putting them at No. 4, to start the season.

After a second place finish at the 2011 NCAA Tournament Cornell University starts the pre-season ranked No. 5. In 2010 they were the first Ivy League team to hold the number 1 ranking. The Big Red are returning three All-Americans including one National Champion.

Rounding out the pre-season Top 10 are: Lehigh, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma.

A new poll will be released every Tuesday from now until the week of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament and can be found at www.nwcaonline.com.

1Penn State (7)244
2Iowa (2)238
3Oklahoma State (1)234
13Ohio State110
14Virginia Tech102
18Oregon State90
20Iowa State67
23Central Michigan47
24Kent State34

Other teams receiving votes: Arizona State, Binghamton, Boise State, Buffalo, Cal Poly, Hofstra, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, and Purdue.