The St. Cloud State University wrestling team has received a number two ranking in this year’s Division II preseason poll released by the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches and presented by the United States Marine Corps.
The NCAA Division II national champs in 2015 and 2016, St. Cloud State finished as the runner-up at the NCAA Division II championships in 2017 under the leadership of head coach Steve Costanzo. In this year’s preseason poll, SCSU received 68 points and the Huskies have six individuals ranked in the top poll’s top 12. McKendree University ranked first in the poll with 85 points.
The ranking committee is made up of eight regional rankers and a national chair. This is a tournament power index ranking. TPI point totals are broken down by the following individual rankings: 1st=20pts, 2nd=16pts, 3rd=13pts, 4th=12pts, 5th=10pts, 6th=9pts, 7th=7pts, 8th=6pts, 9th=4pts, 10th=3pts, 11th=2pts, 12th=1pt. The TPI point totals will be lower than the final actual NCAA tournament points because it does not include bonus points. The preseason ranking will not include true freshmen.
Individually, SCSU’s Jame Pleski and Larry Bomstad have received #1 national rankings. Pleski is the top ranked DII wrestler at 149-pounds and Bomstad received the top spot at 157-pounds this season. Pleski posted a 28-10 overall record in 2016-17 and placed fourth at the 2017 NCAA Division II championships to gain All-America honors. Bomstad gained All-America notice for the second consecutive season with a 24-4 overall record that included a third place finish at the NCAA DII championships in the 157-pound bracket. He also earned All-America honors for SCSU in 2015.
Junior Brett Velasquez, the 2015 NCAA champion at 125-pounds, gained a number two ranking in the preseason poll at 125-pounds for SCSU. He was 25-3 last season and placed third at the NCAA championships for SCSU. At 141-pounds, Jarred Oftedahl was ranked seventh in the preseason poll for SCSU. An NCAA qualifier last winter, Oftedahl was 20-7 in 2016-17.
SCSU newcomer Tyree Overton gained a #12 ranking in the preseason poll at 174-pounds for the Huskies. A transfer from Lincoln C.C., Overton is from Rock Island, Ill. The group of nationally ranked Huskies is completed by Vince Dietz, who is ranked ninth in the preseason poll at 197-pounds. Dietz was 27-5 with nine falls to his credit in 2016-17.
The six-time defending Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champions, SCSU placed second at the NCAA DII championships last year and also claimed first place finishes at the 2017 NCAA Division II Super 3 Regional and the 2017 NWCA Division II National Duals championships. SCSU was 17-1 in overall competition and won the NSIC crown with an 8-0 record.
SCSU has charted a 47-0 dual meet record in NSIC competition over the past six seasons and they have not lost an NSIC dual match since a loss to Augustana on Jan. 27, 2011. Costanzo will begin his 12th season with the Huskies in 2017-18 and he currently owns a 169-28 overall record during his tenure in St. Cloud.
The Huskies will open their 2017-18 campaign on Nov. 2 by hosting the annual Black/Red Classic intrasquad meet at 7 p.m. in Halenbeck Hall. Of note, SCSU will also host the 2018 NCAA Division II Super 3 Regional meet at Halenbeck Hall on Feb. 23-24.