Penn State opens season unanimous No. 1 in NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll

Manheim, Pa. – Penn State received all 16 first-place votes in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll to start the 2018-19 season at No. 1, the NWCA announced Wednesday. In addition to the Nittany Lions, the Big Ten Conference has four of the top-five teams in No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Iowa and No. 5 Michigan.

Penn State is coming off its seventh NCAA championship in the last eight years, while also wrapping up its third straight undefeated campaign. PSU head coach Cael Sanderson’s squad returns past NCAA Division I champions Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, Mark Hall, and Bo Nickal. Entering his 10th year as head coach in Happy Valley, Sanderson is aiming to extend the Nittany Lions’ school-record 45-dual winning streak when they open the season against Kent State at home on November 11.

Overall, the 11 of the Big Ten’s 14 schools are in the top 25 to start the season. Among the top-five squads, Ohio State returns a host of All-Americans including past NCAA champion Myles Martin. Bolstered by returning NCAA and Big Ten 125-pound champion Spencer Lee, Iowa is expected to contend for Big Ten and NCAA team championships. The Hawkeyes also will put a formidable dual team on the mat.

Fourth-ranked Oklahoma State starts the year as the highest-ranked Big 12 Conference team and returns enough firepower to make this season interesting. No. 14 Northern Iowa, No. 20 South Dakota State and No. 22 Wyoming round out ranked teams hailing from the Big 12

Four of the six ACC schools are in the top 25, with NC State coming in at No. 8, while Virginia Tech checks in at No. 11. Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina and Duke, who makes its first-ever appearance in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll, are listed back-to-back at Nos. 23 and No. 24, respectively.

Sixth-ranked Lehigh and ninth-ranked Cornell are the lone schools represented from the EIWA. Four conferences have a single team included on the poll: No. 7 Missouri (MAC), No. 20 Lock Haven (EWL), No. 10 Arizona State (Pac-12), No. 25 Appalachian State (Southern Conference).

The NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll is voted on by two coaches from each Division I wrestling conference. Each first-place vote is worth 25 points, 24 points for a second-place vote, 23 for a third-place vote and so on through to one point for a 25th-place vote.

Rank Team (First) 17-18 Rec. Points Conference Final Dual Rank 17-18
1 Penn State (16) 14-0 400 Big Ten 1
2 Ohio State 14-1 376 Big Ten 2
3 Iowa 12-3 365 Big Ten 7
4 Oklahoma State 13-2 353 Big 12 5
5 Michigan 11-3 331 Big Ten 4
6 Lehigh 12-3 305 EIWA 8
7 Missouri 19-0 298 MAC 3
8 NC State 15-2 295 ACC 6
9 Cornell 13-2 259 EIWA 11
10 Arizona State 11-3 254 Pac-12 9
11 Virginia Tech 14-3 245 ACC 10
12 Nebraska 10-4 230 Big Ten 13
13 Minnesota 10-8 203 Big Ten 18
14 Northern Iowa 6-5 201 Big 12 15
15 Illinois 7-4 167 Big Ten 16
16 Rutgers 8-7 148 Big Ten 19
17 Northwestern 11-4 132 Big Ten 17
18 Purdue 9-7 114 Big Ten 21
19 Wisconsin 7-5 102 Big Ten 22
20 (tie) South Dakota State 13-2 85 Big 12 12
20 (tie) Lock Haven 12-4 85 EWL 23
22 Wyoming 13-3 72 Big 12 14
23 North Carolina 9-11 71 ACC 24
24 Duke 7-7 17 ACC NR
25 Appalachian State 9-4 16 SoCon NR

Others Receiving Votes: Stanford 15, Maryland 11, Drexel 9, Pittsburgh 8, North Dakota State 6, Iowa State 4, Rider 4, Utah Valley 4, Virginia 4, Binghamton 3, Clarion 3, Army West Point 1, Central Michigan 1, Kent State 1, Old Dominion 1, Princeton 1.

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