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.

RankTeam (First)17-18 Rec.PointsConferenceFinal Dual Rank 17-18
1Penn State (16)14-0400Big Ten1
2Ohio State14-1376Big Ten2
3Iowa12-3365Big Ten7
4Oklahoma State13-2353Big 125
5Michigan11-3331Big Ten4
8NC State15-2295ACC6
10Arizona State11-3254Pac-129
11Virginia Tech14-3245ACC10
12Nebraska10-4230Big Ten13
13Minnesota10-8203Big Ten18
14Northern Iowa6-5201Big 1215
15Illinois7-4167Big Ten16
16Rutgers8-7148Big Ten19
17Northwestern11-4132Big Ten17
18Purdue9-7114Big Ten21
19Wisconsin7-5102Big Ten22
20 (tie)South Dakota State13-285Big 1212
20 (tie)Lock Haven12-485EWL23
22Wyoming13-372Big 1214
23North Carolina9-1171ACC24
25Appalachian State9-416SoConNR

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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