Pittsburgh moves into Top 25; Missouri extends dual meet win streak with win over Virginia Tech

Manheim, Pennsylvania – A couple of falls by Micky Phillippi and Taleb Rahmani and a win at heavyweight by transfer Demetrius Thomas were crucial on Saturday as unranked Pittsburgh upended then-No. 14 Northern Iowa at home in a battle of Panthers. The victory was noticeable enough as second-year head coach Keith Gavin’s squad improved to 2-0 and moved into the Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll at No. 24 this week.

With 30 dual meets involving Division I teams over the past week, there was enough action to see the rankings jumbled, but the top five teams remained steady. No. 2 Ohio State (3-0) headed west and topped transitional Division I member Cal Baptist 42-0 before getting past then-No. 11 Arizona State in Tempe 22-18. The Buckeyes accomplished the feat without All-Americans Myles Martin and Kollin Moore, who were both representing Team USA in Bucharest, Romania at the U23 World Championships. Moore will come back to Columbus with a silver medal.

No. 3 Iowa (3-0) won seven of 10 bouts in topping Princeton 31-10 in the second meeting ever between the two schools and the first between at Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

No. 4 Oklahoma State (2-0) won its first two duals of the season, smashing then-No. 22 South Dakota State 45-6 in Brookings before heading east three and a half hours to beat No. 13 Minnesota 23-9 in Minneapolis. While wrestling fans didn’t’ get a chance to see highly touted redshirt freshman Cowboy Daton Fix wrestle Seth Gross on Saturday night in the win over South Dakota State, they did get to see Fix top two-time All-American Ethan Lizak of Minnesota 6-1 on Sunday at 133 pounds. Minnesota true freshman Gable Steveson made his home debut for the Gophers, beating returning All-American Derek White 8-2 at heavyweight.

No. 5 Michigan (2-0) had to wait two days due to weather for its scheduled dual with No. 6 Lehigh, but the Wolverines were able to offset an injury default at 149 pounds to top the Mountain Hawks (0-1) 21-13 at home as both teams weren’t at full strength due to early-season injuries.

No. 6 Missouri (3-0) moved up one spot, leapfrogging Lehigh after the Tigers extended the program’s dual win streak to 23 in a row with a 21-8 win over No. 10 Virginia Tech. The Hokies (0-2) would also drop a second road dual on the weekend, falling at then-No. 25 Northwestern 20-16.

Virginia Tech fell three spots to No. 13 as the Hokies are still without All-American David McFadden, who was also representing Team USA at the U23 World Championships. Northwestern’s Conan Jennings used a major decision at heavyweight to push the Wildcats (1-1) up two spots to No. 23 this week.

No. 8 NC State started 3-0 after beating Davidson 47-6 and a pair of non-Division I teams at its annual Wolfpack Duals. No. 9 Cornell (2-0) beat Binghamton 36-6 on Friday before needing points from All-American Max Dean in the dual’s final bout to beat West Virginia 20-16 on Saturday.

North Carolina vaulted the most of any team this week, jumping from No. 24 to No. 15 as the Tar Heels beat Arizona State 20-15 in a match that came down to a pair of brothers deciding which team would win the dual at heavyweight. Cory Gilliland-Daniel of North Carolina beat younger brother Brady 12-3 at 285 pounds to give the Heels the upset win.

Northern Iowa (1-1) rebounded from the loss to Pittsburgh to beat West Virginia 27-19.

Wisconsin is making the most of the early part of the Chris Bono era as the Badgers improved to 6-0, beating No. 12 Nebraska 22-21 in Lincoln on criteria before returning home to beat Princeton 22-18 and No. 21 Utah Valley 22-17. In Sunday’s wins over Princeton and Utah Valley, Wisconsin freshman heavyweight Trent Hillger provided the heroics, earning a first-period technical fall to top the Tigers and an overtime victory to beat the Wolverines.

It was a busy trip for Utah Valley (5-2), which swept three duals at Northern Illinois on Saturday before heading to Madison on Sunday. The Wolverines beat host Northern Illinois 21-14, Clarion 25-12 and Harper College 44-3.

Nebraska (4-1) recovered to beat then-No. 18 Wyoming (2-1) 22-12. Wyoming’s Cole Verner upset two-time All-American Zeke Moisey at 125, while Nebraska’s Tucker Sjomeling upset All-American Montorie Bridges at 133 pounds.

North Dakota State needed a technical fall from Cam Sykora at 133 pounds to fend off upset-minded Fresno State 21-20 and Rutgers improved to 5-1 with a 40-3 win over Hofstra.

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.

Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll – November 20, 2018

Rank Team (First) Record Points Conference Previous
1 Penn State (16) 1-0 400 Big Ten 1
2 Ohio State 3-0 375 Big Ten 2
3 Iowa 3-0 369 Big Ten 3
4 Oklahoma State 2-0 357 Big 12 4
5 Michigan 2-0 335 Big Ten 5
6 Missouri 3-0 314 MAC 7
7 NC State 3-0 303 ACC 8
8 Lehigh 0-1 292 EIWA 6
9 Cornell 2-0 275 EIWA 9
10 Minnesota 1-1 232 Big Ten 13
11 Wisconsin 6-0 226 Big Ten 17
12 Nebraska 4-1 218 Big Ten 12
13 Virginia Tech 0-2 173 ACC 10
14 Purdue 2-0 168 Big Ten 15
15 North Carolina 2-0 157 ACC 24
16 Arizona State 1-2 156 Pac-12 11
17 Illinois 0-1 122 Big Ten 16
18 Northern Iowa 1-1 120 Big 12 14
19 North Dakota State 3-0 110 Big 12 20
20 Wyoming 2-1 107 Big 12 18
21 Lock Haven 0-0 88 EWL 19
22 Utah Valley 5-2 78 Big 12 21
23 Northwestern 1-1 74 Big Ten 25
24 Pittsburgh 2-0 59 ACC NR
25 Rutgers 5-1 58 Big Ten 23

Others Receiving Votes: Appalachian State 9, South Dakota State 9, Princeton 8, Iowa State 7, Stanford 1
Dropped Out: No. 22 South Dakota State

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