St. Cloud State gains #2 spot in NCAA DII preseason wrestling poll

The St. Cloud State University wrestling team, which has won two consecutive NCAA Division II championships and four NCAA titles since 2015, received a number two ranking in the 2019-20 NWCA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association preseason poll.

The Huskies received 82 points in the poll, while Pitt-Johnstown was ranked first with 88 points. SCSU was the top NSIC team in the poll, while McKendree was third with 71 points, Nebraska-Kearney was fourth with 68 points and Notre Dame (Ohio) had 58. Lindenwood (46), Minnesota State (43), Newberry (42), Ashland (40) and Maryville (39) rounded out the top 10. The other NSIC team in the poll included Upper Iowa (11th/36 points), while MSU-Moorhead, UMary and Minot State all received votes in the poll.

Individually, Jake Barzowski was the Huskies’ top-ranked wrestler with a number one spot in the poll at 157-pounds. Barzowski is one of SCSU’s returning All-Americans after finishing third in the nation at 157-pounds at the 2019 NCAA DII championships. He posted a 25-3 record for the Huskies in 2018-19.

At 133-pounds, SCSU’s Garrett Vos was ranked third in the nation. A sophomore, Vos scored a 22-5 record for SCSU last winter and placed sixth in the nation at 133-pounds at the NCAA championships. At 141-pounds, Garrett Aldrich gained a #11 preseason ranking for the Huskies and senior captain James Pleski was ranked number two in the nation at 149-pounds.

A three-time All-American for SCSU, Pleski has won 86 matches during his college tenure and has placed fourth twice (2019 and 2017) and second once (2018) at the NCAA finals for the Huskies.

At 165-pounds, SCSU’s Devin FitzPatrick gained a fourth-place ranking in the DII preseason poll. He finished 2018-19 with a 26-6 record and placed sixth in the nation at 165-pounds at the NCAA DII championships.

At 174-pounds, senior Kolton Eischens was selected as the nation’s third-ranked wrestler. A two-time All-American and team captains this season, Eischens gained a 25-4 record in 2018-19. He placed fourth in the nation last year at the NCAA DII championships. At 184-pounds, SCSU’s Tyree Overton earned a #7 ranking in the DII preseason poll. A redshirt athlete at SCSU last year, Overton was a national qualifier for SCSU in 2018 and will serve as a team captain in 2019-20.

SCSU will be looking to continue its run of success that has seen the Huskies capture four NCAA Division II championships since 2015, eight consecutive NSIC championships since 2012 and six NCAA regional crowns since 2011. SCSU posted a perfect 20-0, 8-0 NSIC record in 2018-19 on its way to a second consecutive NCAA title, which also included a first-place finish at the 2019 NWCA DII National Duals. This marked SCSU’s second consecutive undefeated season and saw the Huskies extend their current undefeated streak in dual matches to 48.

The Huskies have not lost a dual match since a loss to Indianapolis on Jan. 14, 2017, and SCSU has not lost a dual match in NSIC action since a loss to Augustana on Jan. 27, 2011.

SCSU will be under the leadership once again of head coach Steve Costanzo, who begins his 14th season with the Huskies in 2019-20. He owns a 208-28 record during his tenure with the Huskies and also owns a 269-58-2 career record as a college coach in 20 seasons.

In the regional rankings, Vos was ranked first at 133-pounds, Aldrich was ranked second at 141-pounds, Pleski was ranked first at 149-pounds, Barzowski was ranked first at 157-pounds, FitzPatrick was ranked first at 165-pounds, Eischens was ranked first at 174-pounds, Overton was ranked second at 184-pounds and Noah Ryan was ranked third at 197-pounds. SCSU also gained the number one team ranking in the preseason Super Region 5 poll.

NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Top 25 and Individual Rankings

The Huskies will kick-off their season on Friday, Nov. 1 with the annual Black/Red Classic intrasquad match in Halenbeck Hall. The match will begin at 7:00 p.m. and the evening will also include the unveiling of the Huskies’ 2019 NCAA DII championship banner in Halenbeck Hall.

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