Manheim, PA – Behind four top-ranked wrestlers and another three ranked individuals, the St. Cloud State Huskies sit atop the preseason edition of the NCAA Division II Coaches Rankings, released Friday by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Head Coach Steve Costanzo’s Huskies, who ended the 2019-20 season ranked atop the team poll, amassed 108 points, with the #1 wrestlers at 133, 157, 165 and 285 all from St. Cloud State. Nebraska-Kearney is second in the poll, with 90 points behind eight ranked individuals. Central Oklahoma (80), Lindenwood (65) and McKendree (55) round out the top five in the team ranking.
Central Oklahoma features the most ranked wrestlers, with nine Bronchos spread throughout the individual rankings. Heath Gray, the 2020 Division II Wrestler of the Year, opens the season atop the 184 rankings to highlight the UCO group. Heavyweight is the lone weight class that does not feature a Broncho, while Central Oklahoma has a wrestler in the top five at four weights. Nebraska-Kearney’s eight ranked Lopers is second-most, with St. Cloud State and Gannon both landing seven wrestlers in the individual rankings.
Of the 10 top-ranked individuals, nine come from teams ranked in the top five. Newberry’s Isiah Royal, a National Finalist at 141 in 2019, comes into his senior season still atop a weight class that he held the top spot in all last season and represents the only top-ranked wrestler from a team outside the top five. No. 2 Nebraska-Kearney has one #1, in 2019 National Finalist Josh Portillo at 125. Jimmy Rollins’ Lindenwood team, ranked #4 to start the season, features a pair of top-ranked individuals in Gavin Londoff at 149 and Abner Romero at 174. Ryan Vasbinder, NCAA Division II’s leader in tech falls last season, represents #5 McKendree, while UCO’s Gray and the four St. Cloud State Huskies complete the first group of top-ranked wrestlers this season.
The four SCSU Huskies atop their respective weight classes include Garrett Vos at 133, Jake Barzowski at 157, Devin Fitzpatrick at 165, and Kameron Teacher at 285. Vos, who was the two-seed heading into last year’s NCAA Division II National Championships, while Barzowski was also the two-seed heading into Nationals a season ago. FitzPatrick comes into his redshirt senior season atop the 165 rankings after ending last season at #3, while Teacher makes a return to the rankings after transferring to St. Cloud from Notre Dame College, where he was a two-time National Finalist in 2017 and 2018 as a Falcon.
Super Region 4 leads the way with seven Top 25 teams and 28 total ranked individuals. Super Region 3 has six teams ranked and 24 wrestlers in the individual rankings, while Super Region 5 has five teams in the Top 25 and matches Super Region 4’s 28 ranked wrestlers. Super Region 6 has three teams in the Top 25 and 19 wrestlers ranked, with both Super Regions 1 and 2 putting two teams in the Top 25.
The NCAA Division II Coaches Rankings are voted on and compiled by two head coaches from each of the six Super Regions. Following the preseason edition of the poll, three regular-season rankings are planned throughout the season leading up to the 2021 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships.