Big Ten co-champs Iowa, Penn State close out year atop NWCA Coaches Poll

Manheim, Pennsylvania – A shortened 2020-21 Division I wrestling season came to a close with Iowa going wire-to-wire as the top dual meet team in the nation as the final NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll was released on Tuesday.

Match cancellations and no non-conference schedule left the top-ranked Hawkeyes with only five duals on the season – same as second-ranked Penn State. ACC regular season champions Virginia Tech finished the regular season third, followed by one-loss Michigan at No. 4 and unbeaten Missouri at No. 5. Oklahoma State, like Missouri, also finished 10-0. The Cowboys ended the season at No. 6.

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Virginia Tech jumps into Top 5; SoCon dual champs Campbell return to Top 25

Manheim, Pennsylvania – Sam Latona’s takedown and nearfall points at the end of the final bout of Friday’s Virginia Tech-NC State dual lifted the Hokies to more than just a dual meet victory. The Hokies jumped four spots to No. 4 nationally in the most recent NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.

Iowa (5-0) remained a unanimous No. 1, while the Top 10 saw some movement as NC State (5-1) dropped four spots to No. 7, and undefeated Missouri (10-0) moved up a spot to No. 5, past Oklahoma State (9-0).

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ACC upset pushes Virginia into Top 25; Clutch upperweights lift Lehigh

Manheim, Pennsylvania – With Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow on Groundhog Day, the lore says we have six more weeks of winter. We’ve also got six more weeks of wrestling season. With the final three weeks of the regular season looming, dual meet action has been consistently solid around the Division I wrestling landscape.

Upset wins by Virginia and Lehigh pushed those teams into the rankings this week as the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll was released on Tuesday. Virginia topped then-No. 12 Pittsburgh 17-16 in Charlottesville. Heavyweight Quinn Miller’s major decision was the difference as he scored a key bonus point to avoid sending the match to criteria and allowed the Cavaliers to win the dual outright. It’s the first time this season Steve Garland’s squad has been ranked. They last appeared in the rankings on January 7, 2020.

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Navy, Binghamton break into Top 25

Manheim, Pennsylvania – With the shortened season, the amount of time for teams to build momentum in dual meets is truncated. For Binghamton and Navy, the two EIWA teams are making the most of their time on the mats with quality performances and those performances have led to their season debuts in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.

Navy (2-1) and first-year head coach Cary Kolat nearly upset Pittsburgh to start the season. Since, the Midshipmen beat Clarion and then-No. 18 Lehigh. Binghamton topped then-No. 22 Army West Point convincingly last week, winning seven out of 10 bouts in a 23-10 win over the Black Knights.

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Illinois makes giant jump into Top 10 after a pair of weekend wins

Manheim, Pennsylvania – After entering the Top 25 last week, Illinois made waves immediately after earning a pair of ranked wins over the weekend, including an 18-15 win over then-No. 7 Ohio State, to vault the Illini into the Top 10 in the NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.

Illinois also beat then-No. 21 Wisconsin 21-9. It’s the first time since February of 2017 the Illini have been ranked in the top 10.

Top-ranked Iowa opened up its season with a 31-3 win at home against then-No. 6 Nebraska.

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Division I’s dominant conference sets a new bar as Big Ten has 12 ranked in Top 25

Manheim, Pennsylvania – Realignment in college sports has caused some interesting anomalies when it comes to conference names. Two of the most obvious examples are the Big Ten Conference, with 14 all-sports members and the Big 12, which has 10. Wrestling alignments have expanded and contracted conference sponsorship with the abundance of affiliate members as well.

For the first time in college wrestling history, the Big Ten Conference also has 12 of its 14 teams ranked as Illinois and Michigan State entered this week’s NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.

Previously, the conference had 11 teams ranked on 17 different occasions, all since 2014 with the first occurrence happening on December 16, 2014. Not surprisingly, the Big Ten also five teams ranked in the top seven, including No. 1 Iowa (0-0), No. 2 Penn State (0-0), and No. 3 Michigan (2-0).

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