Penn State Wrestling

Penn State wrestling stays No. 1 but loses some ground in coaches poll

Penn State’s Anthony Cassar (left) takes down Lehigh’s Jake Jakobsen at 197 pounds during Sunday’s match against the Mountain Hawks in Allentown. Cassar defeated Jakobsen 8-3. Penn State defeated Lehigh 23-19.
Penn State’s Anthony Cassar (left) takes down Lehigh’s Jake Jakobsen at 197 pounds during Sunday’s match against the Mountain Hawks in Allentown. Cassar defeated Jakobsen 8-3. Penn State defeated Lehigh 23-19. For the CDT

Penn State was able to escape upset-minded Lehigh Sunday by “the skin of their teeth,” but not without consequences in the rankings.

The Nittany Lions kept their top spot in the National Wrestling Coaches Association/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll for the fifth consecutive week this season, but are no longer the unanimous No. 1, as they lost three votes to the Buckeyes.

Penn State now has 397 points in the poll, while Ohio State trails right behind with 386.

The biggest mover in this week’s poll was the Lock Haven Bald Eagles, whose upset of then-No. 11 Rutgers in front of a sold-out crowd at Thomas Fieldhouse earned them a spot on the board for the first time since 2002.

Rutgers, wrestling without All-American Anthony Ashnault and recent world champ Richie Lewis, was unable to make up the points they needed as Lock Haven won five bouts — four by way of bonus points — to power its way to the upset win.

Heavyweight Thomas Haines sealed the victory with an exclamation mark by pinning Rutgers’ Razohnn Gross in 48 seconds for the Bald Eagles’ first win over a ranked opponent in 12 years.

The loss knocked the Scarlet Knights down to No. 16, as Lock Haven secured the 24 spot.

There was little other movement in the dual meet rankings, as Iowa narrowly escaped Illinois at home, Missouri dominated Old Dominion, and most of the other highly ranked teams were competing in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.

The top 10 remain Penn State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Lehigh, N.C. State, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia Tech.

Despite not wrestling for two weeks, Penn State’s 165-pounder Vincenzo Joseph kept his No. 1 spot in the InterMat NCAA Division I rankings.

The biggest mover for the Nittany Lions in those rankings was Anthony Cassar, whose four takedowns en route to a win over Lehigh’s Jake Jakobsen impressed voters enough to earn him the No. 9 ranking, up from No. 11 last week.

All other Nittany Lions held steady at their spots, with Zain Retherford, Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal ranked No. 1 at 149, 157 and 184, respectively. Mark Hall was No. 2 at 174, Nick Nevills No. 3 at heavyweight, and Cory Keener remained No. 18 at 133.

Jered Cortez missed a chance to crack the rankings this week, with his loss to Lehigh’s Luke Karam. The win for Karam, however, was enough for the freshman to make his rankings debut at No. 16 at 141.

Cortez will have a chance to avenge that loss Dec. 17, when he’s set to take on Indiana’s No. 13-ranked wrestler Cole Weaver at Rec Hall, in the Nittany Lions’ next dual meet.

NWCA/USA Today Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll

Dec. 5

Rank

Team (First)

Record

Points

Previous

1

Penn State (13)

4-0

397

1

2

Ohio State (3)

3-0

386

2

3

Oklahoma State

3-0

368

3

4

Missouri

7-0

349

4

5

Lehigh

4-1

337

5

6

NC State

8-0

321

6

7

Iowa

5-0

290

7

8

Minnesota

2-1

288

8

9

Michigan

1-1

266

9

10

Virginia Tech

3-1

257

10

11

Arizona State

2-2

231

12

12

Nebraska

2-0

229

13

13

Cornell

1-0

206

14

14

Illinois

1-2

183

15

15

Northern Iowa

1-1

177

16

16

Rutgers

3-1

155

11

17

South Dakota State

3-2

140

17

19

Central Michigan

1-1

133

19

19

Wisconsin

2-0

131

18

20

Purdue

3-0

92

20

21

Oklahoma

1-2

72

21

22

Rider

2-1

54

22

23

Edinboro

2-1

47

23

24

Lock Haven

1-0

24

NR

25

Pittsburgh

1-2

20

24

Others Receiving Votes: Wyoming 10, Utah Valley 5, American 4, Northwestern 4, Drexel 3, Kent State 3, North Carolina 2

Dropped out: No. 25 Stanford (2-2)

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