Penn State Wrestling

Penn State wrestling on top of the final coaches poll of 2017

Penn State’s Corey Keener beat Indiana’s Garrett Pepple by an 11-3 major decision Sunday at Rec Hall.
Penn State’s Corey Keener beat Indiana’s Garrett Pepple by an 11-3 major decision Sunday at Rec Hall. psheehan@centredaily.com

The Nittany Lions are heading into the second half of the season on top — but the Buckeyes are still gaining ground.

Ohio State gained one point on Penn State in Wednesday’s National Wrestling Coaches Association/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll, the final one of 2017.

The Nittany Lions had a commanding 44-3 win in their Big Ten opener against unranked Indiana on Sunday, while Ohio State lost only one bout in its two wins this week — over Princeton and Chattanooga.

The Nittany Lions were the unanimous No. 1 in the coaches poll for the first four weeks of the season. The Buckeyes first started to gain some ground on the blue and white in the Dec. 5 poll — the week Penn State skimmed by then-No. 5 Lehigh while Ohio State’s wrestlers had an impressive showing at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas tournament.

Ohio State has picked up another point each week since, and Penn State lost one point in this week’s poll, making the final 2017 point total 396-388.

Both teams will take the next week off for the Christmas holiday and the end of the semester, and return to action in the new year when Penn State faces a bevy of ranked wrestlers at the Southern Scuffle, and Ohio State takes on unranked Maryland on Jan. 5.

The top-2 teams will face each other Feb. 3 at Rec Hall.

In other Division I competition this week, N.C. State won its 10th straight dual, with a 29-3 win over then-No. 12 Nebraska, to pull ahead of Lehigh and take the No. 5 spot.

No. 3 Oklahoma State slipped by Wyoming 20-15 on Tuesday, in a dual that saw Oklahoma State’s two-time national champ and No. 1-ranked Dean Heil lose his 55-match winning streak to No. 3 Bryce Meredith.

Lock Haven continues to inch up in the polls — from 22 to 20 — after a win over Bloomsburg and non-DI teams Wheeling Jesuit and Messiah to improve to 4-0.

Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson and Nick Nevills talk about Sunday's dual against Lehigh at the PPL Center in Allentown.

Lauren Muthler: 814-231-4646, @lmuth1259

NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll

Dec. 20

Rank

Team

Record

Points

Previous

1

Penn State

5-0

396

1

2

Ohio State

6-0

388

2

3

Oklahoma State

5-0

367

3

4

Missouri

8-0

351

4

5

NC State

10-0

333

6

6

Lehigh

6-1

328

5

7

Iowa

7-0

301

7

8

Minnesota

3-1

286

8

9

Michigan

2-1

273

9

10

Virginia Tech

4-1

260

10

11

Arizona State

2-2

237

11

12

Cornell

2-0

226

13

13

Illinois

11-2

198

14

14

Northern Iowa

2-1

191

15

15

South Dakota State

4-2

177

16

16

Wisconsin

4-0

145

18

17

Rutgers

3-2

140

17

18

Nebraska

2-2

103

12

19

Oklahoma

2-2

101

19

20

Lock Haven

4-0

81

22

21

Central Michigan

3-3

80

23

22

Rider

2-1

74

21

23

Purdue

4-1

70

19

24

North Carolina

2-3

37

NR

25

Edinboro

2-1

24

24

Others receiving votes: Navy 20, Northwestern 7, Utah Valley 6, Drexel 2, North Dakota State 2

Dropped out: No. 25 Navy (3-0)

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