Editor’s note: The Centre Daily Times will publish weekly updates based on NWCA coaches team and InterMat individual rankings to give readers a glimpse into how Penn State wrestling fits into the bigger picture.
After a quiet week of Division I wrestling action due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Penn State wrestling remains the unanimous No. 1 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association team coaches poll for the fifth straight week.
The Nittany Lions have been off since a dominating performance at the Keystone Classic on Nov. 20, and return to action this weekend with duals against Bucknell and No. 8 Lehigh.
Top-25 teams in action last week included No. 3 Iowa, which beat No. 15 Purdue 26-9 with backups starting in half of its lineup, No. 4 Oklahoma State with a 27-6 win over No. 21 Wyoming, No. 10 Minnesota 35-6 over South Dakota State and No. 14 North Carolina 28-7 over Appalachian State.
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With its win, North Carolina switched places with Purdue and moved up one spot to No. 14. Lock Haven and Wyoming also swapped spots, with the Bald Eagles moving up to No. 20 without even having yet wrestled a dual.
In most major individual rankings, Penn State still has eight wrestlers ranked. Redshirt freshman 149-pounder Brady Berge, however, isn’t ranked in all polls.
According to InterMat’s poll, Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, and Bo Nickal are ranked No. 1 at 157, 165 and 197, respectively, with Mark Hall at No. 2 at 174, Nick Lee and Shakur Rasheed at No. 4 at 141 and 184, respectively, Anthony Cassar at No. 5 at heavyweight, and Berge at No. 13 at 149.
Polls do slightly differ, especially when it comes to heavyweight. FloWrestling has Cassar ranked as high as No. 2, below Iowa’s Sam Stoll, while Trackwrestling has him at No. 4 and Amateur Wrestling News at No. 6.
Cassar has one ranked win this season with his defeat of teammate Nick Nevills, who was ranked No. 2, at the Keystone Classic. Cassar will have another shot at a ranked grappler on Sunday when he faces Lehigh’s Jordan Wood, who’s ranked sixth by InterMat.
Still missing from the rankings is Penn State’s 133-pounder Roman Bravo-Young, who has yet to wrestle against ranked competition. He could get his first chance on Sunday against Lehigh’s no. 8 Scott Parker. However, it’s not certain whether the two-time All-American will wrestle, as he has yet to compete this season.
Bravo-Young said on Tuesday that while he is anxious to wrestle against ranked competition so he can better assess his wrestling status, rankings themselves don’t mean anything to him.
“I just wrestle who’s in front of me,” he said.
In addition to Parker and Wood, Lehigh could be bringing at least six other ranked wrestlers. Graduate transfer at 125 pounds Connor Schram, however, also has yet to wrestle this season.
Other ranked wrestlers Nittany Lions could face this weekend include No. 10 at 157 Gordon Wolf, No. 11 at 164 Cole Walter, No. 7 at 174 Jordan Kutler, No. 7 Ryan Preisch at 184 and No. 15 Jake Jacobsen at 197.
Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll
|1||Penn State (16)||1-0||400||1|
|19||N. Dakota St.||3-0||119||19|
Others receiving votes: Princeton 7, Appalachian State 1, Iowa State 1