By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Grand View (Iowa) opens the year as the No. 1 ranked team in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Preseason Top 20 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Vikings, who won their second-consecutive national title – the 13th team in NAIA history to repeat as champion – had 10 individuals earn preseason recognition. Of those individuals, there were three top ranked wrestlers to push Grand View’s total points to 143. The Vikings’ top-ranked wrestlers are defending national champions Gustavo Martinez (141 pounds) and Eric Thompson (285 pounds), along with 2013 national runner-up Isaiah Tatum (149 pounds).
No. 2 Montana State-Northern moves up one spot from last year’s postseason poll with nine ranked wrestlers and 123.5 points. The Lights boast the top two grapplers in the 125-pound weight class in Aaron LaFarge and Duell Stadel, while also owning the No. 1 individual at 133-pounds in Cameron Neiss. All three were All-Americans at the 2013 national championships.
Missouri Valley checks in at No. 3 with 96 points and are tied with No. 6 Great Falls (Mont.), as both teams boast a poll-high 12 ranked wrestlers. The Vikings have three individuals that rank among the top three of their respective weight class, including Carl Lawrence and Josh Manu at 197 pounds. Lawrence, who tops the class, finished runner-up at last season’s championships, while Manu took sixth after falling to the eventual national champion in the semifinals.
Rounding out the top five are No. 4 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 5 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) with 72 and 67 points, respectively. Campbellsville is the only team ranked in the top five to not have a No. 1 individual, however four of the Tigers nine ranked wrestlers are top-five in their class. Lindsey Wilson boasts two top-ranked individuals in 2013 national runner-up Joe Cozart (157 pounds) and national champion Jameel Bryant (184 pounds).
Defending national champion Brock Gutches (174 pounds) of Southern Oregon and national runner-up Eric Lopez (165 pounds) of Menlo (Calif.) are the only No. 1 individuals not part of one of the top five programs.
With seven returning All-Americans, the 141-pound and 165-pound weight classes are the most decorated of the ten levels.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the Qualifying Groups.
For a complete look at the 2013-14 NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll calendar, click here. The first regular-season poll will be announced Nov. 20.
Notes (all information dates back to 2000-01 season): Grand View’s (Iowa) No. 1 ranking is its 13th all-time, which ranks third of all programs since 2000-01 … The Vikings have held the top spot in nine-straight polls, which is the most since former member Notre Dame (Ohio) was No. 1 14-consecutive times from Nov. 24, 2009 to Feb. 22, 2011 … Former member Lindenwood (Mo.) boasts the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 39, while Notre Dame is second with 14 … Nine programs have appeared in the Top 20 for at least 20-consecutive polls, led by No. 4 Campbellsville’s (Ky.) and No. 6 Great Falls’ (Mont.) current run of 64-straight polls, dating back to 2005-06 … No. 2 Montana State-Northern is the only other school with at least 50-straight appearances (55) … Notre Dame and Lindenwood are the only programs to have spent an entire season ranked No. 1 (Notre Dame: 2010-11; Lindenwood: 2006-07).2013-14 NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Preseason Top 20 Poll
|Rank||Previous Rank*||School||Total Team Points|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa)||143|
|5||5||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||67|
|6||7||Great Falls (Mont.)||66|
|T15||T16||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||36|
|T17||4||Dickinson State (N.D.)||26.5|
Others receiving votes: William Penn (Iowa) 20; Life (Ga.) 18.5; Cumberlands (Ky.) 18; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 16.5; Oklahoma City 16; Waldorf (Iowa) 12; Jamestown (N.D.) 11; Concordia (Neb.) 10; Calumet (Ind.) 10; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 9; Hastings (Neb.) 7.5; Northwestern (Iowa) 4.5; Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 3.5; Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 3; Benedictine (Kan.) 1.5.
Top-Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings
125 – Aaron LaFarge, Montana State-Northern
133 – Cameron Neiss, Montana State-Northern
141 – Gustavo Martinez, Grand View (Iowa)
149 – Isaiah Tatum, Grand View (Iowa)
157 – Joe Cozart, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
165 – Eric Lopez, Menlo (Calif.)
174 – Brock Gutches, Southern Oregon
184 – Jameel Bryant, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
197 – Carl Lawrence, Missouri Valley
285 – Eric Thompson, Grand View (Iowa)
*Previous rank based on 2012-13 Postseason Poll