By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Grand View (Iowa) maintains its position atop the NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Vikings, who collected 165.5 points en route to the top-spot, have been ranked No. 1 in 14-straight polls, which is the most since Notre Dame (Ohio) ranked atop the poll 14 times from Nov. 24, 2009 to Feb. 22, 2011. In total, Grand View has 19 all-time No. 1 mentions.
Eight of Grand View’s 12 ranked wrestlers are listed among the top four of their respective weight classes, including top-ranked Ryak Finch (125), Gustavo Martinez (141) and Eric Thompson (285). Finch is making his second-straight appearance of the season at No. 1, while Martinez and Thompson have held the top-spot in every poll this season. The Vikings, who most recently posted a 44-3 win at Waldorf (Iowa) in the squad’s final dual of the season, return to the mat Saturday, Feb. 22 at the NAIA Central Group Qualifier in Marshall, Mo.
Propelled by dual wins against then-No. 10 Cumberland (Tenn.) and then-No. 20 Life (Ga.) last week, Lindsey Wilson slides up a poll-high four places and into the No. 2 ranking with 100.5 points. The Blue Raiders claim 10 ranked individuals, highlighted by No.1s Joe Cozart (157) and Jameel Bryant (184). Similarly to Grand View, Lindsey Wilson resumes action on Feb. 22 at the NAIA East Group Qualifier in Marietta, Ga.
No. 3 Missouri Valley accrued 95 points with 10 ranked individuals. Jake Ekster (149) is the Vikings only top-ranked grappler. Ekster enters the week with wins in 11 of his last 12 matches en route to a 16-2 record on the season, including a 13-0 mark against NAIA opponents.
Rounding out the top five for the third-straight week are No. 4 Great Falls (Mont.) and No. 5 Campbellsville (Ky.) with 92.5 and 87 points, respectively. Both squads feature at least 10 ranked wrestlers, however neither team has an individual at No. 1.
Individually, Toby Cheff of No. 6 Montana State-Northern takes over the No. 1 ranking at 197 pounds. Cheff, who is 19-3 on the season, replaces Charles Johnson of Southern Oregon who spent the previous four polls at No. 1.
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 final regular-season poll will be announced Feb. 26.
Notes (all information dates back to 2000-01 season): Grand View’s (Iowa) No. 1 ranking is its 19th all-time, which ranks second of all programs since 2000-01 … The Vikings have held the top spot in 14-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 third with 14 … Nine programs have appeared in the Top 20 for at least 20-consecutive polls, led by No. 5 Campbellsville’s (Ky.) and No. 4 Great Falls’ (Mont.) current run of 69-straight polls, dating back to 2005-06 … No. 6 Montana State-Northern is the only other school with at least 50-straight appearances (60) … 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’ Top 20 Poll – No. 5 (Feb. 12)
|Rank||Previous Rank||School||Total Team Points|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa)||165.5|
|2||6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||100.5|
|4||4||Great Falls (Mont.)||92.5|
|T16||18||Dickinson State (N.D.)||35|
|T19||17||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||20|
Others receiving votes: Northwestern (Iowa) 16; Life (Ga.) 15.5; Concordia (Neb.) 9; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 9; Benedictine (Kan.) 8; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 8; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 7.5; Jamestown (N.D.) 7; Hastings (Neb.) 5.5; William Penn (Iowa) 4; Missouri Baptist 2.5; Brewton-Parker (Ga.); Waldorf (Iowa) 2.
Top-Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings
125 – Ryak Finch, Grand View (Iowa)
133 – A.J. Valles, Simpson (Calif.)
141 – Gustavo Martinez, Grand View (Iowa)
149 – Jake Ekster, Missouri Valley
157 – Joe Cozart, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
165 – Eric Lopez, Menlo (Calif.)
174 – Brock Gutches, Southern Oregon
184 – Jameel Bryant, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
197 – Toby Cheff, Montana State-Northern
HWT – Eric Thompson, Grand View (Iowa)