KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Southern Oregon topped the NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Preseason Top 20 Poll, the national office announced Friday. The Raiders had a trio of grapplers earn a No. 1 ranking and had six other wrestlers earn recognition to total 127.5 points. Top-ranked Raiders are Mitchell Lofstedt at 125 pounds, Tommie Norton/Hooper at 157 and Derek Rottenberg at 184.
Second-ranked Campbellsville (Ky.) boasts the most ranked individuals with 11 to total 116.5 points. Leading the way for the Tigers is a trio of No. 2-ranked grapplers: Tim Thurston (133), Tommy Pretty (141) and Jamelle Jones (197). With 10 listed wrestlers, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) totaled 76 points to check in at third. Great Falls (Mont.) is fourth with 75.5 points thanks to nine listed individuals, including top-ranked Anthony Varnell at 141 pounds and 165-pounder Noah Hatton. Rounding out the top five is Grand View (Iowa) with seven ranked wrestlers for 73.5 points.
Three of the top-ranked grapplers are returning national champions, including a pair of defending titlists. Headlining the No. 1s is Evan Hinebauch of Montana State-Northern. The three-time All-American is the reigning national champion at 184 pounds, but has bumped up to 197 pounds in his final campaign. He is the only three-time honoree among all ranked wrestlers.
Varnell tops the most decorated weight class. The senior is the defending national champ at 141 pounds and is followed by a trio of two-time All-Americans: No. 2 Tommy Pretty of Campbellsville, No. 3 Kyle Wirkuty of Southern Oregon and No. 4 Myles Mazurkiewicz of Great Falls.
Loftstedt is a two-time All-American and is a two-time 125-pound finalist, winning the title in 2010 for Southern Oregon.
No. 6 Midland (Neb.), No. 10 Morningside (Iowa) and No. 12 William Penn (Iowa) also boast a top-ranked individual. Only in its second year of operation as a program, Midland has a pair of No. 1s in 133-pounder Matt Katusin and heavyweight Leviticus Roberson. Eric Burgey of William Penn is No. 1 at 149 pounds and Morningside's Joseph Sievert tops the 174-pound list.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the Qualifying Groups. The first regular-season poll will be announced Nov. 23.
|Rank||School||Total Team Points|
|3||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||76|
|4||Great Falls (Mont.)||75.5|
|5||Grand View (Iowa)||73.5|
|12||William Penn (Iowa)||29|
|13||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||24|
Others receiving votes: Dickinson State (N.D.) 10; Cumberland (Tenn.) 5; York (Neb.) 2.5; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 2; Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) 2; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 1.5; Indiana Tech 1.5.
Top-Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings
125 - Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon
133 - Matt Katusin, Midland (Neb.)
141 - Anthony Varnell, Great Falls (Mont.)
149 - Eric Burgey, William Penn (Iowa)
157 - Tommy Norton/Hooper, Southern Oregon
165 - Noah Hatton, Great Falls (Mont.)
174 - Joseph Sievert, Morningside (Iowa)
184 - Derek Rottenberg, Southern Oregon
197 - Evan Hinebauch, Montana State-Northern
HWT - Leviticus Roberson, Midland (Neb.)