By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the 15th-straight edition, Grand View (Iowa) holds the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The Vikings, who have 12 individual wrestlers ranked in the poll, accrued 180 total points to become the first team to last the entire regular-season (including preseason poll) ranked No. 1 since Notre Dame (Ohio) accomplished the feat during the 2010-11 season.
Grand View’s ranked grapplers are highlighted by Ryak Finch (125), Brandon Wright (141) and Eric Thompson (285), who all rank atop their respective weight class. Wright is making his first appearance at No. 1 this season after knocking off previously top-ranked teammate Gustavo Martinez in the Central Qualifier’s 141-pound title match. The Vikings enter the national championships coming off their fourth-straight Central Qualifier team title, as all 12 grapplers automatically qualified with top four finishes.
Checking in at No. 2 for the second-straight week is Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) with 97.5 points. The Blue Raiders, who boast nine ranked wrestlers, continue to be led by top-ranked Joe Cozart (157) and Jameel Bryant (184). Both grapplers claimed East Qualifier individual titles and have been ranked No. 1 the entire season.
Montana State-Northern jumps three spots to No. 3 with 86 points. The Lights were third at the West Group Qualifying Tournament and had four individuals claim championships. Montana State-Northern boasts six ranked individuals, including No. 1 Ethan Hinebauch at 165 pounds and No. 1 Toby Cheff at 197 pounds.
Rounding out the top five this week are No. 4 Southern Oregon and No. 5 Missouri Valley with 78.5 and 69.5 points, respectively. West Qualifying Group champion Southern Oregon has eight ranked individuals, including three top-five wrestlers. Missouri Valley has seven grapplers ranked in this edition.
In addition to Wright and Hinebauch, Colby Crank of Bethany (Kan.) takes over the top spot at 149 pounds and Michael Ruiz of Great Falls (Mont.) claims the No. 1 ranking at 133 pounds.
No. 16 Missouri Baptist and No. 20 Concordia (Neb.) are this week’s newcomers. For the Bulldogs, the ranking is the first since the 2011-12 Postseason Poll on March 9, 2011, while Missouri Baptist was ranked previously this season.
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.
Notes (all information dates back to 2000-01 season): Grand View’s (Iowa) No. 1 ranking is its 20th all-time, which ranks second of all programs since 2000-01 … The Vikings have held the top spot in 15-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. 8 Campbellsville’s (Ky.) and No. 6 Great Falls’ (Mont.) current run of 70-straight polls, dating back to 2005-06 … No. 3 Montana State-Northern is the only other school with at least 50-straight appearances (61) … 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 – Final (Feb. 26)
|Rank||Previous Rank||School||Total Team Points|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa)||180|
|2||2||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||97.5|
|6||4||Great Falls (Mont.)||67|
Others receiving votes: Life (Ga.) 20; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 19.5; Benedictine (Kan.) 19; Baker (Kan.) 17; Dickinson State (N.D.) 16.5; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 13; Hastings (Neb.) 13; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 12; William Penn (Iowa) 9.5; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 9; Waldorf (Iowa) 6.5; Jamestown (N.D.) 5.5; Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 5.5; Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.); St. Andrews (N.C.); Truett-McConnell (Ga.) 1.5
Top-Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings
125 – Ryak Finch, Grand View (Iowa)
133 – Michael Ruiz, Great Falls (Mont.)
141 – Brandon Wright, Grand View (Iowa)
149 – Colby Crank, Bethany (Kan.)
157 – Joe Cozart, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
165 – Ethan Hinebauch, Montana State-Northern
174 – Brock Gutches, Southern Oregon
184 – Jameel Bryant, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
197 – Toby Cheff, Montana State-Northern
HWT – Eric Thompson, Grand View (Iowa)