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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Grand View (Iowa) widened the gap between the competitors as it grabbed the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Top 20 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. With 143.5 points, the Vikings are more than 42 ahead of second-place Campbellsville (Ky.) in the sixth edition of the poll. The point differential is the most between the No. 1 and 2-ranked teams this season.
Grand View wrapped up the regular-season duals portion with a 40-9 victory over Waldorf (Iowa) on Tuesday. The Vikings, who place heavyweight Eric Thompson (27-0) in the No. 1 individual spot this week, improved their dual record to 14-0. On Feb. 18, Grand View will host the Central Group Qualifying event.
Campbellsville is back near the top after the Tigers improved one position with 101 points. Southern Oregon falls back to third with 88 points. No. 4 Great Falls (Mont.) and No. 5 Oklahoma City lock down their spots from the Jan. 25 edition.
Four individuals continue to dominate at the top of their respective weight classes: Southern Oregon's Mitchell Lofstedt (25-1) at 125, Anthony Varnell (19-2) of Great Falls at 141, Eric Burgey (17-1) of William Penn (Iowa) at 149 and Joseph Sievert (21-0) of Morningside (Iowa) at 174. These grapplers have held the No. 1 ranking in all seven Coaches' Top 20 Polls (including preseason).
Nine of the 10 individual weight classes kept the top-ranked wrestler from the last poll. Kody Kersten of Midland (Neb.) at 184 pounds is the only change. Campbellsville and Oklahoma City each placed a pair of No. 1 grapplers on the list, which is the most of any school.
No. 18 Northwestern (Iowa) and No. 19 Waldorf are this week's newcomers. The Red Raiders are back in after taking a one-time hiatus while Waldorf is ranked for the first time since Feb. 8, 2011 when the Warriors were 17th (tie).
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the Qualifying Groups.
The 2012 NAIA Wrestling Qualifying Group Tournaments will take place Feb. 18 at four on-campus locations around the country. To follow all of the Qualifying Group Tournaments, click here. The final poll of the 2011 - 12 regular season will be released on Feb. 22, followed by the announcement of qualifiers for the 2012 NAIA Wrestling National Championships. The 55th annual event will take place March 1 - 3 at the Jacobson Exhibition Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
Notes: There have been 25 different teams ranked in seven separate polls this year (including Preseason)... Heavyweight Eric Thompson of Grand View (Iowa) won his second-straight NAIA Wrestler of the Week honor on Wednesday and has been ranked No. 1 for the last three-consecutive weeks... Grand View holds the No. 1 spot for the longest of any program this year (three-straight polls)... The Vikings are the fourth different team to be ranked No. 1 this year joining Southern Oregon, Campbellsville and Great Falls (Mont.)... Four weight classes have had the same top-ranked grappler in all seven polls issued (125 pounds, 141, 149, 174)... Southern Oregon has held a top-three ranking in all polls this year.
|Rank||Prvs. Rank||School||Total Team Points|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa)||143.5|
|4||4||Great Falls (Mont.)||81|
|11||6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||41.5|
|14||15||Dickinson State (N.D.)||29|
|17||17||William Penn (Iowa)||21|
Others receiving votes: Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 11.5; Menlo (Calif.) 7.5; Cumberland (Tenn.) 5.5; York (Neb.) 4.5; Indiana Tech 3; Bethany (Kan.) 1.
Top-Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings (PDF)
125 - Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon
133 – Tim Thurston, Campbellsville (Ky.)
141 - Anthony Varnell, Great Falls (Mont.)
149 - Eric Burgey, William Penn (Iowa)
157 – Nikolas Turner, Oklahoma City
165 – Kevin Hardy, Oklahoma City
174 - Joseph Sievert, Morningside (Iowa)
184 – Kody Kersten, Midland (Neb.)
197 – Jamelle Jones, Campbellsville (Ky.)
HWT – Eric Thompson, Grand View (Iowa)