KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Grand View (Iowa) closes out on top in the final regular season edition of the NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Top 20 Poll, the national office announced Wednesday. The defending national champions have been ranked No. 1 in 7-of-8 polls this season and have occupied the top spot in seven-straight. The Vikings racked up 163.5 points with 11 ranked wrestlers. Southern Oregon remains locked at No. 2 with 107 points and nine listed individuals. Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Dickinson State (N.D.) with 92.5 points, No. 4 Montana State-Northern with 89 points and No. 5 Campbellsville (Ky.) with 85.5 points.
Qualifiers for the 2013 NAIA Wrestling National Championships will be announced Thursday by 5 p.m. CST on www.NAIA.org. The 56th annual event will take place March 1 - 2 at the Jacobson Exhibition Center in Des Moines, Iowa, for the second-straight year.
Grand View, propelled by six individual titles, secured its third-straight NAIA Central Qualifying Group team title on Feb. 16. The Vikings enter the national championships with a 15-0 dual record and three individuals ranked atop their weight class. Defending national champion Eric Thompson (heavyweight) headlines the trio by returning to the No. 1 spot for the first time since Dec. 5. At the group qualifier, Thompson avenged his Dec. 16 loss to Baker's (Kan.) Brandon Gebhardt with a pin in 32 seconds to earn the individual crown in the heavyweight division.
Grand View's other top-ranked grapplers are Gustavo Martinez (141 pounds) and Chad Lowman (157 pounds). Similarly to Thompson, Lowman, who is tied with Campbellsville's (Ky.) Conor Young atop the class, is returning to the No. 1 spot for the first time since Dec. 5 after claiming top prize at the Central Qualifying Group tournament.
Josh Manu of Missouri Valley and Montana State-Northern's Cameron Neiss round out the quartet of new No. 1's this edition. Manu, who boasts a 22-9 overall record on the season, emerged as the Central Group's 197-pound champion after knocking off previously top-ranked Derek Nightser of Grand View, 7-3, in the group championship match. Neiss, the fourth seed in the West Group qualifier, handled then-No. 1 Prescott Garner of Southern Oregon, 10-8, in the semifinals before downing then-No. 2 Angel Garcia of Menlo (Calif.) in the finals.
North Group team champion Dickinson State made the biggest improvement this week, vaulting five places from No. 8 to No. 3. Conversely, Great Falls (Mont.) tumbles a poll-high four places from No. 3 to No. 7.
NeuLion, the NAIA's official video streaming company of 12 selection NAIA National championship events, will be broadcasting the title bouts (Session IV) of the 2013 NAIA Wrestling National Championships. Packages can be purchased for $9.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For additional national championships information, including event schedule, tickets and DVD orders, click here.
For a complete look at the 2012-13 NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Top 20 Poll calendar, click here. The postseason Top 20 will be released on March 11.
Notes: (all information dates back to 2000-01 season) There have been 25 teams represented through seven polls this season (includes preseason poll) ... Grand View's (Iowa) No. 1 ranking is its 12th all-time, which ranks third since 2000-01 ... Former NAIA member Lindenwood (Mo.) boasts the most all-time No. 1 rankings with 39, while former NAIA member Notre Dame (Ohio) is second with 14 ... Nine programs have appeared in the top 20 for at least 20-consecutive editions, led by No. 7 Great Falls' (Mont.) and No. 5 Campbellsville's (Ky.) current run of 62-straight polls, dating back to the 2005-06 season ... No. 4 Montana State-Northern is the only other school with at least 50-straight appearances (54) ... Southern Oregon's Mitchell Lofstedt has been ranked No. 1 at 125 pounds for 17-straight polls ... Lofstedt (125 pounds), Brock Gutches (174 pounds) of Southern Oregon and Montana State-Northern's Ethan Hinebauch (165 pounds) have been ranked atop their respective weight class in all seven polls this season ... Notre Dame and Lindenwood are the only programs that have spent an entire season ranked No. 1 (Notre Dame: 2010-11; Lindenwood: 2006-07).2012-13 NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Top 20 Poll - Final (Feb. 20)
|Rank||Prvs.||School||Total Team Points|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa)||163.5|
|3||8||Dickinson State (N.D.)||92.5|
|6||4||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||84|
|7||3||Great Falls (Mont.)||77.5|
|19||17||Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)||18.5|
Others receiving votes: Bethany (Kan.) 17.5; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 12.5; Cumberlands (Ky.) 11.5; Life (Ga.) 11.5; Waldorf (Iowa) 9.5; William Penn (Iowa) 7; Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) 4.5; Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 4.5; Hastings (Neb.) 4; Simpson (Calif.) 3; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 1.5.
Top-Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings - PDF
125 – Mitchell Lofstedt, Southern Oregon
133 – Cameron Neiss, Montana State-Northern
141 – Gustavo Martinez, Grand View (Iowa)
149 – Mike Vasser, Great Falls (Mont.)
157 – Connor Young, Campbellsville (Ky.) / Chad Lowman, Grand View (Iowa)
165 – Ethan Hinebauch, Montana State-Northern
174 – Brock Gutches, Southern Oregon
184 – Kody Reed, Montana State-Northern
197 – Josh Manu, Missouri Valley
HWT – Eric Thompson, Grand View (Iowa)