The Minnesota Golden Gophers will open the 2012-13 season as the nation’s top-ranked team according to the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll.
Coach J Robinson’s team garnered seven of a 10 possible first place votes to start the season No. 1. Last year, the Gophers finished second at the NCAA Division I Championships in St. Louis. The Gophers are led by returning heavyweight champion Tony Nelson and returning runner-up Dylan Ness at 149 pounds.
The Gophers won the NWCA National Duals last season and finished with a 14-3 dual record. They closed the 2011-12 season as the top-ranked dual team in the country.
Two-time defending national champions Penn State starts the season ranked second in the country. Cael Sanderson’s squad returns national champions David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth, who moves up to 184 pounds. Returning finalists Nico Megaludis (125) and Quentin Wright, who also moves up, this time to 197 pounds, bolster the Penn State lineup.
Wright won the NCAA championship at 184 pounds in 2011.
Oklahoma State comes in ranked third while a pair of Big Ten programs fill out the top five – Iowa at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 5.
In all, six Big Ten teams populate the top 10, with Illinois ranked No. 6 and Nebraska ranked ninth.
Cornell from the EIWA comes in tied with the MAC’s newest member, Missouri, at No. 7. Oregon State from the Pac-12 rounds out the top 10.
The USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll is released on Tuesdays during the college wrestling season. Each conference has one voting representative in the poll. Points are calculated on a 40-39-38-18-17-16 descending value. First-place votes are listed in parenthesis.
|2||Penn State (3)||392||13-1|
Others receiving votes: Binghamton 112, Purdue 85, Rutgers 80, Iowa State 37, American 17, Northern Iowa 16, West Virginia 16.