After tackling individual national rankings and top prospect profiles, TheOpenMat makes our first endeavor into national team rankings. We offer here the nationâ€™s top twenty teams with season accomplishments and rationale for Top 10 placement.
With the season headed for the homestretch, there is a good bit of evidence to base our rankings on. With several key duals, state series, and National Preps remaining, thereâ€™s still time to jockey for position. Enjoy, and feel free to leave a note or discuss the rankings on our message boards.
#1 Apple Valley, MN
Season History: The only unbeaten team in the country. Apple Valley boasts a deep roster and balanced lineup. They have won two competitions to support their #1 status. At The Clash, a dual meet tournament featuring three other members of our Top 20, AV went 5-0 with team scores of 55-12, 50-19, 45-12, 40-16, and 32-20 (to #12 Simley). At the Cheesehead, Apple Valley outdistanced second place Brandon, FL, by 39pts in while putting seven in the finals and winning four individual titles.
Rationale for #1: Tremendous balance. Several front-line studs and no holes in the entire line-up. Depth gives them the flexibility to create match-ups if needed. They are a dual nightmare for the opposition.
Up Next: Dual vs. #12 Simley 2/12
#2 Graham, St. Paris, OH
Season History: Finished 2nd to Blair Academy at the premier tournament in the country, the Ironman, by 41pts. After a dominating performance over #13 St. Edâ€™s, SPG upset Blair Academy at home, 36-21.
Rationale for #2: Graham has seen some great in-season progress, particularly in their middleweights. Second at the IM and a dual win over Blair puts them Top 2. A hypothetical dual on paper is all we can resort to. In the end, we give the advantage to AV, as thereâ€™s no easy outs in their line-up, and little room for opponents to score bonus.
Up Next: Dual vs. #11 Wadsworth 2/5
#3 Blair Academy, Blairstown, NJ
Season History: Blair dominated their early schedule winning several major tournaments in the Ironman, the Beast, and the Bethlehem Holiday Classic. Duals, however, proved to be their Achilles heel. Their mettle was tested in the Final Four where they managed to win despite a close call (36-33) to Collins Hill. The following week, Blair would fall at St. Paris by 15pts.
Rationale for #3: If the rankings were based solely on tournament scoring ability, Blair might be your #1. They have enough studs to pace them in tournaments regardless of the field. The issue for them, however, comes in duals where itâ€™s difficult to overcome holes at certain weights against the nationâ€™s tougher, more balanced, teams.
Up Next: Duals vs. #7 Wyoming Seminary and #13 St. Edwards 2/6
#4 Brandon, FL
Season History: Brandon has a very balanced line-up featuring a host of Fargo-credentialed wrestlers. They competed in two major competitions this season. In Wisconsin, at the Cheesehead, they finished runners-up to Apple Valley. They also beat #6 Collins Hill by 10pts at the Kyle Maynard Duals in Georgia.
Rationale for #4: This team could make a push for #3. A dual with Blair would figure to be nip-tuck. Blairâ€™s impeccable tournament resume gives the Buccaneerâ€™s the nod, however.
Up Next: State Series starting 2/6
#5 Central Dauphin, Harrisburg, PA
Season History: The Rams competed in two major events thus far. At the POWERade tournament, CD led the 44-team field and took home top honors. In Delaware, they were runners-up behind #3 Blair.
Rationale for #5: The top-ranked team in Pennsylvania, Central Dauphin is built more for tournaments than duals. They should get tested in the State Dual Championships. If they survive, they will solidify their #5 status as they are the odds-on favorite to win the PA big-school state individual tournament.
Up Next: District Dual Championships 2/6
#6 Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, PA
Season History: Sem traveled early and often this season. The Knights had Top 5 finishes at the Ironman, Cheesehead, and the Beast of the East, while picking up a title at the Escape the Rock Tournament.
Rationale for #6: Finished near the top of several national tournaments (and just behind Central Dauphin at the Beast). Collins Hillâ€™s balance makes #s 6 and 7 tricky, but Sem has the big guns that we feel would get them over the top.
Up Next: @ #3 Blair and vs. #13 St. Edwardâ€™s 2/6
#7 Collins Hill, GA
Season History: Collins Hill did its share of traveling this year, wrestling in Tennessee, Missouri, and visits to both ends of the Keystone State. The Eagles opened eyes with their impressive performance in capturing the Toshiba Midwest Classic over highly touted Park Hill, MO and several other solid teams. Later they finished 2nd behind Central Dauphin at POWERade. In Easton, at the NHSCA Final Four, they went 3-1 in duals, while nearly knocking off Blair.
Rationale for #7: A very balanced and well-coached team, you have to earn a win against them. This season, only #3 Blair and #4 Brandon managed to do that in duals.
Up Next: Region Tournament 2/6
#8 St. Markâ€™s, Wilmington, DE
Season History: The Spartans are enjoying a banner season with Coach Bastianelli leading them to podium finishes at the Beast and the Bethlehem Classic as well as the Virginia Duals team title.
Rationale for #8: A good number of studs throughout the line-up, especially down low. The Spartans fourth finished behind just Blair, CD, and Seminary at the Beast, and appear to be equally adept in either dual or individual scoring formats.
Up Next: State Prep Championships
#9 Central Mountain, Mill Hall, PA
Season History: Central Mountain placed 5th at Ironman, were Runners-up to Wyoming Seminary at Escape the Rock, and won the King of The Mountain tournament. They have an unbeaten dual record, albeit against sub-par competition.
Rationale for #9: CM is paced by its studs, but, as a team, they continued to improve throughout the year. Still, theyâ€™re stronger in a tournament setting; the bigger the better, and will push #5 Central Dauphin at Hershey in March.
Up Next: District Duals 2/6
#10 Clovis High School, Clovis, CA
Season History: Clovis is at the head of the class of a very strong group of Californian teams. They placed 11th at the Ironman, but sent just seven wrestlers as the rest of their starters stayed home and won the Clovis West Shootout dual event. With their full line-up intact, they went on to win The Temecula Valley Tournament and the Doc Buchanan.
Rationale for #10: Clovis doesnâ€™t have a whole lot of studs. Like Collins Hill, theyâ€™re a bunch of solid, grind-it-out guys with few, if any, holes in the line-up. Theyâ€™re much better suited for duals, so a CIF State Title isnâ€™t a shoe-in. But, if they can push the numbers through to the state tournament, the odds will be in their favor.
Up Next: State Sectionals 2/19
#11 Wadsworth, OH
Key Accomplishments: Placed 6th at Ironman. Dual win over #13 St. Edâ€™s.
Up Next: @ #2 St. Paris-Graham
#12 Simley, MN
Key Accomplishments: The Clash Runners-up. 5th at Cheesehead.
Up Next: @ #1 Apple Valley 2/12
#13 St. Edwards, Lakewood, OH
Key Accomplishments: 3rd at Ironman. Only dual losses to #2 St. Paris Graham and #11 Wadsworth.
Up Next: @ #3 Blair Academy and vs. Wyoming Seminary 2/6
#14 Park Hill, Kansas City, MO
Key Accomplishments: Toshiba Midwest Classic Runners-Up (to Collins Hill)
Up Next: Oak Grove Tournament 2/6
#15 Montini Cathlolic, Lombard, IL
Key Accomplishments: Ironman 10th. Dvorak Champs. 3rd at The Clash. 4th at the Cheesehead. Ranked #1 in Illinois.
Up Next: Regional Tournament 2/5
#16 Bishop Lynch, Dallas, TX
Key Accomplishments: Ironman, 7th. Dvorak Runners-up (to Montini). NHSCA Runners-Up (to Blair).
Up Next: Texas Prep State Tournament 2/6
#17 Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Key Accomplishments: Bi-State Champs. The Clash, 4th. Oconomowoc Invite Runners-Up (to Apple Valley). Ranked #1 in Wisconsin.
Up Next: Conference Championships 2/6
#18 High Point Regional High School, Sussex, NJ
Key Accomplishments: 18-1 dual record (only loss was to Bishop Lynch). #1 ranked in New Jersey.
Up Next: Sectional Tournament (state dual series) 2/8
#19 Bakersfield, CA
Key Accomplishments: Temecula Valley and Doc Buchanan Runners-up (both to #10 Clovis) Five Counties, 3rd. Ranked #2 in CA.
Up Next: State Sectional Tournament 2/19
#20 Cox High School, Virginia Beach, VA
Key Accomplishments: Placed 5th at the Beast. 5th at Bethlehem. 4th at VA Duals. Ranked 1st in VA.
Up Next: State Series
Editor Willie Saylor