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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | November 9, 2022

Iowa State jumps into the top 10 after a wild opening weekend of college wrestling

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The college wrestling season opened with fireworks last weekend as nine of the top 25 teams took the mat in duals, leading to unexpected upsets and rankings shifts. The biggest news from the weekend was Iowa State’s dominant performance against then-No. 12 Wisconsin, but the Cyclones were just one of several teams to climb in the national rankings. Here are three key takeaways from the latest top 25 as these programs prep for another weekend of high-level competition. 

First, the new NWCA rankings:

1 Penn State (12) (0-0) 348 Big Ten 1
2 Iowa (2) (0-0) 337 Big Ten 2
3 Missouri (1-0) 310 Big 12 4
4 Ohio State (0-0) 290 Big Ten 6
5 Michigan (0-0) 289 Big Ten 5
6 Arizona State (0-0) 285 Pac-12 3
7 Cornell (0-0) 266 EIWA 7
8 NC State (1-0) 247 ACC 9
9 Iowa State (3-0) 236 Big 12 14
10 Virginia Tech (0-0) 222 ACC 11
11 Oklahoma State (0-0) 221 Big 12 10
12 Minnesota (0-0) 186 Big Ten 13
13 Wisconsin (2-1) 171 Big Ten 12
14 Lehigh (2-0) 151 EIWA 17
15 Northwestern (0-0) 149 Big Ten 15
16 North Carolina (0-0) 118 ACC 16
17 Nebraska (0-1) 117 Big Ten 8
18 Pitt (0-0) 98 ACC 18
19 North Dakota State (1-0) 96 Big 12 NR
20 Penn (0-0) 78 EIWA 21
21 Rutgers (0-0) 77 Big Ten 22
22 Northern Iowa (0-0) 63 Big 12 20
23 Princeton (0-0) 49 EIWA 23
24 Oregon State (0-1) 44 Pac-12 19
25 Cal Poly (1-0) 23 Pac-12 24

Cyclones build momentum behind top-10 win, intensifying anticipation for December dual with Iowa

Iowa State made one of the most significant jumps in the rankings this week, moving from No. 14 to No. 9 following wins over Wisconsin, Campbell and Little Rock where the Cyclones outscored their opponents 93-16. This team will be expected to be similarly dominant in its duals this coming week against California Baptist and Grand View, but Iowa State supporters are already looking ahead to one date on the calendar in particular: December 4.

In just three weeks, the Cyclones will travel down the road to Iowa City to meet the No. 2 Hawkeyes in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a sold-out rivalry dual that will put the Iowa State lineup to the test. Iowa State has not beaten its in-state foe in 17 years, and the Cyclones have not won a dual since Tom Brands took over the Hawkeye program. The one-sided nature rivalry has not lessened the intensity of these battles in any way though, and last year’s bout ended with a little chippiness, as wrestlers from both teams left their respective team benches to exchange words.

This year’s Iowa State team boasts veteran consistency from David Carr, Marcus Coleman and Yonger Bastida as well as early signs of greatness from freshmen Casey Swiderski and Paniro Johnson, making for a dangerous lineup. Iowa’s full-strength team, however, is similarly powerful. The No. 2 Hawkeyes return four All-Americans and three additional NCAA qualifiers, though Des Moines Register journalist Cody Goodwin reports that the Hawks may not field all of these wrestlers until later in the year. Spencer Lee, Iowa’s three-time NCAA champion, comes into the season after two ACL surgeries last winter, and Goodwin notes that while Lee is anxious to return, he’ll likely wrestle a more abbreviated schedule this year. All-American Real Woods and NCAA qualifier Nelson Brands are also missing from Iowa’s expected starter list. Iowa will likely need Lee, and potentially Woods as well, if they want to hold off the Cyclones again, but regardless of the lineups that take the mat, this match will bring the heat.

Wisconsin, Nebraska fall after losses to Big 12 opponents

Iowa State’s wins over the weekend not only elevated the Cyclones, but they also sent Wisconsin, previously ranked No. 12, down to No. 13, a small drop for a team with five All-Americans in its lineup. The Badgers do not have a dual this coming week but will have a chance to rebound against No. 7 Cornell on Nov. 19 in a dual that will be headlined by a potential matchup between No. 4 Austin Gomez of Wisconsin and No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell at 149 pounds. Wisconsin will be looking for a win, but Cornell is a tough team to face in that situation.

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The Big Ten also saw another team fall slightly in the rankings following a weekend of non-conference action last weekend as Nebraska slipped from No. 8 to No. 17 following a 20-16 loss to then-unranked North Dakota State. The Bison cracked the top 25 following the win, moving all the way up to a well-deserved No. 19 ranking, and they’ll have the Bison Open this weekend where they’ll look to continue this momentum. Nebraska, on the other hand, will try to get back on track against Army next Saturday at noon. The Huskers will also have an even bigger opportunity later that afternoon too when they face No. 8 NC State, a team that jumped one spot in the poll following a win over in-state foe Appalachian State. These early cross-conference bouts create so much energy in the wrestling community and offer fun storylines for fans. With NC State looking strong against the Mountaineers, and the Huskers craving a win after a rocky start, this is a dual you won’t want to miss.
Another Big Ten team, Ohio State, will also have a major dual this weekend as they take on No. 10 Virginia Tech, two teams that each bumped up one spot on the latest poll following strong performances at the Michigan State Open and Southeast Open, respectively. With the Buckeyes now in the No. 4 spot, the Big Ten officially has three of the top four teams in the rankings including No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa. The Missouri breaks up the Big Ten sweep, holding down the No. 3 spot after a dominant 55-0 performance against Lindenwod over the weekend.

Arizona State, a trophy-contending team, dropped out of the top 5 and down to No. 6 after the announcement of Jacori Teemer's injury, a devastating lineup blow to a stacked, deep program. The Sun Devils will have a fun bout against No. 21 Rutgers, a team that jumped one spot in the rankings, on Saturday, and they can certainly still be a top-10 team without their All-American middleweight, but his absence will be felt.

Lehigh, Oregon State see shift in rankings following exciting dual

Though many of the nation's top teams have yet to compete in dual action, two ranked programs, Lehigh and Oregon State, battled last weekend in a contest that resulted in a tight Mountain Hawks victory, and the matchup offered some early looks at All-American caliber wrestlers within both programs. The Lehigh 20-13 win ultimately helped the Mountain Hawks make a jump from No. 17 to No. 14, while Oregon State dropped from No. 19 to No. 24. The Beavers now sit just above Cal Poly, a team that held down its No. 25 spot in the rankings, while Stanford slipped out of the poll. Don't count out Oregon State, though. Lehigh's a tough program with ranked wrestlers at all 10 weights, and that depth creates challenges for opponents. The Beavers will have two duals against non-DI opponents before heading into the Roadrunner Open and then the Cliff Keen Invite, so look for this team to continue finding its footing and make some noise in December.

The Mountain Hawks, who have certainly impressed early, will have another challenge next in No. 11 Oklahoma State, so get excited for more Lehigh action. If the first week of college wrestling has revealed anything, it's that these rankings are always subject to change following standout performances, and more notable matches are up ahead this weekend.

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