EDMOND, Okla. - On the strength of a perfect record at the Newberry Duals, as well as a third place finish at the Midwest Classic, the UNCP wrestling team jumped seven spots to No. 13 in the latest NCAA Division II Wrestling Rankings released on Tuesday afternoon by the organization.
In addition to the lofty team ranking – the highest of the season for the Braves (5-0) – Russell Weakley continued his national presence in the 125-pound weight division as the senior all-American continued his stranglehold on the No. 2 spot behind Minnesota State's Andy Forstner.
Nebraska-Omaha stayed No. 1 in the NCAA Division II wrestling rankings and will take the favorite's role into this weekend's NWCA Division II National Duals in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The two-time defending national champion Mavericks received seven of eight first-place votes in balloting of coaches from around the country to finish with 159 points. UNO has been No. 1 in every poll the past two-plus seasons.
St. Cloud State (Minn.) collected the other first-place vote and stayed second with 153 points. Augustana (S.D.) remained third with 140 points, followed by Western State (Colo.) and Newberry (S.C.).Rounding out the top 10 is Pittsburgh-Johnstown (Pa.), Minnesota State, Nebraska-Kearney, Central Oklahoma and Grand Canyon (Ariz.).
Sixteen teams will compete in the NWCA Division II National Duals, which open Saturday morning and run through Sunday afternoon at the UNI Dome on the Northern Iowa campus. Joining Nebraska-Omaha in the field will be No. 2 St. Cloud, No. 3 Augustana, No. 4 Western State, No. 5 Newberry, No. 7 Minnesota State, No. 9 Central Oklahoma, No. 10 Grand Canyon, No. 11 Upper Iowa, No. 12 Wisconsin-Parkside, No. 13 UNC Pembroke, No. 14 Findlay and No. 20 San Francisco State along with Central Missouri, Limestone (S.C.) and Minnesota State-Moorhead.