Peter Yazvac, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
KEARNEY – The Nebraska Kearney wrestling team is fourth in the Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) preseason Top 25 poll.
This poll (PDF) is a tournament power index (TPI) ranking as teams receive points for individuals ranked. UNK has four ranked among the 10 weight classes, good for 68 points and the fourth spot. The next rankings will come out the week of November 25.
Pittsburgh-Johnstown is number one with 88 points. The Mountain Cats were sixth at last year’s NCAA Championships and an already talented roster was buoyed by transfers from Wheeling (W.V.) Jesuit which dropped its program. The WJU Cardinals were national runners up last winter.
St. Cloud State, having won four of the last five national titles, is number two (82) with McKendree University from Illinois third (71). Notre Dame from Ohio (58) rounds out the top five.
Individually, four returning Loper All-Americans are ranked in senior Jarrod Hinrichs (2nd/285 lbs.) and juniors Wesley Dawkins (2nd/133 lbs.), Matt Malcom (1st/165 lbs.), and Josh Portillo (2nd/125 lbs.). Malcom (Glenwood, Ia.) is defending national champion at 157 pounds but will bump up a class this year with others all be defending national runners up in their respective weight class.
UNK has finished in the top eight at the NCAA Championships in each of the past 18 seasons with its last national title coming in 2013.
The Lopers start the regular season this Saturday, November 2, at the University of Wyoming’s annual Cowboy Open. UNK then faces Hastings and Nebraska in duals next Thursday, November 6, in Lincoln.