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Bronchos coming in at No. 4 in preseason NCAA Division II top-25 poll released by the National Wrestling Coaches Association

MANHEIM, Pa. – Defending national champion Dalton Abney headlines six Central Oklahoma individuals ranked in the top 12 at their respective weight, with the Bronchos coming in at No. 4 in preseason NCAA Division II top-25 poll released by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Nebraska-Kearney tops the rankings with 75 points, followed by St. Cloud State (68), Indianapolis (66), UCO (61) and Augustana (58). The poll rewards points for individual rankings and doesn’t reflect dual strength.

Abney starts the season where he ended last year – No. 1 at 197 pounds. The three-time All-American and junior standout went a perfect 26-0 with 14 bonus-point wins last season and allowed just 13 points.

Central’s other three returning All-Americans are all ranked in the top five, with Brik Filippo (149) and Shawn Streck (Hvy) at No. 3 and Alex Kauffman (184) at No 5. Gabe Johnson (157) came in 10th, while Nate Keim (141) is 11th.

“We’re excited about the season and what this team can do,” said head coach Todd Steidley, whose team opens the season Nov. 4 at home against No. 17 Northern State. “We’ve got a veteran team with a bunch of older guys and they’re all working hard. It’s a long season and we obviously have to stay away from injuries, but I’m confident we’ll be in the mix for the national championship next March.”

Filippo went 28-4 last season, earning All-American honors with a fifth-place finish at nationals. He has a 71-21 career record with 29 bonus-point victories.
Streck came in as a mid-year transfer last season after having not competed in several years and finished sixth at the national tournament after having to default his final two matches following an injury. The former Division I national qualifier was 12-2 last season.
Kauffman competed at 174, 184, and 197 last year, spending most of the season at 184 while eventual national champion Heath Gray was injured. He dropped to 174 for nationals and pulled off a pair of early upsets in finishing sixth and ended with a 29-8 record.
Johnson was a national qualifier at 149 pounds as a true freshman two years ago. He redshirted last season and posted a 21-3 record at 157 with 14 bonus wins.
Keim was also national qualifier his redshirt freshman season in 2018-19 and has narrowly missed in each of the last three seasons. He went 23-6 last season.

The Bronchos have seven starters back from last year’s team that finished 13-0 in duals, winning the NWCA Division II National Duals title and the Super Regional IV crown before coming in second to UNK in the national tournament. It was UCO’s best national finish since winning the last of its 15 national championships in 2007.

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