UCO UCO Wrestling Head Coach, Todd Steidley. Photo by Austin Bernard
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Defending national champion Central Oklahoma back at #1 in the latest rankings

MANHEIM, Pa. (Dec. 22) – Defending national champion Central Oklahoma rose to No. 1 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division II rankings that were released Friday, sharing the top spot with West Liberty.

The Bronchos and Hilltoppers finished with 69 points apiece in the poll, which uses a tournament points methodology to determine the top teams. Previous No. 1 Lander is third with 59 points, followed by Wisconsin-Parkside (51) and Lake Erie (50).

St. Cloud State, Nebraska-Kearney, Indianapolis, North Carolina-Pembroke and McKendree rounded out the top 10.

“It’s nice to get the recognition for being No. 1, but it’s not going to win you any matches,” said head coach Todd Steidley, whose team was fourth in the previous poll. “It’s all determined on the mat and our guys like that.”

UCO has seven individuals ranked in the top 12 at their respective weight, topped by two-time national champion Dalton Abney as the top 197-pounder. Abney rolled to a first-period technical fall in his only appearance so far this season.

Dylan Lucas moved up to second at 141 after a runner-up finish in the rugged Midwest Classic last week and is now 15-2 with 10 bonus-point wins. Garrett Wells made the biggest splash, coming in third at 184 after an eye-opening performance in the Midwest Classic.

The redshirt freshman was unseeded in that two-day event, but went 5-0 with a trio of big upsets to take the title. Wells is now 17-4 with nine bonus wins.

Gabe Johnson is ranked fourth at 157, while Hvy Braden Morgan is eighth and 165 Hunter Jump and 174 Anthony DesVigne are both 12th.

Johnson dropped two spots after getting upset in the finals of the Midwest Classic and Morgan made his rankings debut after a strong sixth-place showing in that tournament. DesVigne is 8-1 with 8-1 with six bonus wins at 184 this season and sat out last week’s event as he makes the move down a weight.

Defending heavyweight national champion Shawn Streck missed the first half of the season because of semester limitations, but is set to return for the NWCA Division II National Duals Jan. 5-6 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“We did some good things the first semester and were able to get a lot of mat time for our younger guys,” Steidley said. “It’s great to have a few days off for Christmas so we can get recharged and ready for the rest of the season.

“There’s still a long way to go. We have to keep working hard and keep getting better.”

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