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It’s Begin­ning to Look a Lot Like Rank­ings! NCWA Wom­en’s Rankings are Here…

| Bryan Knepper

The first Women’s Rankings of the season are here and the top-3 teams from last season are right back on top, but in a new order. Ottawa University – Arizona leads the division with 61 team points with Grays Harbor College right behind at 60 points. In a distant third in the rankings is Big Bend CC with 29 points after winning the team championship in 2022. Rounding out the top-10 are M.I.T. with their 3 outstanding wrestlers (21 points), Washington State (14), Western Washington (11), Michigan (10), and Colorado State, Fordham, Liberty, and Washington (8 points each).

Eight of the eleven women’s weight classes have returning National Champions with Hermelinda Mendoza (Jr, Ottawa-Arizona, 101), Brenna Andres (Sr, Winona State, 116), Lauren Stone (Jr, Florida, 123), Grace Miller (Jr, Grays Harbor, 136), Joceyln Fierro (So, Grays Harbor, 143), Maggie Palmore (Jr, Tampa, 155), Sara Sams (Jr, M.I.T., 191), and Katie Moore (Jr, Stony Brook, 235). Grace Miller of Grays Harbor has a chance to be a 3x National Champion when the NCWA heads to Puerto Rico in March of 2023. The other #1 ranked wrestlers are Sara Gaytan (So, Ottawa-Arizona, 109), Anna Rodriguez (So, Big Bend, 130) and Maile Ka-ahanui (Jr, Liberty, 170). In all, there are 27 returning All-Americans out of the 44 last season.

For a full accounting of the women’s rankings, please click on READ MORE!

Lib­er­ty wrestlers ral­ly past rival Chris­t­ian teams at first dual tournament

| Ted Allen

Grand Rapids, MI: In showdowns between a trio of Christian programs, Liberty University’s men’s wrestling team overcame 9- and 10-point deficits late in Friday’s opening match against host Cornerstone (Mich.) University and early in its clash with Wheaton (Ill.) College to emerge with 23-17 and 26-17 victories, respectively, in the first two rounds of pool play at the Blithe Memorial Duals in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Flames went on to dominate Siena Heights (Mich.) University, pulling away for a 34-10 triumph by winning the last six matches, including three by fall, to advance as the No. 1 seed out of Pool A. Liberty will face Albion (Mich.) College, the No. 2 seed out of Pool B, in Saturday’s championship quarterfinal match, with action expected to resume at 9 a.m. EST.

“So far, so good,” Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro said. “That was a grueling.

Eat, Sleep, School, Wrestling…Washington State is Thriv­ing on the Mats

| Gabrielle Bowman - Evergreen Reporter

WSU men’s wrestling is set to go to nationals in Puerto Rico.
The team will travel for the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Nationals in March 2023. It is one of the furthest trips the team has made. The team is thrilled for the opportunity to travel and to show their progress on a national stage.

David Darroch, sophomore management information systems major, is thrilled about the opportunity for the team. Darroch loves wrestling new people. He thinks one of the best ways to get to know someone is to scrap with them. He cannot wait to go out there and get that new feel.
“The travel opportunities wrestling has given me are huge and I would not give it up for the world,” Darroch said. READ MORE

How about some Rank­ings for Black Fri­day? First NCWA Men’s Rank­ings Show a 4‑Team Race for the Title

| Bryan Knepper

NOTE: Updated 11/28/22 at 1:15 AM due to Error at 133 lbs

The first Men’s Rankings for the NCWA are here and Liberty is once again top dog garnering 85 points (note that a perfect score would be 110). However, there are several teams chasing in a pack, ready to unseat Liberty from its 4-year title reign. Leading the chase is The Apprentice School, the team that finished runner-up in both the National Duals and the National Championships to Liberty last season, with 52 points.

Following close behind the Shipbuilders is the upstart Toledo Rockets fresh off a tie-breaking dual win over Apprentice with 51 team points. The only other team with over 40 points is Queens University of Charlotte, one of the many NCAA-transition teams within the NCWA this season, with 43 points. Rounding out the top-10 NCWA-D1 teams are Springfield Tech (30), Grays Harbor College (29), Grand Valley State (26), UNLV (16), Florida (13), and UCF (12). The NCWA-D2 team race is led by The Ohio State WC (26), Penn State WC (19), Texas A&M (14), Clemson (12) and Michigan WC (12).

There is a total of 66 Returning All-Americans in the field this season representing a total of 81 All-American seasons. The Flames of Liberty lead the way individually of course with six #1 ranked wrestlers including Dante Mininno (125, defending Champ), Ian McIlhenny (157, defending Champ), David Over (165, finished 2nd in 2022), Josiah Murphy (197, defending champ), Jeff Allen (235, defending Champ), and Frederick Weaver (285, defending Champ). The only other team with multiple #1 ranked wrestlers is Toledo with Kaden Blair (133, defeated the #2 ranked wrestler last weekend) and Zach Blevins (149, 3x NCWA finalist and 2018 Champion) leading the way for the Rockets. Rounding out the #1 ranked men are Jacob Grogan (Texas A&M, 141, 4th in 2022) who is the only NCWA-D2 wrestler in the top position, Luke Lardarello (Penn State – Mont Alto, 174, defending Champ), and Seth Konynenbelt (Grand Valley State, 184, 2nd in 2022).

Apprentice leads the field in #2 rankings with three guys poised to win a title: Bruno Alves (125), John Pierce (235), and Peter Cortapasso (285). Other #2 wrestlers include Michael Gonzalez (Springfield Tech, 133), Garett Good (Liberty, 141), Andrew Halko (Akron, 149), Hayden McCandless (Florida, 157), Nicholas Martino (Fresno State WC, 165), Grigol Khochiashvili (Temple, 174), Ben Liss (Rutgers WC, 184), and Matt Abraham (Toledo, 197).


The first NCWA Women's Rankings will be released next week!

Lib­er­ty Racks Up Four 3rd Place Show­ings at Lindenwood Open

| Bryan Knepper

Liberty University men’s wrestling seniors Jeff Allen and Rick Weaver, both defending NCWA Grand National champions, won consolation championships in separate heavyweight brackets of the Lindenwood Open, highlighting the Flames’ strong showing against a number of NCAA programs on Saturday in St. Louis.

Thanks­giv­ing Duals Set Ear­ly Stage for National Duals

| Bryan Knepper


The University of Toledo cut its NCAA-D1 wrestling program in 1994 due to Title IX. In 1997, current head coach Bryan Knepper re-started the program as a Freshman in the fledgling NCWA as one of its 20 original member institutions. Since 1997, there have been several programs that have proven dominant in the NCWA. Two of these programs are Grand Valley State University (GVSU, the Lakers) and The Apprentice School (APPR, the Shipbuilders). Grand Valley has perhaps been the most dominant program in the NCWA’s history and will be re-sponsoring an NCAA-D2 program in the fall of 2023. Since joining the NCWA in 2001, GVSU has accumulated 5 National Championships (2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2008) only matched by Liberty University last year. Grand Valley also boasts 3 National Dual Championships with 2 runner-up finishes. On top of that, GVSU leads the NCWA overall with 84 All-Americans including 50 National Finalists and 23 Individual National Champions. The Apprentice School is second when it comes to NCWA accolades as one of the other original 20 programs. Apprentice out of Newport News, VA boasts 1 National Championship title in 2009 with multiple runner-up showings including last season. The Shipbuilders have also finished runner-up in the National Duals 6 times including last season (Grand Valley finished 3rd). Since 1998, Apprentice has accumulated 68 All-Americans (2nd only to Grand Valley) including 33 National Finalists (3rd all-time) and 13 Individual National Champions (4th in history behind GVSU, Liberty and Central Florida). So it was with this knowledge that Toledo scheduled both GVSU and Apprentice to join the Rockets in its inaugural Thanksgiving Duals. As of 2022, Toledo had never beaten either program in a dual meet. In order to be considered one of the best, one needs to take on the best…and boy did the dual tournament deliver! The Toledo Rocket wrestling squad put out its first ever complete dual lineup and ended with a historic finish doing so at the previous home of two of its newest members at Liberty Center High School.

Grays Har­bor Dom­i­nates Big Bend in Men’s and Women’s Matchups

| Bryan Knepper

Aberdeen, WA - The Choker wrestling program hosted their first match of the season Saturday against Big Bend Community College. The Vikings came in shorthanded and the GHC squad did not give them any slack. The men's team dominated all the contested matches with pins and a technical fall. On the women's side, the Chokers did nearly as well by getting pins and tech falls and only dropping two of the contested matches.

"We were aggressive right off the whistle and never let up. It was consistent for both the men and the women," said Coach Kateri Rowell.

Kaden Blair Cham­pi­on at Ohio Inter­col­le­giate as Toledo Rolls On…

| Bryan Knepper

The University of Toledo Wrestling team had another outstanding performance this past weekend at the Ohio Intercollegiate Open (White Division) hosted by Case Western Reserve University with 3 placers out of 7 entrants in the event. Overall on the day, the Rockets went 4-2 against NCAA-D3 opponents, 7-6 against NCAA-D2, and an outstanding 3-1 against NCAA-D1! Anyone that doesn’t believe Toledo can compete with other divisions, simply isn’t paying attention at this point.

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