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HAP­PY NEW YEAR! New Year…New Rankings!

| Bryan Knepper

The first official rankings of 2020 are out for the NCWA Men's Division. There were some major moves in the individual rankings but one thing stayed the same with the changing year...Liberty is still on top of the team rankings.

The #1 ranked wrestlers hail from just 7 different schools with Apprentice holding onto 2 #1 rankings and Liberty holding onto 4. The 125-lb weight class is led by 2018 National Champion Colton Messick (Sr, Apprentice). Another Builder tops the list at 133-lbs with returning National Champion Kolin Johnson (Jr, Apprentice). 141-lbs is topped by 2x All-American and 2019 Finalist Marcos Mercado (Sr, Springfield Tech). The battle for supremacy at 149-lbs is on again this season with the top-2 positions held by previous National Champions...the #1 spot is held by Ty'Rae Carter (Jr, Texas A&M, 2019 Champion) and the #2 spot is held by Zach Blevins (Jr, Toledo, 2018 Champion). Each has a win in the finals over the other. Andrew Burgette (Sr, Liberty) is the first Flame to hold the #1 spot in the rankings at 157-lbs. 165-lbs has returning Finalist Mason Brestle (Sr, Maryland WC) at the top. 174-lbs appears to be open for the moment with #1 held by returning Finalist Major Moore (Sr, Toledo); however 2 All-Americans from Liberty are right behind him looking to unseat (Joe Scott and Cody Richmond). For now, 184-lbs is led by last year's 174-lb Champion Sam Karel (Sr, Liberty), although that is subject to change based on potential movement later in the year. Karel is joined by Freshman teammate Ethan Martin at the top of the rankings. 197-lbs and 235-lbs are led by Liberty Flames as well with Austin Amos (Sr) and Jeff Allen (So) topping the list. 285-lbs could have been led by another Flame with #2 Frederick Weaver only topped by #1 ranked Mitchell Bischoff (So, Akron) who finished 3rd at heavyweight last season and is the highest returning placer.

The current team race in Division 1 appears to be Liberty's to lose with the Flames at #1 with 79 points. The next four are #2 Apprentice (57 pts), #3 Grand Valley State (42), #4 Mott CC (34), and #5 Toledo (33). The top-10 are rounded out by Springfield Tech, Akron, Grays Harbor, Central Florida, and Schreiner. The #1 D-2 program is East Carolina with 21 points followed by James Madison, UConn, Maryland WC, and West Chester.

A full list of rankings for individuals and teams can be found HERE.