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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.

Builder Wrestling Places Four on Podi­um at Cougar Open

| William Harcum

DANVILLE, Va. - The Apprentice School wrestling squad sent an abbreviated lineup to Averett University over the weekend for their first competition of the 2022-23 season. Four Builders placed in a field of 300+ wrestlers at the Cougar Open.

Senior heavyweight Peter Cortapasso led the way for the team, as the lone finalist. The Virginia Beach native advanced to the championship bout with three consecutive wins before falling to Rayshawn Dixon of Ferrum via ultimate tiebreaker. Passo recorded a first period pin, a 2-1 overtime decision, and an ultimate tiebreaker win in the semifinals.

All-Americans Zach Ortega and David McElravy also had an outstanding day, both finishing in third place.

Chok­er Wrestlers Com­pete at Mountaineer Open

| Bryan Knepper

Lagrande, OR - The Choker wrestling team competed at the Mountaineer Open last weekend which was hosted by Eastern Oregon University. The field was tough with the likes of EOU, Corban, Warner Pacific and Oregon State University. There were also a number of small schools in attendance. The Chokers faired well and came home with 7 placers.

Coach Josh Pine pointed out that there were more placers this year compared to last year. "It's nice to see the growth from year to year, but the most important thing is that we make adjustments and improve from week to week. We are focused on our National tournament at the end of the season and we look at each event as an opportunity to get better," said Pine.

Elijah Gandert and Trevor Latta were the teams top performers with 4th place finishes. "Both wrestlers dropped their opening round matches and then battled through the back door to place and that is not easy. That just shows you they have heart...that's not really something you can teach," said assistant coach Chris Boeger.

The teams next event will be at Grays Harbor College this Saturday at 1pm vs Big Bend Community College. The next day the team will compete at the Mike Clock Open at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR.

Tole­do Con­tin­ues Ear­ly Pace with 5 Plac­ers at Adrian Invite

| Bryan Knepper

Coming off a successful first weekend at the Fall Brawl hosted by Mott Community College, the Toledo Rockets traveled 45 minutes north to take on the Adrian Invite. Five wrestlers competed in the Varsity Division (141–Kaden Blair, 149–Bryce Gilts,157–Ezekiel Burkholder, 197–Matt Abraham, and 285–JT Meek) and three competed in the Freshmen/Sophomore Division (157–Neiko Foster, 197–Owen Johnson, and 197–Andrew Foster).The Varsity Division had team scoring, while the F/S Division did not. Overall, the Rockets placed 9th out of 15 teams with Wabash University taking home the team title.

MIT Women’s Wrestling Dom­i­nates Prince­ton Open ; Sarah Sams Crowned Champion!

| Donald McNeil

Princeton University hosted an NCAA division one open tournament. This year, they added an open women’s division at the tournament. There were thirty women’s teams in attendance (varsity and club). This was the first time EVER that an NCAA division one open tournament hosted an open tournament with a women’s division.

MIT had four women represent the club at the Princeton University Open and all four women placed. There were thirty teams in attendance (varsity and club level) and each woman from MIT won two or more matches.

Grays Har­bor Wins 3 of 5 Duals at Nor-Cal Duals

| Bryan Knepper

Redding, CA - The GHC Wrestling team opened its season over the weekend at the Simpson University Duals in Redding, CA. The team came home with a 3-2 record. Coach Josh Pine shared, "The guys were tested by some very good California teams. We have lots of room for improvement which is expected and we can't wait to get back in the room to make adjustments and get ready for next week."

Four of the schools that the Chokers wrestled are part of the California Community College Conference which is nearing the end of their season. They have been competing all Fall quarter and are heading into their post season next month for California State Championships. Simpson University is part of the NAIA Cascade Conference.

Tole­do places 7 in Fall Brawl at Mott

| Bryan Knepper

The University of Toledo wrestling team opened the 2022-2023 season at the Fall Brawl on the campus of Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan on October 30th. The tournament was a non-scoring event featuring several NCWA and NJCAA programs across Michigan and Ohio. The Rockets featured eleven grapplers of which six were making their collegiate debut.

NCWA Nation­als Host City Announced


The NCWA Board has approved the recommendation of the National Tournament Search Committee to accept a contract offered by the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico to host the 2023 National Collegiate Wrestling Championships at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

The decision was made after an exhaustive search starting in May when the...

UNLV Return­ing to Col­le­giate Action after Strong Off-Season

| Dan Gianoutsos

It was not a quiet off-season for the UNLV Wrestling team. The team had plenty of reasons to celebrate: placing top-8 at the NCWA National Wrestling Championships (Allen, TX), earning three All-American titles, and completing a “three-peat” of NCWA West Coast Conference Championships. While many team members went on to wrestle individually in off-season freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions, two Rebels pursued unique styles of grappling – mixed martial arts (MMA) and sumo.

USC, UCLA and Big Ten Wrestling

| J.R. Ogden

USC wrestling is “back,” according to its website and apparently “we’re bigger and better than ever.” That’s more than can be said about UCLA wrestling. The Bruins, in their latest web post, had an “amazing” season. But that was last updated in 2016. USC, it seems, has some interest in the sport.

“... We've made huge strides on our journey toward becoming an NCAA team,” the club’s website notes.

It lists accomplishments like growing from “a handful of wrestlers to more than 30 active members of the co-ed team” ... qualifying 10 wrestlers for the NCWA championship and had a three-time NCWA All-American and “purchased new mats for the team.“ Having mats is a good first step. FULL STORY

NCWA and Defense Soap Partnership Offers Discounts

| Jim Giunta

With the season is right around the corner we wanted to announce that during this years Vision Forum Convention the NCWA agreed to partner with Defense Soap. They offer a great line of hygiene and personal care products to protect our wrestlers and coaches from the skin infections associated with our sport. Proper hygiene is a MUST to protect our wrestlers at all times. I encourage you to make the "Defense Soap" product line a critical part of your program's daily regimen keeping everyone safe that steps on your mats

As a part of our partnership with them, the NCWA is able to offer wholesale pricing to all NCWA coaches and teams. This is a huge discount of over 40% on almost all of their products. This is a one time setup that will give you access to their wholesale shopping cart for life. The application just takes a few minutes and, again, this only needs to be done once. If you do not have your school's tax ID, you can use your own social security number. Their site is secure and your information will be protected and anonymous. There is a $90 minimum required on orders but the discounts and savings are significant. If you have any questions or problems setting up your account, you can email [email protected] and he will assist you. To open your wholesale account Click Here

Chok­ers Hon­or Their 2021 – 22 Award Winners

| Scott Farrell

Grays Harbor recognized the 2021-22 season's individual and team achievements at its recent banquet. The women's program placed third at the Junior College Freestyle Championships as well as third at the NCWA Championships with 12 All-Americans. The men's team won a sixth-consecutive Northwest Conference championship and later took third at the NCWA Championships while setting a school record with eight NCWA All-Americans.

Grays Har­bor Pair Place at Womens UWW Championships

| Scott Farrell

The Grays Harbor College women's wrestling team placed two of its wrestlers at the United World Wrestling Women's National Championships back on May 7-8 in Fort Worth, Texas. Marissa Riojas and Julian Yates both placed at the tournament that would send its champion at each weight class to represent the United States at the U23 World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria this summer.

Wrestling coach teach­ing pas­sion while train­ing for world championship

| Derek Kopp - NBC NEWS

Wrestling has meant everything to Fort Myers native and national champion Jabari Irons, and now he’s teaching that passion to area youth while pursuing a world championship of his own.

For Irons when life seemed to be pinning him down on the mat, wrestling was his outlet to turn things around.

“Wrestling has done everything for me,” National Champion wrestler and wrestling coach Jabari Irons said.


NCWA Sum­mer Vision Forum Deadline Approaching


Join us this summer as we pave the way for wrestling expansion in the NCWA. We will again be co-hosting with the NWCA ( Coaches Association) at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort And Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. SPECIAL DISCOUNTED PRICING ENDS JULY 8th

Don't miss the opportunity to learn from some of the best wrestling minds in the nation on building, funding and recruiting to a your program. be part of the decision making within the NCWA and bring the family to enjoy the beautiful Florida resort, spa and beaches. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER