KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Gresh Jones, a former four-time Montana high school state champion for the Sidney Eagles, is the top-ranked wrestler at 133 pounds in the NAIA preseason coaches' wrestling polls.
After transferring from the University of Minnesota, Jones has had back-to-back all-American finishes at Dickinson State. He finished fourth at the NAIA national championships as a sophomore and third last year as a junior. He'll help lead the Dickinson State team into the 2019-20 season with high expectations -- the Blue Hawks received votes in the team rankings, finishing just outside the top 20.
"We are excited about Gresh, this season and the other leaders and experienced guys," DSU head wrestling coach Justin Schlecht said in a media release. "But more importantly, I can see the focus and value all of the guys are taking to simply improve and get better every single day. We keep talking about self-discipline and focusing on improvement because March will come soon enough. Gresh has worked really hard and been dedicated to his goals so it will be exciting to push him and watch him develop this season."
Jones was previously a standout high school wrestler for the storied program at Sidney. He became the program's second four-time state champion, winning titles in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Jones isn't the only Montana native getting preseason recognition, though: Shonn Roberts, a Columbia Falls product now at the University of Providence, is tied for third at 149 pounds and Casey Dobson, a former Great Falls High standout also now wrestling at Providence, is second at 157 pounds. Montana State-Northern's Isaac Bartel, a 197-pound junior from Mason City, Iowa, is also ranked second in the preseason polls.
Both Providence and Northern are in the top 20 of the team rankings. The Argos are 16th, while the Lights are 17th. Both teams started their 2019-20 campaigns Saturday at the Cowboy Open in Laramie, Wyo.
2019-20 NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Preseason Top 20 Poll (October 31, 2019)
|Rank||Previous Rank||Team||Total Team Points|
|1||1||Grand View (Iowa)||169|
|2||5||Reinhardt University (GA)||141|
|3||RV||Marian University (IN)||130|
|4||2||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||107|
Others receiving votes: Briar Cliff (Iowa) 35, Cumberland (Tenn.) 34, Northwestern (Iowa) 33, Morningside (Iowa) 33, Dickinson State (N.D.) 32, Doane (Neb.) 28, Saint Mary (Kan.) 24, Ottawa (Kan.) 22, Life Pacific 21, Corban (Ore.) 19, Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) 18, Jamestown (N.D.) 16, Missouri Baptist (Mo.) 14, Eastern Oregon 13, Simpson (Calif.) 12, Rochester 11, Wayland Baptist (Texas) 11, York (Neb.) 9, Bethany (Kan.) 8, Hastings (Neb.) 3, Midway (Ky.) 3, William Penn (Iowa) 3, Dakota Wesleyan (1) and WVY Tech (W.Va.)