KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The MSU-Northern wrestling program will enter the 2020-21 season ranked No. 12 in the country, after the preseason coaches' poll was released this week. Lights wrestlers Nick Kunz (125 pounds) and Isaac Bartel (197) are the top-ranked wrestlers in their respective weight classes.
The first poll of the season landed perennial powerhouse Grand View (Iowa) in the No. 1 slot, with Life University and Reinhardt University, each of Georgia, Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
The Lights collected 66 points to fall in the No. 12 spot, one ahead of fellow Cascade Collegiate Conference member Embry-Riddle. Eastern Oregon, which is coached by former Poplar and MSUN wrestler Dustyn Azure, is No. 17 in the poll. Azure, a two-time all-American wrestler for the Lights, previously coached at Ronan High School before joining the MSUN staff. He's in his fifth season at Eastern Oregon, where former Bozeman High standout Keegan Mulhill is on the Mountaineers' roster.
Kunz, who won the NAIA national championship at 125 pounds last season, and Bartel, who finished runner-up a year ago, lead a bevy of Montana connections in the individual rankings. MSUN teammates Martin Wilkie and Clayton Currier, former four-time Montana high school state champions, are ranked 16th and 18th, respectively, in the 141-pound weight class.
Mulhill is No. 9 at 174 pounds, one spot ahead of MSUN's Chase Short. Steeler French sits at No. 14 in the 184-pound class for the Lights.
The preseason top 25 coaches' poll can be found below. For individual rankings, please click here.
2020-21 NAIA wrestling coaches' poll
|1||Grand View (Iowa)||200|
|2||Life University (Ga.)||153|
|3||Reinhardt University (Ga.)||149|
|4||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||145|
|9||Marian University (Ind.)||71|
|16||University of Saint Mary (Kan.)||49|
|17||Eastern Oregon University (Ore.)||47|
Recieving Votes: Ottawa (Kan.) 40, Vangaurd (Calif.) 36, Baker (Kan.) 31, Williams Baptist 29, Bluefield 28, Texas Wesleyan 27, Concordia (Neb.) 25, Southern Oregon 22, Dickinson State (N.D.) 20, William Penn (Iowa) 19, Midway (Ky.) 17, Thomas More 17, Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 16, Briar Cliff (Iowa) 16, Hastings (Neb.) 14, Rochester 12, Simpson (Calif.) 12, Missouri Baptist 11, Northwestern (Iowa) 11, Arizona Christian 10, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 10, Bethany (Kan.) 8, Lincoln (Ill.) 8, Morningside (Iowa) 8, Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) 4, Truett-McConnell (Ga.) 3, WVU Tech (W.Va.) 3, Wayland Baptist (Texas) 2