January 22, 2003

Wrestlers Fall to No. 8 in Rankings

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Cornell and Michigan took the hardest falls this week in the latest InterMat NCAA Division I wrestling rankings, released yesterday. Both schools dropped four places, the Red to eighth and the Wolverines to 12th.

The top three teams — Oklahoma State, Iowa, and Minnesota — all held their spots, and No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Illinois each moved up one place. Oklahoma leapt six spots from 12th to crack the top 10.

Boise State showed the largest jump in the rankings, moving from 22nd to 14th. Penn was the only new face in the top 25, making an appearance at No. 23. Cleveland State, which was previously ranked 23rd, fell out of the rankings.

Oklahoma State justified its top ranking, finishing first in the NWCA National Duals this weekend. Iowa took third at the meet, and Minnesota finished fifth.

Cornell dropped three matches at the Duals en route to a sixth-place finish. The Red lost in the opening round to No. 16 Michigan State before dispatching Ohio, No. 11 Iowa State, and Michigan in the consolation bracket. But Cornell lost to Ohio State and then Minnesota in the fifth-place match to close out its tournament action.

Oklahoma’s run to second place at the meet, including wins over No. 7 West Virginia, Iowa State, and Iowa, keyed its rise to sixth in the rankings.

Despite the Red’s drop in the team rankings, it remained a presence in the individual rankings, where both senior Clint Wattenberg and sophomore Travis Lee held onto their No. 2 rankings at 184 and 125 pounds, respectively. Wattenberg was particularly impressive at the Duals, earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors for Division I. The tri-captain won all six of his matches, including three major decisions.

Iowa’s Jessman Smith remained first at 184 pounds, while Purdue’s Chris Fleeger held on to the top spot in the 125-pound division.

At 149 pounds, freshman Dustin Manotti fell one spot to sixth in his weight class. Sophomore Matt Greenberg climbed two places to No. 11 at 197 pounds, and senior Buck McLamb cracked the top 20 in the heavyweight division.

Other No. 1 individual wrestlers were Minnesota’s Ryan Lewis (133), Central Michigan’s Jason Mester (141), Arizona State’s Eric Larkin (149), Minnesota’s Luke Becker (157), Illinois’ Matt Lackey (165), West Virginia’s Greg Jones (174), Oklahoma State’s Muhammed Lawal (197), and Iowa’s Steve Mocco (hwt.).

Cornell has dual meets scheduled with three ranked schools later this season. On Sunday, the Red will open its new Friedman Wrestling Center when it hosts Ohio State. Penn will also visit the Friedman Center on Jan. 31, and Cornell will visit No. 9 Lehigh on Feb. 8.

Archived article by Sun Staff