Wrestling Ranked No. 1 in Coaches Association Poll
For the first time in school history, the Maryville University wrestling team is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division II National Wrestling Coaches Association poll. The Saints, who took third place at the 2014 national tournament, will be the host school for the 2015 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championship held at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
“It is great publicity for us, and we truly appreciate it, but we won’t put a lot of meaning behind it,” Saints head coach Mike Denney said. “The early rankings are a gauge of what teams have coming back. It is nice that the coaches recognize we are returning a talented group of wrestlers but our guys would rather be ranked No. 1 at the end of the season.”
The Saints begin their season at the University of Central Missouri Open Nov. 16. Maryville’s first home event is the Kaufman-Brand Open Dec. 6. The Division II National Championship is slated for March 13-14 at Chaifetz Arena.
The Saints, who are in their fourth year as a program, received 151 poll points to top No. 2 Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) at 142 points. Nebraska-Kearney is third, defending national champion Notre Dame (Ohio) is fourth, and St. Cloud State (Minn.) slots into the fifth poll spot.
In the individual pre-season rankings, the Saints have six wrestlers in the top three of their respective weight classes. Zeb Wahle is the No. 2 ranked wrestler at 174 pounds, while Nick Burghardt is second at 184. Donnell Walker checks in at No. 2 in the heavyweight classification. Darick Lapaglia is third at 141 pounds, Keenan Hagerty is ranked No. 3 at 149, and Dimitri Willis is third at 165 pounds. All but Hagerty earned All-America honors last season. Hagerty, who redshirted last year, was an All-American in 2013.