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Napier WBU’s first top-ranked wrestler

The Wayland Baptist men’s wrestling team jumped from 14th to a tie for ninth in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches Top 20 Poll, while Pioneer Mich Napier earned the program’s first-ever No. 1 ranking in a weight class at 184 pounds.

“We’re excited to be recognized in the national rankings from the other coaches,” WBU coach Aaron Meister said. “It’s a tribute to this team’s relentless effort and sacrifices they make to put themselves in this position. We’ve had several competitions that we faced ranked opponents and defeated them.”

Napier, a senior from Rio Rancho, N.M., has a 5-2 record so far this year after finishing fourth at last year’s national championships. He was ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll.

“We’re excited about that,” Meister said. “Mich has worked very hard to get this ranking, but we also know it’s only a ranking. He has to go out there and continue to do what he’s done. God willing, he will finish the year on top of the podium.”

Two-time all-American and NAIA national finalist Jose Alvarez (141 pounds) also moved closer to the top, from third to second.

“Chino has a goal and a dream to be a national champion,” Meister said. “He’s been there in the hunt and has the ability to finish in the top of the polls as well.”

Other Pioneer wrestlers ranked are Demarco Speller, 11th at 133 pounds; Abraham Rodriguez, 15th at 141; Andrew Overstreet, 16th at 149; and Riley Williams, 10th at 197.

The Pioneers next will travel to Arlington for the American Wrestler Southwest Open on Nov. 19.

2016-17 NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll – No. 1 (Nov. 16, 2016)

RankPrevious RankSchoolTotal Team Points
11Grand View (Iowa)165.5
22Indiana Tech98
3T5Williams Baptist (Ark.)75.5
43Oklahoma City65.5
512Menlo (Calif.)64.5
67Southern Oregon64
74Montana State-Northern61.5
89Life (Ga.)49.5
T98Concordia (Neb.)48
T914Wayland Baptist (Texas)48
1110Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)42.5
1215Baker (Kan.)41
1313Missouri Valley40
1419York (Neb.)33
T15RVWarner Pacific (Ore.)32
T15RVCumberlands (Ky.)32
1717Cumberland (Tenn.)30.5
1816Campbellsville (Ky.)29.5
19RVMorningside (Iowa)27
2020Simpson (Calif.)23

Dropped from the Top 20: Dickinson State (N.D.) (No. 5); Midland (Neb.) (No. 11); Briar Cliff (Iowa) (No. 18)
Others receiving votes: Lyon (Ark.) 22.5; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 21.5; Northwestern (Iowa) 21.5; Midland (Neb.) 20; Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 18; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 14.5; Southeastern (Fla.) 13.5; Great Falls (Mont.) 13.5; Doane (Neb.) 10.5; Hastings (Neb.) 9; Benedictine (Kan.) 6; Eastern Oregon 4.5; Bethany (Kan.) 3; Marian (Ind.) 2.5; Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 2.5; Truett-McConnell (Ga.) 2.5; William Penn (Iowa) 2; Bacone (Okla.) 1; Graceland (Iowa) 1.

Top Ranked Individuals | Individual Rankings
125 – Mitch Pawlak, Indiana Tech
133 – Hunter Genco, Grand View (Iowa)
141 – Matt Weber, Montana State-Northern
149 – Victor Hughes, Baker (Kan.)
157 – Cam Tessari, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
165 – Blake Cooper, Warner Pacific (Ore.)
174 – Lawton Benna, Grand View (Iowa)
184 – Mich Napier, Wayland Baptist (Texas)
197 – Dalton Bailey, Life (Ga.)
285 – Dean Broghammer, Grand View (Iowa)