MANHEIM, Pa. – The National Wrestling Coaches Association released its Division II Preseason Coaches Poll for the upcoming 2022-23 season. West Liberty was ranked sixth in the team field and had six individuals in the top-12 of their weight class, a tie for the most of any school.

“Preseason rankings means one thing, the season is now upon us,” said Coach Irwin. “The rankings show, from an outsider’s perspective, that we potentially have ground to make up, like past years, if we are going to be a contending team. Ultimately our family believes we are right there with the other top teams, it will just be a matter of will we decide to kick the door down when we get opportunities to accomplish things we haven’t yet achieved.”

The Hilltoppers collected 50 total points from the association, three ahead of 7th place, Lander, and eight behind the top five. Nebraska-Kearney earned the top spot with 75 points after claiming the NCAA team title in 2020-21.

Two-time defending national champion Cole Laya was atop of the 125 weight class to lead the six ranked Hilltoppers. Ty McGeary was placed fourth in the 184 division, Francesco Borsellino was tabbed 6th at 285, and Vincent Scollo earned 7th at 133 in the preseason ranks. Jordan Watters and Jamar Williams rounded out the Black and Gold with 12th place ranks at 149 and 157, respectively.

West Liberty begins their campaign on November 3 at Pitt-Johnstown, who tied for 11th in the NWCA rankings. The home opener is slated for the following Thursday inside the ASRC against another nationally-ranked opponent, Lake Erie College.