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Lights climb to No. 2 in new Coaches Poll

The Montana State University-Northern wrestling team is fresh off one of its best regular season tournament performances in quite some time. And, the Lights were rewarded for it in the national rankings.

In Wednesday's new NAIA Coaches Poll, the Lights moved up from No. 4 to No. 2, coming in only behind four-time defending national champion Grand View. It's the Lights’ highest ranking in years, and it certainly shows that Northern is once again a major contender on the NAIA national wrestling scene.

Individually, MSU-N has eight wrestlers ranked in the national rating, highlighted by the debut of sensational freshman 125-pounder Quintel Fuchs. Coming off a second-place showing at last weekend's Missouri Valley Invitational, Fuchs jumped all the way into the ratings at No. 5.

Northern junior Garrett DeMers remains the top-ranked 197-pounder in the NAIA, while senior Toby Cheff is still ranked No. 2 at heavyweight. Fellow heavyweight Taylor Kornoely also moved up one spot to No. 3 in the poll after he won an individual title last weekend in Missouri.

Along with senior Willie Miller, who is ranked No. 7 at 174 pounds, the Lights have three more freshmen ranked. Matt Weber is No. 5 at 141 pounds, while Drake Randall is 11th at 149 pounds and Brandon Weber is No. 16 at the same weight.

The Lights will get right back on the mat this weekend, starting with a big NAIA dual against 16th-ranked Dickinson State Friday in Dickinson, North Dakota. MSU-N will also stay in Dickinson to take part in the annual Tyler Plummer Classic Saturday.

The action in Dickinson marks the end of the road trips for Northern's regular season. The Lights have three home duals in February before heading down to the West Regional Qualifier, which is Feb. 20 in Prescott, Arizona.

NAIA Coaches Poll

Rn. Prv. Pts.

1 1 Grand View (Iowa) 180.5

2 4 Montana State-Northern 90.5

3 7 Oklahoma City 82

4 2 Indiana Tech 80.5

5 3 Missouri Valley 76.5

6 5 Campbellsville (Ky.) 72

7 6 Life (Ga.) 61

8 8 Concordia (Neb.) 52.5

9 14 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 49

10 12 Menlo (Calif.) 42

11 19 Williams Baptist (Ark.) 40.5

12 9 York (Neb.) 36.5

13 16 Midland (Neb.) 36

14 10 Great Falls (Mont.) 34

15 17 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 29

16 RV Dickinson State (N.D.) 28.5

17 15 Southern Oregon 27

18 RV Baker (Kan.) 22

19 10 Simpson (Calif.) 20.5

T20 13 Doane (Neb.) 20

T20 20 Warner Pacific (Ore.) 20

Others receiving votes: Cumberlands (Ky.) 17; Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 16.5; Benedictine (Kan.) 16; Jamestown (N.D.) 13; Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 12; Northwestern (Iowa) 11; St. Catharine (Ky.) 10.5; Davenport (Mich.) 10; Briar Cliff (Iowa) 9; Cumberland (Tenn.) 8.5; Missouri Baptist 8; Morningside (Iowa) 7.5; Lyon (Ark.) 7.5; Southeastern (Fla.) 4; Ottawa (Kan.) 3; Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 2; Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 1.5; Bethany (Kan.) 1.5; Hastings (Neb.) 1.


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