The University of Northern Iowa closed the gap on defending conference champion Missouri in the January MAC polls, pulling to within three points of the Tigers. UNI put three men atop their respective weights; Dylan Peters at 125 and Taylor Lujan at 174 were there in December, but 133 pounder Josh Alber is number one for the first time this year.

Alber made number one after a strong showing at the Southern Scuffle. He took third at the tournament, defeating the #3 seeded Kevin Devoy (Drexel), twice in two days, the second time to earn his medal. Bryce Steiert, Max Thomsen, and Lujan all joined Alber on the stand with third place finishes.

Sam Janicki – SJanicki Photo

Speaking of Thomsen, the 149 pounder probably should be ranked 3rd in the poll, as he defeated the current third-ranked man in Steve Bleise, from Northern Illinois this past Sunday. This poll was released Sunday morning, before the UNI/NIU dual. Thomsen will also have the chance at the number two-ranked man, Justin Oliver, this Sunday at Central Michigan.

141 pounder Jake Hodges also moved up one spot, tying for 3rd with EMU’s Kyle Springer. Steiert and Foster did not change places in the poll from last month, both staying at second. Heavyweight JJ Everard fell out of the poll.

The team race has gotten a lot tighter. The Missouri Tigers have 23.5 total points, and UNI has 20.5. While the Tigers have five men ranked number one, they and the Panthers both have seven men total in the poll. Central Michigan also has seven men ranked, but only one ranked number one. They have 16 points in the poll.

The complete Mid-American Conference Coach’s Poll can be found below

2017 MAC January Weight Class Rankings:

125 – 1. Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa, Senior); 2. Barlow McGhee (Missouri, Junior); 3. Shakur Laney (Ohio, Sophomore); 4. Brent Fleetwood (Central Michigan, Junior).

133 – 1. Josh Alber (Northern Iowa, Sophomore); 2. Cameron Kelly (Ohio, Sophomore); 3. Bryan Lantry (Buffalo, Sophomore); 4. Corey Keener (Central Michigan, Senior).

141 – 1. Jaydin Eierman (Missouri, R-Freshman); 2. Noah Forrider (Ohio, Junior); t-3. Kyle Springer (Eastern Michigan, Junior); t-3. Jake Hodges (Northern Iowa, Junior).

149 – 1. Lavion Mayes (Missouri, Senior); 2. Justin Oliver (Central Michigan, Sophomore); 3. Steve Bleise (Northern Illinois, Sophomore); 4. Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa, R-Freshman).

157 – 1. Joey Lavalle (Missouri, Junior); 2. Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan, Junior); 3. Caden McWhirter (Northern Illinois, R-Freshman); 4. Casey Sparkman (Kent State, Sophomore).

165 – 1. Daniel Lewis (Missouri, Sophomore); 2. Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa, Sophomore); 3. Austin Reese (Ohio, Sophomore); 4. Seldon Wright (Old Dominion, Sophomore).

174 – 1. Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa, R-Freshman); 2. C.J. Brucki (Central Michigan, Junior); 3. Trace Engelkes (Northern Illinois, Senior); 4. Jairod James (Kent State, Sophomore).

184 – 1. Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan, Junior); 2. Drew Foster (Northern Iowa, Sophomore); 3. Jack Dechow (Old Dominion, Senior); t-4. Matt Lemanowicz (Missouri, Senior); t-4. Bryce Gorman (Northern Illinois, Sophomore).

197 – 1. J’den Cox (Missouri, Senior); 2. Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion, Junior); 3. Shawn Scott (Northern Illinois, Senior); 4. Bailey Faust (Ohio, R-Freshman).

HWT – 1. Jake Gunning (Buffalo, Sophomore); 2. Gage Hutchison (Eastern Michigan, Junior); 3. Zack Parker (Ohio, Sophomore); 4. Newton Smerchek (Central Michigan, Junior).

2017 MAC January Wrestling Rankings
1. Missouri (23.5)
2. Northern Iowa (20.5)
3. Central Michigan (16.0)
4. Ohio (13.0)
5. Northern Illinois (8.5)
t-6. Old Dominion (6.0)
t-6. Buffalo (6.0)
8. Eastern Michigan (4.5)
9. Kent State (2.0)

4 thoughts on “January MAC Rankings”
  1. I may have missed it, but the article doesn’t mention when these rankings were complied. With that said, and assuming that they have been compiled since this past Sunday, I’d like to know their “logic” behind placing Thomsen behind Bleise, when (1) Thomsen beat him head to head on Sunday, and (2) Thomsen is ahead of him in every national ranking service that I’ve seen.

    1. The rankings came out Sunday before the NIU/UNI dual. I imagine the coaches were polled sometime last week. There are some anomalies in the MAC rankings compared to national polls fairly regularly; the coaches like to see head-to-head results before putting one guy over another sometimes. Obviously this isn’t the hard and fast rule, just look at Lujan this year. I’d have to dig back through some old polls to find examples though.

      1. I know what you’re saying. I’ve noticed it throughout the past few years where I knew that one of the UNI wrestlers would emerge at or near the op of his weight class by the end of the year but begin the season ranked off of the charts (to the negative, that is).

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