Ranking the top five NCAA Wrestling teams leading into the tail end of the 2022-2023 season, can anyone catch Penn State Wrestling?
Conference championships are almost here and that means the 2023 NCAA Championships are also right around the corner. It’s that time of the year for coaches to try to get the most they can out of their wrestlers, as peaking at the right time is just as important as the hard work each guy put in during the preseason and throughout the season.
With that said, let’s take a look at who I think are the top five wrestling programs in the country. On a side note, the last time I slapped one of these together was eight months ago when I forecast the 2022-2023 preseason rankings.
How did I do?
All rankings are as of the current InterMat rankings.
Intermat Tournament Ranking: 4 (55.0)
2023 Dual Meet Record: 12-3
Ranked Wrestlers: 8
125 No. 21 Brett Ungar
133 No. 3 Vito Arujau
141 No. 17 Vince Cornella
149 No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis
165 No. 8 Julian Ramirez
174 No. 4 Chris Foca
197 No. 16 Jacob Cardenas
285 No. 28 Brendan Furman
The Bears had a bit of a rocky start to the season as they fell to Wisconsin 19-13 in their first dual meet. Cornell then followed this up with a seventh-place finish in the 2022 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, a win against Oregon State, and a loss to Iowa State 18-13.
But things got back on track for the powerhouse wrestling program after they rattled off 11 straight dual meet victories while grabbing ranked wins against No. 3 Arizona State, No. 8 Virginia Tech, No. 20 Lehigh, and No. 25. Cornell did drop their last dual meet of their year in the Spartan Duals against Ohio State, but that didn’t mean anything as Brett Ungar, Vince Cornella, and Yianni Diakomihalis didn’t suit up.
For a team that is this talented top to bottom, the only reason I have them at No. 5 is simply based on the conference they’re in and the competition they’ve faced. Now don’t get me wrong, the EIWA Conference has some incredible wrestling in it with teams like Princeton, Penn, Lehigh, and Cornell. But it’s not the ACC, the Big 12, and certainly it’s not the Big Ten.
Yanni is looking to lock up his fourth NCAA title and two-time All-American Vito Arujau has his eyes set on making his first NCAA finals. The Bears will be a team to reckon with, but I have a feeling they may fall victim to an underperformance or two.
The EIWA Conference Championships are set for March 4th and 5th in The Palestra in Philadelphia.