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Seven West Liberty Wrestlers Ranked Nationally

WEST LIBERTY — With nationally-ranked wrestlers in seven of the 10 weight classes, the West Liberty wrestling team moved into a tie for No. 7 this week when TheOpenMat.com website released its second regular season set of NCAA Division II team and individual rankings.

Only two other squads — No. 1-ranked St. Cloud State and No. 3 Central Oklahoma — have more nationally-ranked wrestlers than Coach Danny Irwin’s Hilltoppers.

Four of the Black and Gold’s nationally-ranked wrestlers were once again listed in the Top 10 of their weight classes with a new face making his national ranking debut.

Junior Chase Morgan, an MEC runner-up last season, hits the 165-pound board at No. 16 this week after knocking off nationally-ranked Cole Houser of Glenville State on Saturday in a sudden-victory thriller.

Remaining in the national rankings this week are:

Junior Cole Laya: a 2-time All-American ranked No. 7 at 125 pounds

Senior Ty Warner: a 3-time All-American and former national champion ranked No. 4 at 133 pounds

Senior Connor Craig: a 2-time All-American and former national champion ranked No. 2 at 184 pounds

Senior Logan Kemp: a 2-time NCAA D2 national qualifier ranked No. 7 at 197 pounds

Sophomore Francesco Borsellino: ranked No. 13 at 285 pounds

Redshirt freshman Alec Cook: ranked No. 14 at 149 pounds

Once again there was some minor shuffling in the team rankings but nine of the top 10 teams from a week ago remained in the top 10. Gannon dropped from No. 7 to No. 12 with Adams State (Colo.) moving up from No. 13 to No. 10.

West Liberty is just one of three Mountain East Conference teams making a Top 25 appearance this week. Perennial NCAA Division II power Notre Dame (Ohio) stayed put at No. 13 with defending MEC champion UNC-Pembroke making its ranking debut at No. 25.

That sets the stage for what amounts to an MEC Tournament preview on Saturday when the top four teams in the MEC preseason poll — West Liberty, Notre Dame, UNC-Pembroke and Davis & Elkins — get together in Elkins for the Davis & Elkins Duals. First match is set for noon at the McDonnell Center.

The Hilltoppers are scheduled to host the 2020-21 MEC Tournament on Feb. 6 at the ASRC.

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