Wrestling: Raiders Ranked 5th in NWCA National Preseason Poll

Wrestling: Raiders Ranked 5th in NWCA National Preseason Poll

MANHEIM, Pa. -- Mount Union's wrestling team is ranked fifth in the nation in the National Wrestling Coaches Association preseason poll.

The Purple Raiders have three returning All-Americans and each of them are individually ranked nationally in the preseason. Junior Jordin James (Bedford) is ranked No. 1 at 141 pounds, junior Antwon Pugh (Fairlawn / Copley) is ranked No. 1 at 157 pounds while junior Luke Hernandez (Nashport / Tri-Valley) is No. 4 at 149 pounds. 

Josh Malave enters his fourth season as head coach and after winning every conference match a year ago, Mount Union placed third at the NCAA Central Regional then had four All-American performances and a national champion on their way to a fifth place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships last March.

The fifth place finish was the best national finish ever for Mount Union with Jordin James becoming the third Raider in history to win a national title bringing home the 133-pound crown. There were two national runner-up finishes from Pugh at 157 and Jairod James (Bedford) at 174 pounds while Hernandez placed eighth nationally.

The season begins Saturday, November 2 at the Adrian (Mich.) Invitational while the Raiders host the Mount Union Invitational on Saturday, November 9 at Peterson Field House. The OAC opener is Tuesday, November 19 against Muskingum at home while the other home dates include the Purple Raider Open on January 19, an OAC dual against Otterbein on January 21 and the OAC Duals on January 25. The NCAA Central Regional is at Adrian on February 28-29 while the NCAA Championships are March 13-14 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

NWCA Preseason National Poll

1 Loras (Iowa) 42
2 Wabash (Ind.) 40
3 Wartburg (Iowa) 35
4 Augsburg (Minn.) 29
5 Mount Union  27
5 Wis.-Whitewater 27
7 Wis.-La Crosse  26
8 Stevens Tech (N.J.) 20
8 Baldwin Wallace  20
8 Coe (Iowa) 20
11 Coast Guard (Conn.) 19
12 The College of New Jersey (N.J.) 17
12 R.I.T. (N.Y.) 17
14 Alma (Mich.) 16
14 Ithaca (N.Y.) 16

The next NWCA Division III Team and Individual Ranking will be released on Thursday, November 14, 2019.