FINDLAY, Iowa – The University of Central Oklahoma wrestling team climbed three spots in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association Top 25, announced Thursday. The Bronchos have four wrestlers ranked individually to make up its 10th-place mark in the tournament power index ranking.
Eli Hale debuted at No. 2 in the poll at 125 pounds. Will Steltzlen remained No. 7 at 149 pounds. Bryan Dutton slipped to No. 11 at 157 pounds. And Caleb Cotter jumped up to No. 4 at heavyweight.
“I know we’ve got a few more guys who can make it into the rankings,” UCO head coach Todd Steidley said. “We’ve got to start wrestling better. It’s almost February and now is the time for us to pick it up and show them what we’re made of. I think we’re a better team than No. 10.”
Hale is off to a 9-0 start after transferring to Central Oklahoma after the first semester. He has seven bonus-point wins in his nine matches including the last five.
Steltzlen has a team-high 28 wins this season. He had a 13-match win streak through the early part of the season and is 9-3 since.
Dutton is 18-12 on the year. The returning national qualifier hit a road block earlier this month but is hanging on in the rankings and looking to make a late push heading toward the final month of the season.
Cotter is 19-1 on the season and has won 10 straight. He beat the No. 1 ranked wrestler at heavyweight, Kameron Teacher of Notre Dame. Cotter also has wins over No. 8 Dalton Weidl, No. 9 Mimmo Lytle, and No. 11 Sam Alnassiri. His only loss this season is to No. 3 Dylan Faulkenberg – a 7-5 decision in the second tiebreaker – at the Midwest Classic.
Central Oklahoma is 11-2 on the season and is back on the mat this Sunday. The Bronchos host MIAA foe Lindenwood, which was ranked 20th in Thursday’s poll, on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Hamilton Field House.