NEWBERRY — The Newberry College wrestling team will start the 2018 calendar year ranked No. 14 as a team in the latest NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association polls. The Wolves feature two nationally ranked individuals in Jordan Simpson and Austin Palmer.
Newberry continues to maneuver up the leaderboard, moving up 21 spots from the previous ranking. The Wolves received 32 points in the voting as a team. St. Cloud State remains the top ranked team after receiving 78 points.
Simpson is ranked No.1 at 125 lbs., after going 3-0 at the Newberry Duals. He took down former No.1 Brett Velasquez from St. Cloud State at the Newberry Duals. Velasquez placed third at the NCAA DII Championships in March, defeating former Wolves’ standout Trung Duong in the consolation semifinals.
He exacted his revenge upon Velasquez with a 4-3 decision, notching a takedown in the waning seconds of the first period and another in the third to secure the thrilling victory. Simpson currently withstands a 6-2 record this season for the Wolves.
Palmer, a junior from West Columbia is ranked fourth at 157 lbs. He secured two matches to rally for a third place individual finish at the 39th Annual Midwest Classic. Palmer picked up two decision wins against No. 6 ranked Garrett Hall from Ashland and fifth-ranked Ryan Strope from nationally-ranked McKendree University.
At the Newberry Duals, he took his first match by tech fall 18-2 and followed with a 14-3 major decision victory against Marquan Payne from East Stroudsburg. Palmer outlasted Clayton Hanson from Bellarmine to win by fall, before dropping a sudden victory match 12-7 to top-ranked Larry Bomstad from St. Cloud State.
The Wolves also featured six wrestlers in the latest Super Region 2 rankings as well as the team earning the No. 5 spot on the list. Simpson sits at the top of the regional rankings at 125 lbs., while Palmer came in second in his respective class. Alex Rice made his season debut on the rankings placing eighth in the 165 lbs. class, while senior Patton Gossett sits at fourth in the 285 lbs. class. Nolan Whitely (fourth, 133 lbs.) and Isiah Royal (fourth, 141 lbs.) are amongst other Wolves who received regional recognition.
Newberry will travel to Gunnison, Colo. on Jan. 6 for the Tracey Borah Duals, before returning to Newberry for their first conference matchup against the Crusaders of Belmont Abbey on Jan. 18.