Complete Feb. 1 NAIA Wrestling Ratings
ATHERTON – With the season hitting the home stretch and the 2006 NAIA National Championships on the horizon, the Menlo College men’s wrestling team held on to its No. 9 rating, saw four wrestlers retain their respective ranks and had one grappler added to the most recent national ratings, released Wed., Feb. 1.
Menlo, which began the season ranked seventh and climbed to a season-high fifth on Dec. 14, was slotted ninth for the second-consecutive rating period. Against the top 20 teams, the Oaks have a victory against No. 6 Embry-Riddle (19-16, Nov. 18) but fell to No. 4 Great Falls of Montana (25-16, Jan. 14) and No. 7 Southern Oregon, twice (33-11, Dec. 16; 25-12, Jan. 19).
Dana College of Nebraska relieved Missouri’s Lindenwood University of the top spot. The University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) checked in at No. 3, followed by Great Falls and North Dakota’s Dickinson State. The remainder of the top 10 includes No. 6 Embry-Riddle (Ariz.), No. 7 Southern Oregon, No. 8 Missouri Valley and No. 10 Bacone (Okla.).
Individually, Menlo’s top-ranked wrestler is senior Joe Garcia (22-5), rated third a 141 pounds. At 133, the Oaks feature a pair of ranked wrestlers in No. 5 Alfonso Paez (15-7) and Pablo Sanchez, (17-5), who fell two spots to No. 8.
Senior Kyle Bickford (14-10) remained fifth at 157 pounds, as did Ben Flores (8-5), who held on to his No. 3 heavyweight ranking.
The recently reinstated Tyrell Blanche joined the 197-pound rankings at No. 8.
Menlo (10-9 dual) resumes action Fri., Feb. 3 at NCAA Division I Cal State Fullerton (7 p.m.) prior to Saturday’s All-California Invitational, beginning at 9 a.m. and hosted by San Francisco State.
The next NAIA rating is scheduled to be released Feb. 15, prior to the Feb. 18 NAIA West Regionals, hosted by Embry-Riddle in Prescott, Ariz.
The NAIA National Championships take place March 3-4 in Sioux City, Iowa.