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IOWA WRESTLING

Hawkeyes fall from first in wrestling poll

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With three-time national champion Spencer Lee sidelined for the remainder of the season, Iowa dropped from first to second in this week's National Wrestling Coaches Association poll.

Iowa is no longer the top-ranked college wrestling team in the country.

The Hawkeyes opened the Big Ten Conference season by winning two duals over the weekend but, Iowa dropped from first to second in the weekly National Wrestling Coaches Association NCAA Division I team poll released Tuesday.

That is likely the latest fallout from the loss of three-time national champion Spencer Lee from the Hawkeye lineup.

Lee underwent surgery Friday to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both of his knees, a decision that will keep the senior off the mat for the remainder of the season for the defending national champions.

True freshman Drake Ayala stepped into Lee's spot in the lineup over the weekend, and the 125-pounder split two matches against opponents ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

Ayala followed an 8-6 loss to Minnesota's seventh-ranked Patrick McKee with a 6-1 decision over Purdue's fifth-ranked Devin Schroder in his first dual action for Iowa.

The lineup shuffle led coaches to move Penn State in front of Iowa in this week's poll, ending a string of 28 consecutive polls that had been topped by the Hawkeyes.

The Nittany Lions, 10-0 on the season, added Central Michigan transfer and All-American Drew Hildebrandt to their lineup at 125 pounds in wins over Indiana and Maryland over the weekend.

Penn State received eight of the 14 first-place votes to move into the top spot in the coaches poll for the first time since Nov. 19, 2019.

Iowa received the remaining six first-place votes and finished just three points behind Penn State in the poll.

The Nittany Lions visit the Hawkeyes on Jan. 28.

Michigan, which returned All-American Logan Massa and added past NCAA champion Nick Suriano to the lineup over the weekend, is ranked third, with Oklahoma State and North Carolina State filling the fourth and fifth spots.

Iowa returns to action Friday, visiting Northwestern at 7 p.m.

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