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Three WVU Wrestlers Nationally Ranked as 2021 Season gets Underway Sunday



WVU's Noah Adams is the consensus No. 1 wrestler in the country at 197 pounds going into this season. (photo via Sparks)




Three members of the West Virginia University wrestling team rank inside the top 25 of their respective weight classes, as announced by various publications earlier today.

Leading the way for WVU, redshirt junior Noah Adams opens the 2021 season ranked as the consensus No. 1 197-pounder in the nation.  InterMat, FloWrestling and The Open Mat all place the First Team NWCA All-America honoree atop their respective leaderboards. The Coal City, West Virginia, native was crowned a Big 12 champion a year ago, completing the 2019-20 campaign with a perfect 32-0 overall record (including an unblemished 13-0 mark against conference opponents). Adams was the No. 2 seed at 197 pounds heading into the 2020 NCAA Championships in Minneapolis last March when it was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adams’ unbeaten season also earned him the the 2020 Hardman Award, an honor given to West Virginia’s amateur athlete of the year, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

At 125 pounds, redshirt junior Killian Cardinale (an Old Dominion transfer) is ranked by all three media outlets as well. The Bristow, Virginia, native appears at No. 12, according to InterMat and FloWrestling, and is ranked No. 13 by The Open Mat.

Cardinale comes to Morgantown and the Big 12 after spending the previous two seasons at Old Dominion. The former Monarch was a qualifier for the 2020 NCAA Tournament, after finishing the 2019-20 campaign with 25 wins, defeating six ranked opponents along the way. He also earned NWCA Division I All-America Honorable Mention honors last season.

Junior Caleb Rea sits at No. 20 in FloWrestling’s latest top-25 poll. The Weirton, West Virginia native also ranks No. 23 in The Open Mat poll at 141 pounds. Rea tallied 17 wins last season, including six victories against conference foes. He also tied for the team lead in wins by fall with five.

As a team, West Virginia ranks as high as No. 21 in the latest tournament top-25 poll by InterMat and The Open Mat. Tournament rankings are associated with individual wrestler’s rankings and attempts to predict how teams could finish at the 2021 NCAA Tournament, which is scheduled for March 18-20, in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Mountaineers’ 2021 season commences Sunday, Jan. 10 with three straight competitions at the WVU Coliseum, starting with a quad meet against Kent State, Ohio University, and Virginia Tech. Action is set to begin at 12 p.m. The meet will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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