Three members of the West Virginia University wrestling team rank inside the top 25 of their respective weight classes, as announced by several publications on Wednesday.
Redshirt junior Noah Adams opens the 2021 season ranked No. 1 at 197 pounds by Intermat, FloWrestling and The Open Mat. The Coal City, West Virginia, native was crowned a Big 12 champion a year ago, completing the 2019-20 campaign with a 32-0 overall record, as well as a 13-0 mark against conference opponents.
In an impressive sophomore campaign, Adams was the first wrestler in program history to be named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Year and the second to be picked as a finalist for the WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy.
Adams, the No. 2-seed in the 197-pound bracket at the 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, also earned All-America First Team honors from the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) for the first time in his career and received 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 is ranked by a trio of media outlets. 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 after spending the previous two seasons at Old Dominion. A qualifier for the 2020 NCAA Tournament, Cardinale finished the 2019-20 campaign with 25 wins, defeating six ranked opponents in the process. He also earned NWCA Division I All-America Honorable Mention honors last season.
Junior Caleb Rea comes in 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 his weight class of 141 pounds. Rea posted 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 predicts 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 with three straight competitions at the WVU Coliseum, starting with a quad meet against Kent State, Ohio University and Virginia Tech on Sunday, Jan. 10. Action is set to begin at 12 p.m.