For the first time since 2010, Wartburg will not open the Division III wrestling season ranked No. 1.
In fact, the four-time defending national champions aren’t ranked at all in the NWCA coaches top-15 poll released Thursday.
Wis.-Whitewater, last season’s NCAA runner-up, is No. 1. Messiah, Wabash and Delaware Valley follow the Warhawks.
Iowa Conference rivals Coe (No. 5) and Loras (No. 13) are also ranked in the top 15. The rankings listed 30 teams in previous years.
The Knights lose eight of 10 starters from last year’s team, including three individual national champions — Kenny Anderson, Landon Williams and Cole Welter — one runner-up, Ryan Fank, as well as senior starters Gilberto Camacho, Brett Yonkovic, Sam Upah and Puna Soriano.
Mark Pinero, one of two returning NCAA qualifiers, opens the season ranked No. 8 at 149 pounds. Drew Wagenhoffer is No. 9 at 157.
Coe and Dubuque have three wrestlers ranked, Loras two, including heavyweight No. 1 James Buss, the defending national champion. Luther also has two ranked wrestlers, Central one, Buena Vista and Simpson zero.
The team’s media day is Nov. 12.