Most years, I wait until the conclusion of the Section 1 Dual Meet Championships to release my dual meet Power Rankings, but we have unique circumstances this season. With the Division 1 final four being pushed back into the new year (a new date has yet to be announced) and no wrestling going on during this quiet holiday week, I figured this time would be as good as any. Most teams have wrestled enough at this point that we have a pretty good idea of who the top teams are. As usual, I came up with my top 10 teams in Division 1 and a top five for Division 2.
I’ll update my weight class rankings early in the new year, and I’ll also release tournament rankings sometime before sectionals. But dual meets dominate the early portion of the schedule, and this is how I rank ‘em…
NOTE: All of the records listed come directly from nwcaonline.com.
1. North Rockland (11-0) – The cream of the crop in Section 1 features a relentless lineup that is without any real weaknesses. The Red Raiders have high-caliber wrestlers throughout – including seven who were All-Section last season – and have dismantled teams thus far. They’ve only been held under 60 points in a dual meet once this year and haven’t allowed more than 24. Although the D1 dual meet finals have been pushed back to January, it seems like a foregone conclusion that North Rockland will repeat. It’s probably a safe bet to say that the Red Raiders will get through the season without a loss to a Section 1 opponent for the second straight year.
2. Arlington (7-0) – Because we haven’t had a chance to see the final four D1 dual meet teams match up yet, this second spot is still up for grabs. For now, I’m putting the Admirals here because I believe they have more depth than either Fox Lane or Suffern – particularly up top. In my projections, I had Arlington edging out the Foxes for a shot at North Rockland in the championship. The Admirals recently went down to Florida for a dual meet tourney and represented themselves well by going unbeaten.
3. Fox Lane (9-1) – The Foxes only loss came against Section 9 powerhouse Monroe-Woodbury – a team that would give North Rockland a run for its money. Other than that, they’ve pounded Section 1 competition and look to clearly be one of the top three teams in the area. Fox Lane is as strong as it gets from 106-152 pounds, with a handful of section title contenders in that range, but its upper weights would have a tough time against teams like North Rockland and Arlington.
4. Suffern (4-0) – By beating Pearl River to reach the D1 dual meet final four, the Mounties staked their claim as the best dual meet team in Rockland outside of North Rockland. They might not have a section champ in the bunch, but Suffern features a complete lineup with plenty of quality wrestlers. We’ll learn more about the Mounties in the coming weeks as their dual meet schedule picks up, but as of right now, they deserve to be here based on their performance in the Section 1 duals.
5. Brewster (17-1) – The Bears were eliminated from the Section 1 duals earlier than expected in a close loss to Mahopac, but they came right back and beat the Indians a week later at the Chase Media Group Duals. They won that tourney, as well as the Bernie Miller Invitational and the Lewis Johnson Memorial Duals, which gives Brewster three dual meet titles already this season. If you compare the Bears’ lineup to some of the others in the top 10, I think it’s very fair to put them in the top five.
6. Mahopac (11-2) – The Indians pulled off one of the biggest wins of the season by upsetting Brewster in the Section 1 duals, but I’m putting them one spot behind the Bears after a loss in the most recent meeting between the two teams. Mahopac’s only other loss came against Fox Lane. Similarly to Suffern, the Indians have a deep group of tough wrestlers who keep them in contention in pretty much any dual that they enter.
7. Pearl River (6-1) – In the preseason, I might have ranked the Pirates a little bit higher, but a loss to Suffern in the Section 1 duals keeps them out of the top five. They’ve responded with four straight wins against some tough out-of-section competition and have more depth than you would think beyond defending section champs John Muldoon and James Kelly. There is some youth that has been showing promise for this rising Pearl River program.
8. Clarkstown South (3-1) – After placing second in the Section 1 duals last season, the Vikings ran into top-ranked North Rockland in the quarterfinals this year, which resulted in an early exit. Had they gotten a better draw, we might be talking about South as a final four team. The Vikings lost some firepower in the lower-to-middle weight range from last year’s team, but they’re still as tough as they come up top.
9. John Jay-East Fishkill (3-1) – Ultimately, I think that the Patriots will be a better tournament than they are in dual meet settings, but they’re still good enough to crack the top 10. They have quality wins over teams like Greeley and Yorktown, with their one loss coming against second-ranked Arlington. There are some studs in the JJEF lineup that will cause headaches for any opposing coach.
10. Horace Greeley (6-2) – The final spot in the top 10 was the toughest call of the bunch to make, but I’m giving the Quakers a slight edge. Their only two losses came against top 10 teams in Brewster and JJEF, and they’ve beaten a handful of fringe teams. In just about any dual that they’ll enter, Greeley will have an advantage from 160 up with some very solid heavyweights.
On the fringe: Clarkstown North (7-2), Harrison (8-3), Lakeland/Panas (5-2), Somers (8-5) Yonkers (6-5)
1. Nanuet (8-0) – The Golden Knights have silenced any doubters who may have thought that this was the year another D2 team finally gets the better of them. They edged their top competition, Putnam Valley, with a close 37-33 win in the semis of the Section 1 duals and then handled Edgemont to win their third straight dual meet title. Nanuet isn’t as dominant as it was last season, but it fills every weight class and is getting big contributions from a tremendous freshmen class.
2. Putnam Valley (3-3) – The Tigers are left to wonder what could have been after coming this close to knocking off perennial power Nanuet, but I still say they’re clearly the second-best dual meet team in D2. They’re one of the few that can fill every weight class, which is huge when it comes to small school teams, and they beat up on Edgemont when they met on Dec. 21 – albeit, the Panthers didn’t have their full lineup. Aside from the loss to Nanuet, Put Valley’s other two defeats came at the hands of strong Long Island teams.
3. Woodlands (5-2) – After losing to Edgemont during the Section 1 duals, the Falcons got some revenge with a 37-31 win over the Panthers when they met a week later. The most improved program in D2 has managed to fill nearly every weight class and has some young wrestlers who are making big strides. The future looks bright for Woodlands.
4. Edgemont (3-12) – The win-loss record isn’t pretty, but let’s face it: the Panthers are still a top five team in D2. They still have some of the best individual wrestlers among small school teams, and most of their losses came against high quality programs such as North Rockland, Hauppauge and Rocky Point. Edgemont’s tough schedule will pay dividends at the end of the season.
5. Irvington (3-2) – The last spot came down to Irvington and Pleasantville, but the Bulldogs made it an easy choice thanks to a 42-39 head-to-head win. First-year head coach Brian Bernarducci appears to have the ship heading in the right direction.
On the fringe: Croton-Harmon (0-8), Pawling (2-5), Pleasantville (2-6)
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!