BRISTOL, Tenn. – For the first time since becoming NCAA Division II members, the King University men's wrestling team is ranked in the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association Top 25 in the preseason poll. The Tornado check in at 21st in the nation while Dustin Kirk is also ranked.
King finished 21st at the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships a season ago, their highest finish in program history. Last year, King had two All-Americans, Kirk and Bryce Killian, for the second time in program history. This marks the first time King has been ranked in a preseason poll. In 2011-12 the Tornado received votes in the preseason poll, but weren't ranked until the second poll came out on December 7. In the final rankings of 2016-17, the Tornado were ranked 19th after receiving votes for the previous five polls.
Kirk was ranked is six polls a season ago, reaching as high as third in the final poll of the year on March 2. Following that, Kirk had a stellar weekend at the NCAA Division II Championships, going 5-1 and taking third place and defeating five ranked opponents at the event. Kirk finished 2016-17 with an overall record of 23-9, earning All-American and All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) first team honors. This season, Kirk starts his senior campaign ranked first at the 133-pound weight class.
Kirk and the Tornado open the 2017-18 season on November 5 at the Southeast Open in Blacksburg, Va. They will wrestle at home the following weekend, November 11 at the King Open.