The Gophers wrestling team was voted as the preseason favorite, earning seven first-place votes for 397 points, in the USA Today/National Wrestling Coaches Association preseason poll, announced Thursday.
Four of the top five teams are Big Ten teams, six of the top 10 and eight in the top 25. Two-time defending national champion Penn State is No. 2, followed by Oklahoma State, Iowa and Ohio State.
The Gophers, who went 14-3 last season, returned all but two wrestlers to the starting lineup, including five All-Americas, Big Ten champion Kevin Steinhaus and national heavyweight champion Tony Nelson. The Gophers also welcome 12 newcomers to the roster this season.
InterMat also released its preseason NCAA poll with the Gophers tabbed as No. 3 in the tournament-strength rankings.
NCAA picks Gophers
The NCAA announced the Gophers will play host to the 2014 Division I women's swimming and diving championship, to be held March 20-22 at the University Aquatic Center.
• The NCAA also selected the Gophers as one of six institutions to host a regional competition for the 2014 women's gymnastics championships. The regional will be April 5 at the Sports Pavilion.
• Armstrong product Nicole Dooher was named NSIC Offensive Player of the Year and Bloomington Jefferson's Lauren Somers the Defensive Player of the Year, as Minnesota State Mankato swept the conference women's soccer awards. Woodbury's Caitlin Graboski was Newcomer of the Year and Peter McGahey the Coach of the Year after the Mavericks earned their first national No. 1 ranking.
• St. Olaf sophomore Grant Wintheiser and St. Thomas senior Taylor Berg were named MIAC men's and women's cross-country most valuable athletes, respectively.