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Wyoming Seminary finishes season ranked No. 1 in Fab 50

Wyoming Seminary won the Walsh Jesuit Ironman title by 45.5 points (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Link: Final Fab 50 Team Rankings

The 2019-20 high school wrestling season was certainly one to remember.

Crowning a national champion this year was pretty clear, despite the only undefeated team (Simley, Minn.) being ranked No. 18 in the country. This year's national champion is Wyoming Seminary (Pa.). The Blue Knights were dominant champions at the nation's best in-season tournament, Walsh Jesuit (Ohio) Ironman; dominant champions at a top-five tournament, Powerade; and champions at National Preps over four other ranked teams (two of which are in the top ten).

The lone blemish on the season for Wyoming Seminary came in a 31-24 dual meet loss to Blair Academy (N.J.) on Jan. 17. However, the Blue Knights were without the services of Nic Bouzakis (126) on that evening. Five weeks earlier, the Wyoming Seminary won the Walsh Jesuit Ironman by 45.5 points over Blair Academy; then five weeks later, Wyoming Seminary won the National Prep title by 81 points.

Anchoring the Blue Knights' roster were three wrestlers who ended the season ranked No. 1 in the country: Nic Bouzakis (126), Beau Bartlett (138), and Lachlan McNeil (145). Four other wrestlers concluded the season ranked: Brennen Cernus (No. 17 at 113 pounds), Drew Munch (No. 8 at 132), Gabriel Arnold (No. 13 at 160), and Kolby Franklin (No. 9 at 220).

Rounding out the top five were the following teams:

No. 2 Blair Academy (N.J.): Dual meet victory over Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), Walsh Jesuit Ironman runners-up, Beast of the East champions, National Prep runners-up

No. 3 Buchanan (Calif.): Doc Buchanan Invitational champions, state tournament champions, dual meet loss to Montini Catholic (Ill.), dual meet victory over No. 6 Lake Highland Prep (Fla.)

No. 4 Montini Catholic (Ill.): Dual meet victories over No. 3 Buchanan (Calif.), No. 5 Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.), and No. 6 Lake Highland Prep (Fla.); Walsh Jesuit Ironman fifth place, Doc Buchanan Invitational runners-up, dual team and (unofficial) individual state champions

No. 5 Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.): Dual meet loss to No. 4 Montini Catholic (Ill.), Brecksville (Ohio) Holiday Tournament champions, dual team and (unofficial) individual state champions

Now for some interesting trivia associated with this year's Fab 50 …

Simley (Minn.) after winning the team title at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament (Photo/David Peterson, Minnesota/USA Wrestling)

Only one team within the Fab 50 national high school team rankings finished the season undefeated in dual meets and placing first in all its tournaments, that being Simley (Minn.). The Spartans end the season ranked No. 18 after winning the Cliff Keen Independence (Iowa) Invitational, Minnesota Christmas Tournament, and Cheesehead Invitational; beat No. 45 St. Michael-Albertville (Minn.) in a dual meet; and won both the dual team and (unofficial) individual state tournament titles.

Eleven teams started the season ranked, but ended the season not ranked; 11 teams started the season unranked, but ended the season ranked. Those teams are: No. 35 Waynesburg (Pa.), No. 37 Goddard (Kansas), No. 38 Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral, No. 39 Evansville (Ind.) Mater Dei, No. 40 Crown Point (Ind.), No. 42 McDonogh (Md.), No. 45 St. Michael-Albertville (Minn.), No. 46 Don Bosco (Iowa), No. 47 Lisbon (Iowa), No. 48 Notre Dame-Green Pond (Pa.), and No. 49 Baylor School (Tenn.).

It should be noted that information about the addition of Wyatt Henson (season-ending No. 4 at 138 pounds) to the Waynesburg lineup was not fully verified at the time of the team rankings being published.

Eight teams saw a double-digit improvement in their ranking position from the start of the season to the end of the season. The biggest improvement was Simley (Minn.) going from No. 45 in the preseason to No. 18 at the end of the season, though part of that improvement was due to the addition of Reid Nelson to the lineup at 113 pounds; once that move was confirmed and full lineup information was received, the Spartans were No. 25 in the rankings at the start of December.

Malvern Prep (Pa.) had a strong performance at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, finishing third (Photo/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)

The next most significant upward moves came from Malvern Prep (Pa.) and Bethlehem Catholic (Pa.). Both teams improved 19 spots from start to finish. The Friars went from No. 26 to No. 7, while the Hawks went from No. 50 to No. 31. Next in line were the upward shifts from Nazareth (Pa.) and Crescent Valley (Pa.); the Blue Eagles went from No. 42 to No. 24, while Crescent Valley started at No. 48 and ascended to No. 30. Clovis (Calif.) went from No. 32 to No. 16, Broken Arrow (Okla.) went from No. 39 to No. 24, while Dundee (Mich.) went from No. 46 to No. 33.

Nineteen different states have a team represented in the InterMat Fab 50 team rankings, as do 19 different governing bodies. (National Prep counts as a separate governing body from any state.) California has the most ranked teams with seven; Pennsylvania has six (though only four are PIAA teams); with four each for Michigan, New Jersey (though only three are NJSIAA), Ohio, Minnesota, and Iowa. Five schools that competed at National Preps this year ended the season ranked.

Seventeen teams were ranked at the end of 2018-19 that did not end 2019-20 with a ranking position. Out of that turnover in the rankings, nine schools ended this season ranked for the first time in the now ten years of the Fab 50 being compiled by InterMat: No. 23 Millard South (Neb.), No. 28 Stillwater (Okla.), No. 30 Crescent Valley (Ore.), No. 35 Waynesburg (Pa.), No. 40 Crown Point (Ind.), No. 41 St. Joseph-Montvale (N.J.), No. 47 Lisbon (Iowa), No. 48 Notre Dame-Green Pond (Pa.), and No. 49 Baylor School (Tenn.).

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