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Sacred Heart women ranked No. 13 in NWCA’s preseason poll

The Sacred Heart University women’s wrestling team is ranked No. 13 in the National Wresting Coaches Association’s (NWCA) preseason poll.

The NWCA posted their preseason poll based on the number of wrestlers who ranked within their individual weight classes. The Pioneers have three wrestlers ranked in the preseason rankings – Madison Sandquist (143), Khadiha Sanusi (143) and Jacklyn Smith (170).

Sandquist went 27-7 a year ago as a freshman with the Pioneers and finished third in the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship tournament at 143 pounds while Sanusi finished eighth in the same weight class. Smith (14-11) took eighth at 170 pounds.

Sacred Heart, which went 6-4 in its initial varsity campaign and was 14th at the national championship meet, opens the season with a road match at East Stroudsburg State in less than two weeks on Sunday, Nov. 6.

Illinois-based North Central College, which was fourth at last year’s national championship meet, is ranked No. 1 for the first time in their four-year history with 13 individuals ranked. No. 2 King College out of Tennessee has 11 wrestlers ranked.

Four wrestlers who won national titles a year ago are returning led by seniors Ashlynn Ortega of King and North Central’s Yelena Makoyed. Ortega is ranked No. 1 at 143 pounds while Makoyed is atop the 170-pound rankings. Junior Cameron Guerin of North Central  is ranked atop the 130-pound ranking following a national title. At 101 pounds, Tiffin’s Olivia Shore is ranked first following a national title during her freshman season.

The first home meet for Sacred Heart will be on Sunday, Dec. 11, when the Pioneers host No. 7 Tiffin (Ohio) University along with first-year team Western New England University out of Springfield.

2022-23 Sacred Heart women’s wrestling schedule

National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) preseason coaches poll
Oct. 21, 2022

Team Rec Pts Rnked Last
1. North Central College (Illinois) 14-2 95 13 4 NCAA D3
2. King University (Tenn.) 8-0 88 11 1 NCAA D2
3. Colorado Mesa Univ. 5-0 73 8 5 NCAA D2
4. McKendree Univ. (Illinois) 6-1 57 7 2 NCAA D2
5. Augsburg Univ. (Minn.) 7-2 49 6 6 NCAA D3
6. Simon Fraser (British Columbia) 32 5 3 NCAA D2
7. Tiffin University (Ohio) 15-5 28 4 7 NCAA D2
8. Presbyterian College (S.C.) 1-0 21 4 8 NCAA D1
9. Lindenwood Univ. (Missouri) 7-5 19 2 14 NCAA D1
10. New Jersey City Univ. 1-5 17 3 t15 NCAA D3
Others receiving votes: 11. Gannon and Emmanuel 16; 13. Sacred Heart 15, 14. East Stroudsburg and Adrian 10; 16. Wisconsin-Stevens Point 7, 17. William Jewell and Limestone 6; 19. Elmira and Lock Haven 4, 21. Chadron State and Carthage 3
Notes: Record is last year’s dual meet record.
Team rankings are based on number of individual wrestlers ranked directly related to finishes in the 2021 NCWWA national championship tournament.

Preseason team rankings, Oct. 22, 2022

Individual rankings, Oct. 20, 2022


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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