FAYETTE, Iowa — The Fort Hays State wrestling team has been ranked 17th in the 2018-19 NCAA DII Wrestling Coaches Association Preseason Top 25, released Monday (Oct. 29) by the organization. The poll consists of top 12 rankings of all ten weight classes, with each sport earning a set number of points for the team.

The Tigers have two wrestlers ranked in the preseason poll, totaling 22 points to help FHSU rank 17th in the country. Junior Brandon Ball enters the year ranked fourth at 141 pounds after earning All-American honors and finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships in 2016 and qualifying for the NCAA Championships before falling in the round of 16 last year. Sophomore Efe Osaghae sits in fifth in the initial rankings at 157 pounds. Osaghae earned a trip to the NCAA Championships in 2017, while finishing eighth and earning All-America Honors. Ball leads the MIAA in his weight class, as Osaghae sits in third in the conference at 157 pounds.

Fort Hays State is third among MIAA programs in the preseason poll, with Nebraska-Kearney opening the year ranked No. 2 and Lindenwood sitting at No. 12. A year after winning the NCAA Championships, St. Cloud State opens the year as the favorite to win the national title again, earning 92 team points in the poll.

Tiger fans get their first look at the 2018-19 squad at the Black and Gold Scrimmage (Nov. 1) at 7 p.m. The regular season begins with the Bethany Swede Open (Nov. 10).