University of Mary 133 Tate Barnhardt and MSU-Moorhead Junior 149 Joe Schumacher enter this season ranked ninth in the preliminary Division II national poll. Barnhardt, a senior from Bismarck (St. Mary’s Central), ND, was the NSIC wrestler of the year last season after finishing undefeated in NSIC dual matches. Barnhardt did not qualify for the national tournament, but posted a stellar season including wins over national champion Josh Walker (Upper Iowa) and national runner-up George Farmah (MSU-Mankato). While Walker graduated, Farmah returns as the preseason number one ranked wrestler in the nation. Mary will wrestle at Mankato January 31. Barnhardt and Farmah are the only wrestlers from the NSIC in the preseason poll. No other Marauders were ranked.
Schumacher, a four-time state champion from Bismarck High School returns for his second season at MSU-Moorhead also ranked ninth. Schumacher only wrestled the second semester for the Dragons last season, but came just one match shy of qualifying for the national tournament. With a full Division II season ahead of him, Schumacher has the ability to do big things this season. The top ranked wrestler at 149 pounds St. Cloud State’s Jim Pleski.