Hopkin Begins Season Ranked 10th Nationally
Oct. 19, 2006
GREELEY, Colo. - Last season, Reece Hopkin had the bittersweet honor of being named one of the top wresters not eligible for postseason competition. The grappler from Kersey ended his sophomore campaign with a 27-6 record and a No. 20 national ranking, but because of the school's transition to Division I, wasn't able to participate in the national tournament.
This year, Hopkin will get his chance to taste postseason action, and will do so in a higher weight-class and with an even loftier ranking.
According to the recently released InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Pre-season Individual Rankings, Hopkin - now wrestling as a heavyweight - will enter the 2006-07 as the 10th ranked wrestler in the country.
"It's nice to be recognized, but we don't put too much stock in it," said Northern Colorado coach Jack Maughan. "He needs to do a lot of different things as he makes the transaction into Division I."
Hopkin will be put to the test right from the start, as the Bears host unanimous No. 1 Minnesota in the dual opener for both teams, Dec. 1 in the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
"I don't think I realized how tough it was," joked Maughan about his team's schedule, which features matches against six of the top 28 teams in the county. "It's the first time in 42 years since we hosted the No. 1 team in the country. The last time the No. 1 team came to Greeley was the 1962-63 season, when Oklahoma State held the honor." The teams battled to an 18-18 tie - the only blemish on the Cowboys otherwise perfect season.
Minnesota has "top-20 ranked wrestlers in nine of the 10 divisions," said Maughan. "So it's a great way to get going in Division 1."