LEBANON The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) released its 2016-17 preseason poll Tuesday. The McKendree University men’s wrestling team was picked second in the poll receiving one first place vote.
The 2016-17 season marks the first season that the GLVC will sponsor men’s wrestling.
The Bearcats collected a total of 30 points putting them just one point behind Maryville who took the top spot. In third was UW-Parkside who collected 26 points and one first place vote. Indianapolis took fourth with 25 points, Drury followed in fifth with 14 points, Truman State grabbed sixth with 12 points, and Bellarmine finished in seventh with nine points.
Last season, The Bearcats finished in eighth place in the final team standings of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships. McKendree has finished in the top 10 at the event for three consecutive seasons. The NCAA DII Wrestling Coaches Association Preseason Poll, has the Bearcats at eighth in the nation entering this season’s campaign.
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Individually, McKendree has three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes entering the season. At 133 pounds, junior NaQuan Hardy enters the season ranked sixth for the Bearcats. Hardy finished the 2015-16 season with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a record of 21-8.
Junior Darren Wynn , the defending NCAA Division II national champion at 141 pounds, enters the season ranked first in his weight class. Wynn posted an overall record of 37-10 en route to winning his first NCAA national title.
At 174 pounds, junior J.J. Filipek grabs the number eight spot in the national rankings. Filipek posted an overall record of 33-15 for McKendree last season.
The McKendree men’s wrestling team is set to open its 2016-17 season at home with a dual meet against the University of Central Oklahoma. The match will begin at 7 p.m. at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center.
The conference slate will take place over a three-week period in January and February. The GLVC Champion will be determined by winning percentage of league matches only. There will not be a postseason tournament.