RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Five days before its 2016-17 season, California Baptist University was selected as the preseason favorite to repeat in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in the conference coaches’ poll released on Monday.
Overall, the 13th-ranked Lancers in NCAA Division II received seven of the RMAC’s possible eight first-place votes for 63 total points in the poll. Western State Colorado is second in the poll with 49 votes, while Colorado Mesa and Colorado Mines each received one first-place vote.
Four Lancers were voted onto the Preseason All-RMAC team to assist CBU in its quest to win the conference championship for the second year in a row. Jacob Waste led the individual honors by being named the 2016-17 RMAC Preseason Wrestler of the Year. Kurt Becker, Nolan Kistler and Nick Fiegener each received Preseason All-RMAC recognition, as well.
Waste is a two-time Division II All-American at 184 pounds, but is bumping up to 197 for his senior year. He took third in the NCAAs at 184, won the RMAC and Super Region IV championships last season.
Becker earned the nomination after a three-way tie at the 157-pound weight class in the preseason poll. The graduate student owns a 20-22 career record but has not wrestled since the 2013-14 season at Bloomsburg University. He primarily wrestled at 149 pounds in college and began his collegiate career at Division I Liberty University.
Kistler is a two-time Division II national qualifier and earned All-American honors at 165 pounds, taking seventh last season. He also won the RMAC title and placed second at Super Regionals, but is bumping up to 174 for his junior season.
Slated to make his much-anticipated CBU debut, Fiegener has drawn immediate attention from the RMAC. The Cal Poly transfer qualified for the Division I Championships back in 2014-15 and redshirted last season with the Lancers. The 184-pound redshirt sophomore went 24-17 as a true freshman in San Luis Obispo.
The Lancers open the new season at D-I Bakersfield for a 6 p.m. dual on Saturday. They will host their home opener and finale simultaneously in a dual against Simon Fraser on Feb. 11th at noon.