LANCASTER, Pa. – The Centennial Conference released its preseason wrestling coaches poll on Wednesday morning and Washington and Lee was selected to finish seventh out of the conference's eight wrestling teams.
Stevens received seven first-place votes and amassed 49 total points to top the polling. Ursinus was second with one first-place vote and 43 points. The Merchant Marine Academy was third with 35 points, followed by Gettysburg in fourth with 30 points. McDaniel (26), Johns Hopkins (16), W&L (13) and Muhlenberg (12) rounded out the poll.
Washington and Lee is coming off of its best season in nearly a decade, placing fifth at the Centennial Conference Championship and claiming four place-winners at the conference meet. Additionally, the Generals had four place-winners at the NCAA East Regional and qualified a wrestler for the NCAA National Championship for the first time in 15 years.
The Generals return six letterwinners and three of the four conference and regional place-winners from a year ago. W&L has also added 10 first-year wrestlers to the mix for the 2016-17 season.
Headlining the returnees is sophomore 133-pounder Zach Bylykbashi (Southington, Conn. / Southington), who set a new school record for wins in a season by going 34-10 overall last season. He also recorded a program-best 96 takedowns en route to placing second in his weight class at the Centennial Conference Championship. Bylykbashi was a Second Team All-State and Honorable Mention All-Centennial Conference selection last season.
Also returning are juniors Brandon Lefore (Morgan Hill, Calif. / Ann Sobrato) and Alex Pollera (Warren, N.J. / Watchung Hills Regional). Lefore placed fourth in the 174-pound weight class at the Centennial Championship, while Pollera notched a third-place finish in the 141-pound bracket. Lefore tallied a 22-10 record and Pollera finished 22-14 overall.
Washington and Lee opens its 2016-17 season on November 5, when it travels to Ferrum for a 1:00 pm dual match with the Panthers.
Centennial Conference Wrestling Poll
1. Stevens (7) 49
1. Ursinus (1) 43
3. Merchant Marines 35
4. Gettysburg 30
5. McDaniel 26
6. Johns Hopkins 16
7. Washington and Lee 13
8. Muhlenberg 12