LANCASTER, Pa. – The Centennial Conference released its preseason wrestling coaches poll on Thursday morning and Washington and Lee was selected to finish fifth 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 40 points. Gettysburg was third with 34 points, followed by the Merchant Marine Academy with 33 points. W&L garnered 28 points for fifth, while McDaniel (18), Johns Hopkins (15) and Muhlenberg (7) rounded out the poll.
Washington and Lee continues to show marked improvement as a program, as evidenced by W&L's fourth-place finish at the 2017 Centennial Conference Championship, its highest-ever placing since joining the league in 1998. Additionally, the Generals produced an 8-7 overall record and qualified two wrestlers to the NCAA National Championship for the first time since 1987.
The Generals return 12 letterwinners and three placewinners from last season's conference championship. W&L has also added nine first-year wrestlers to the mix for the 2017-18 campaign.
Headlining the returnees is junior 133-pounder Zach Bylykbashi (Southington, Conn. / Southington), who was one of two Generals to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championship a year ago. Bylykbashi finished third in his weight class at the NCAA East Regional and completed his season one win shy of earning All-America laurels at Nationals. He is a two-time Centennial Conference runner-up at 133 pounds and he will enter his junior season with a 60-16 career record.
Kaminer claims a 51-40 career record and is a two-time NWCA Scholar All-American. He finished as the conference runner-up at 285 pounds last season and was sixth in the same weight class at the 2017 NCAA East Regional.
Lefore has produced a 42-29 record across his three seasons and he is a two-time placewinner in the Centennial Conference Championship at 174 points. He finished in third-place at the CC Championship last season.
Washington and Lee opens its 2017-18 season on November 4, when it hosts Ferrum for a 1:00 pm dual match.
Centennial Conference Wrestling Poll
1. Stevens (7) 49
1. Ursinus (1) 40
3. Gettysburg 34
4. Merchant Marines 33
5. Washington and Lee 28
6. McDaniel 18
7. Johns Hopkins 15
8. Muhlenberg 7