LANCASTER, Pa. – The Centennial Conference released its preseason wrestling coaches poll on Wednesday and Washington and Lee was selected to finish fourth out of the conference's eight wrestling teams.
Stevens received seven first-place votes and amassed 49 total points to top the polling. Gettysburg was second with 38 points, followed by the Merchant Marine Academy in third with 35 points and the final first-place nod. W&L amassed 31 points for fourth-place, while Johns Hopkins (27), Ursinus (22), Muhlenberg (14) and McDaniel (8) rounded out the polling.
The Generals are coming off one of the best seasons in recent program history, producing a 9-6 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the Centennial Conference last season. Additionally, W&L finished third at the Centennial Championship, its highest-ever placing in the conference.
The Blue & White returns 14 letterwinners and welcomes 13 newcomers for the 2018-19 campaign. Among the returnees are three 2018 Second Team All-Centennial Conference honorees and two wrestlers who have qualified for the NCAA National Championship at least once in their careers.
Among the top returnees is senior Zach Bylykbashi (Southington, Conn. / Southington), who was the Centennial Conference runner-up last season at 141 pounds, and was named the most outstanding wrestler of the NCAA Southeast Regional after claiming the regional crown. He claims an 88-26 career record and has twice qualified for the NCAA Championship.
Junior Rexx Hallyburton (Bishop, Ga. / Oconee County) and sophomore Bryce Crew (St. Mary's, Ga. / Camden County) also recorded runner-up finishes at the conference championship last season. Hallyburton returned from injury late in the season to notch a 10-3 overall record at 184 pounds, while Crew notched a 17-8 mark at 149 pounds during his rookie campaign, setting a new program record for pins in a season (13).
Also returning this winter is junior Joe Scott (Efland, N.C. / Orange), who logged a 20-9 overall record as a first-year in 2016-17. He was the Centennial runner-up at 165 pounds that season and won the NCAA East Regional title to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
Junior 165-pounder Shane Conners (Mount Airy, Md. / South Carroll) is another top returnee after posting an 18-8 overall record and finishing one win shy of qualifying for the NCAA National Championship last season.
Washington and Lee opens its 2018-19 season on November 3, when it travels to Ferrum College for a 1:00 pm dual match.
Centennial Conference Wrestling Poll
1. Stevens (7) 49
2. Gettysburg, 38
3. Merchant Marine Academy (1), 35
4. Washington and Lee, 31
5. Johns Hopkins, 27
6. Ursinus, 22
7. Muhlenberg, 14
8. McDaniel, 8