CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Montana State University-Northern and University of Providence wrestling programs were selected third and fourth, respectively, in the Cascade Collegiate Conference's preseason coaches' poll. The league unveiled the poll on Wednesday.
Northern received a first-place vote but finished five points behind No. 2 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and 16 points behind the league favorite, Menlo College. The Oaks received eight first-place votes, while Embry-Riddle, the defending conference champion, had three.
The Lights finished 10th at the NAIA Championships last spring, with three athletes earning all-American status -- Brandon Weber (second place), Isaac Bartel (second place) and Andrew Bartel (third place). Weber and Andrew Bartel capped their careers as three-time and two-time all-Americans, respectively, for head coach Tyson Thivierge.
Isaac Bartel will lead the Lights in 2019-20, and will be joined by former Colstrip four-time state champion and Campbell University transfer Clayton Currier. Former Billings Skyview state champion Brock Bushfield also transferred to MSUN after originally playing football at Rocky Mountain College.
Nick Kunz, Chase Short and Jace Stokes each qualified for the NAIA Championships last season and will provide leadership for Thivierge's squad.
Providence finished 25 points behind the Lights at No. 4 in the Cascade's preseason poll. The Argos finished 12th at nationals in March, with Adrian Lyons-Lopez placing fifth and Casey Dobson seventh in their respective weight classes. Lyons-Lopez finished his senior season with the fifth-place finish, but Dobson enters his redshirt senior campaign this winter.
TJ Baun tallied a win at nationals a year ago, while redshirt senior Shonn Roberts of Columbia Falls advanced to the quarterfinals. John Hensley returns for his redshirt senior season after also reaching the quarterfinals a year ago. The trio will be relied on for leadership in Steve Komac's first year as interim coach of the Argos.
Komac's sons, Jarren and Jordan, are both members of the Argo wrestling program after competing for their father at Great Falls High.
The 2019-20 Cascade Collegiate Conference preseason wrestling poll can be found below. The first NAIA national wrestling poll of the season will be released on Halloween, Thursday, Oct. 31.
2019-20 CCC Men’s Wrestling Coaches’ Preseason Poll
Team (First-place Votes) Points
1. Menlo College (8) 140 pts
2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (3) 129 pts
3. Montana State Northern (1) 124 pts
4. University of Providence 99 pts
5. Southern Oregon University 92 pts
6. Eastern Oregon University 84 pts
7. Life Pacific University 67 pts
8. Corban University 54 pts
9. Arizona Christian University 42 pts
10. Simpson University 37 pts
11. Warner Pacific University 33 pts
12. Vanguard University 31 pts