Ninth-ranked Providence and 17th-ranked Montana State-Northern are set for the 2020 Cascade Collegiate Conference men’s wrestling championship, presented by U.S. Bank, which begins Friday in Atherton, Calif.
The Argos and Lights were among five CCC teams ranked in the top 20 of the latest NAIA coaches' poll. Eight Argos are ranked individually, including Shonn Roberts third at 149 pounds, Casey Dobson fourth at 157, John Hensley sixth at 197 and Justin Harbison sixth at 285. The Lights have four wrestlers ranked, including Isaac Bartel, who is second at 197 pounds.
Menlo (Calif.), the host of the conference tournament, is the highest-ranked team from the league at No. 6. Menlo topped the CCC preseason coaches' poll, as well.
Embry-Riddle, which won last year's title, is ranked 14th in the national poll. Life Pacific is tied with Northern at No. 17.
The other seven teams from the conference -- Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, Warner Pacific, Corban (Ore.), Arizona Christian, Vanguard (Calif.) and Simpson (Calif.) -- were all among the other teams to receive votes in the national poll, which can be found here. Eastern Oregon's Keegan Mulhill, a former Bozeman High standout, is eighth at 174 pounds in the individual rankings.
Friday's action of the conference tournament will feature head-to-head matchups up through the quarterfinal rounds, with Saturday consisting of the tournament semifinals and placement matches.
The CCC will receive a total of 44 automatic qualifiers to the NAIA National Championships across all weight classes, based upon how many representatives of the conference were ranked in each weight class in the most-recent individual top-20 poll. The champion of each class will advance to the NAIA National Tournament, as well as the placements labeled below:
125 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (five total)
133 – 2nd, 3rd (three total)
141 – 2nd (two total)
149 – 2nd, 3rd (three total)
157 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th (four total)
165 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th (five total)
174 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th (seven total)
184 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th (seven total)
197 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th (four total)
285 – 2nd, 3rd, 4th (four total)
In addition to the conference’s 44 automatic qualifiers, the CCC also possesses three ‘Wild Card’ selections, which allows the conference to send a trio of additional competitors to the national tournament who didn’t qualify via an automatic berth.
Qualifiers from this weekend’s event will earn the right to compete at the 63rd annual NAIA National Wrestling Championships in Park City, Kan. The tournament will be held at the Hartman Arena on March 6-7.
Last year, the CCC sent 49 individuals to the 2019 NAIA Wrestling National Championship, with Menlo producing a national champion in then-junior Anthony Orozco at 184 pounds. The Oaks, who picked up eight first-place votes and 140 points, took eighth as a team on the national stage. Orozco is back for his senior year and has been the top-ranked grappler in his weight class the whole year.
Live streaming, results, updated brackets and information on the teams involved are available here.
(Editor's note: Portions of a Cascade Collegiate Conference media release were used in this report.)