COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Led by unanimous preseason all-conference pick Luke McPeek (Albuquerque, N.M.) at 197 pounds, the Adams State wrestling squad has been picked for third in the 2011-12 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Preseason Poll, league officials announced Wednesday.
The Grizzlies received 35 points in the preseason voting in which league coaches voted for teams based on predicted finishing order without voting for their own team. Defending RMAC champ Nebraska-Kearney was picked to repeat, receiving six of the 11 possible first place votes and 14 points.. Grand Canyon (Ariz.), an associate member of the RMAC in wrestling and third place a year ago, was tabbed for second and took four first place votes and 16 points total.
Adams State received the only other first place vote, and was picked to finish two spots higher than a year ago. Fort Hays State (44 points) and San Francisco State (51 points), also associate members in wrestling, round out the preseason top five.
After a runner-up finish in 2011, Western State was picked for sixth (56 points), followed by Colorado mesa (64 points), Colorado State-Pueblo (69 points), Chadron State (71 points), Colorado Mines (85 points) and New Mexico Highlands (100 points).
McPeek, a senior for the Grizzlies and a 2-time all-American at 197 pounds, heads up a group of four returning wrestlers with national championship experience for ASC. He earned his second career sixth place finish at 197 pounds in 2011 after having taken the same honors in 2009 while wrestling for New Mexico Highlands. McPeek finished the 2010-11 season with an overall record of 27-9.
Senior Josh Hensley (Alamosa, Colo.), missed the latter portion of last season with injury, but earned all-American honors with a seventh place finish at 141 pounds in 2010. He wrestled at 149 pounds last season, posting a 9-4 record.
Also back are sophomores Jerry Huff (Broomfield, Colo.) and Justin Samora (Cortez, Colo.). Huff, a true freshman last season, went 11-14 during the year and qualified for the NCAA Championships by virtue of placing fourth at the NCAA DII Super Regional 4/RMAC Championships final at 125 pounds. Samora, a 157-pounder, also placed fourth in the Super Regional 4/RMAC Championships as a redshirt-freshman last season.
The Grizzlies’ 2011-12 season will kick-off with the Green & White Dual at Plachy Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., before the squad heads to Larmie, Wyo., for the Cowboy Open on Nov. 12. The Grizzlies will host their first of five home duals during the season on Jan. 19, when they face Fort Hays State.