Wrestlers inching up in RMAC

Each year the Mesa State College wrestling team makes a little progress.

This year, the RMAC wrestling coaches foresee the Mavericks making a little more.

The Mavericks, who finished ninth in the conference last year, are picked to finish seventh in the RMAC this season.

“The RMAC is tough,” Mesa State coach Chuck Pipher said. “I feel good about (being picked seventh).

We’ve got kids that can do some damage for us.

“Our goal is to move up the ladder and keep gaining on the rest of them. We’re getting more respect.

We want to get some All-Americans and national qualifiers, but it’s hard to do with a young program.”

Defending national champion Nebraska-Kearney is picked to win its eighth consecutive RMAC title with six first-place votes. The Lopers, who are ranked third in the coaches national preseason poll, have two preseason All-RMAC wrestlers in junior Ryan Etharton (149 pounds) and junior Taylor May (165).

Fourth-ranked Adams State is picked to finish second with preseason all-conference wrestlers
Raymond Dunning (133) and Noomis Jones (157). No. 5 Western State is picked third led by Charlie Pipher (184) and No. 9 Chadron State was chosen fourth led by preseason wrestler of the year Josh Majerus (197).

Pipher has four returning wrestlers that competed in regionals last year, including national qualifier Cole Johnson. The junior from Hotchkiss will wrestle at 165 this season.

Keith Johnson (149), Andy Laiminger (184) and Brandon Mohr (174) return this season. Junior Taylor Torisk is out this season with a knee injury.

Pipher expects junior college champions Chase Walker (157) and Shane Miller (197) and four-time California high school state champion Miguel Baltazar (125) to compete for a NCAA Division II national berth.

The Mavericks have their annual maroon & white scrimmage at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 at Brownson Arena before officially opening the season Nov. 15 at the University of Wyoming Open.


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