Still in title hunt
Despite loss to Western, Mavs could win RMAC regular season crown
Western State Colorado University spoiled Colorado Mesa’s hopes of an undefeated RMAC record, but it didn’t end the hopes of the Mavericks’ first RMAC wrestling title.
Colorado Mesa (18-2, 4-1 RMAC) could at least share the RMAC title if it can win its final three duals of the season, beginning tonight at New Mexico Highlands. The dual is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The key dual could be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Adams State University (6-3, 4-1 RMAC).
The No. 9 Mavericks (18-2, 4-1 RMAC) are coming off their first dual loss in 14 matches, losing to the rival Mountaineers 21-14 on Saturday night.
Mesa likely will stay with the same lineup it wrestled last week with Tyler Miles in place of Chester Granard at 165 pounds.
Adams State is receiving votes in the national poll but is not ranked. The Grizzlies have three nationally ranked wrestlers.
Jerry Huff is ranked eighth at 125 pounds. He beat out Colorado Mesa’s 125-pound freshman Jonathon Stelling for a varsity spot at Broomfield High School and was a state runner-up as a senior. Huff, a junior, was a national qualifier in 2011.
Ryan Fillingame is ranked third at 141 pounds, and Jarrod Purvis is ranked eighth at 174 pounds.
For the first time in the history of RMAC wrestling, an RMAC regular-season champion will be recognized this season, according to RMAC Associate Commissioner Eric Danner said. The champion will be based on the best RMAC dual record. If there is a tie, co-champions will be recognized. The team champion will receive a trophy at the RMAC/NCAA regional championships in Chadron, Neb.
New Mexico Highlands (4-5, 1-3 RMAC) won its first RMAC dual of the season last weekend, defeating Colorado School of Mines 21-20. The Cowboys lost to Adams State (30-12) and Chadron State (22-15) last week in addition to Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University earlier in the season. Highlands defeated California Baptist 22-17 earlier this season.
Highlands is led by Igor Gomzin of St. Petersburg, Russia. The 184-pound junior went 3-0 last week with one pin and two decisions.
Highlands was scheduled to wrestle Wayland Baptist (Texas) University on Tuesday night in Canyon, Texas, more than 200 miles away.
After their first loss of the season, the Mavericks returned to the court Tuesday as the No. 7 team in the nation, dropping three spots from last week in the USA Today/WBCA rankings.
Colorado Mesa (18-1, 14-1 RMAC) still has a two-game lead on CSU-Pueblo, CU-Colorado Springs and Metro State, all 12-3 and all having lost their one game against the Mavs this season. The regular-season conference champion will host the RMAC Shootout final four in March.
Sharaya Selsor is ranked third in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage this season (46.1), and Kelsey Sigl is eighth in field goal percentage (57.2). Mesa is sixth in scoring margin (19 ppg), 11th in rebound margin (8.5) and 15th in 3-point field goal defense (25.6).
Saturday night’s game against Chadron State (5:30 p.m. at Brownson Arena) is the Mavs’ “Pink in the Paint” game to raise money for breast cancer research. The players will wear personalized pink warmup shirts, which will be for sale in a silent auction. A limited number of warmup shirts are available without names and numbers. A framed autographed team poster of the Mavericks in their pink warmups will also be available through silent auction. Kathy Howa, a Mesa graduate who played softball and volleyball for the Mavericks and is a breast cancer survivor, will have her “Swing for Life” apparel for sale.
Mesa dropped out of the “receiving votes” category in the NABC coach’s poll after losing to Colorado Christian, but the Mavs (14-5, 11-4) remain in fourth place in the RMAC, three games ahead of Colorado School of Mines and CSU-Pueblo. Mesa won both meetings against the Orediggers and claimed their only meeting against the ThunderWolves, so they would have the tiebreaker advantage for seeding purposes in the RMAC Shootout. The Mavericks are one game behind Fort Lewis and two back of Adams State.
Metro State is still No. 1 in the nation, with Adams State up to No. 14 from No. 23 after defeating Fort Lewis last week. The Skyhawks fell from 14th to No. 20 this week.
The Mavericks will be closer to full strength this weekend, with the players benched last week for violating team rules reinstated this week. Landon Vermeer is still out with a back injury and said he hopes to return to practice next week. Shawn King, who has missed the past nine games with a pre-stress fracture of the pubic bone in his pelvis, said Tuesday he should be cleared to return to practice this week. He was back in practice gear Tuesday and allowed to start running. His playing status will be up to the coaching and medical staff as he gets back in game shape.
A series-opening loss to the University of California-San Diego dropped Colorado Mesa out of the national rankings this week.
The Mavericks (1-2) received eight votes in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division II coaches poll, which puts them out of the top 30. CMU was ranked 20th in the preseason poll.
UC-San Diego (2-1) moved up one spot from No. 23 to No. 22.
Colorado Mesa is off until Feb. 15–17 when it hosts Montana State-Billings in a four-game series at Suplizio Field.
Patti Arnold contributed to this report.