Head coach James Hicks enters his third season with the Phoenix and returns five starters from last year’s dual lineup but only one wrestler who earned a bid to the 2017 national tournament – senior Sean Nguyen. Cumberland graduated three All-Americans last season, all seniors – Nate Croley, Sammy Rosario and Kyle Delaune.
Nguyen posted a 16-11 mark at 125 in 2016-17, including 2-2 at the national tournament. Senior Austin Meyn was 11-6 at 141 last season before an injury in mid-January derailed his campaign.
Sophomore John Oliveiri was a bright spot for Hicks last year at 165, registering a 10-9 record (19-15 overall), including 2-2 at the NAIA East Region qualifier, while Jon Floyd finished 15-11 in the heavyweight class as a freshman, 4-2 at the East qualifier.
Campbellsville University received three first-place votes and 32 total points for first place in the preseason poll, with the University of the Cumberlands right behind with three first-place votes and 30 points. Lindsey Wilson was third with one first-place vote and 28 points, following by Life University (24 points) and then Cumberland (14). Southeastern University (11) and Brewton-Parker (8) rounded out the poll.
Cumberland will begin the 2017-18 season Nov. 4 at the Patriot Open in Williamsburg, Ky.