Keydet Wrestling Picked Sixth in SoCon
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The VMI wrestling team was picked to finish sixth in the 2019-20 Southern Conference standings and red-shirt senior Neal Richards was chosen to the pre-season All-SoCon team in a vote by the league’s head coaches released Tuesday.
Richards, wrestling at 174 pounds, earned the Southern Conference Wrestler of the Week honor a league-record five times last season. He was a two-time SoCon Wrestler of the Month and the conference’s regular-season Wrestler of the Year and tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, earning a trip to NCAA Division I Championship competition. He entered NCAA post-season competition on a 21-match win streak and finished the season 28-6 (6-0 in conference duals), with 10 pins, six technical falls and six major decisions. He is ranked 17th in his weight class in pre-season rankings from Intermat.
“It’s exciting to see Neal as the favorite to earn his second straight SoCon title,” said VMI head coach Jim Gibson. “He’s putting himself in a position to have a final opportunity at the NCAA Championships.”
The Keydets finished the 2018-19 regular season in fourth place in the SoCon standings with a 3-3 record, the program’s best league mark since the 2006-07 campaign. The conference welcomes new member Presbyterian College (S.C.) for the 2019-20 season, expanding the number of teams to eight.
“The conference continues to grow, and become more challenging,” said Gibson. “Our wrestlers need to be well prepared, and ready to face this challenge. I’m excited to see where this season leads us.”
VMI opens the season next Sunday, November 3 at the Hokie Open in Roanoke, Va. The Keydets also host the annual Intrasquad scrimmage this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in Cormack Hall.
2019-20 SoCon Wrestling Preseason Coaches Poll
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Campbell (7) 49
2. Appalachian State 41
3. Chattanooga (1) 39
4. The Citadel 28
5. Gardner-Webb 26
6. VMI 20
7. Davidson 14
8. Presbyterian 7
2019-20 SoCon Wrestling Preseason All-Conference Team
125 Korbin Meink, Campbell
133 Codi Russell, Appalachian State
141 Josh Heil, Campbell
149 Tanner Smith, Chattanooga
157 Matt Zovistoski, Appalachian State
165 Quentin Perez, Campbell
174 Neal Richards, VMI
184 Andrew Morgan, Campbell
197 Rodney Jones, Chattanooga
HWT Jere Heino, Campbell