California Baptist University’s wrestling team took second place Feb. 4 at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in Colorado Springs.
Lennie Zalesky, head coach, sent 10 wrestlers to compete in the RMAC Championship and five wrestlers competed for individual championships in their respective weight classes.
The Lancers, ranked No. 14, were unable to obtain a consecutive championship victory. The team fell a couple points short with a finishing score of 100.5 while Colorado State University, Pueblo, won first place with 116.5 points.
Zalesky said having five wrestlers in the finals provides a positive outlook for the team.
“We could’ve had a couple of others in there,” Zalesky said. “We would’ve needed one more finalist to win, but the team wrestled well.”
Zalesky said he recognized the amount of hard work his athletes went through to strengthen the team.
“We had a lot of dual meets this year; we had a lot of guys injured and we lost a couple of matches by forfeit,” Zalesky said. “It really comes down toif we can be a top-10 team; I would be happy.”
Zalesky said his next goal is to accumulate a total of six wrestlers for the regional tournament in Golden, Colo..
“We have a shot at regionals,” Zalesky said. “We have three that are favored to go and four other wrestlers have to fight to get there.”
Jacob Waste, senior criminal justice major, said the RMAC championship was a good step for the team’s growth.
“We have been battling injuries this year,” Waste said. “It’s a good movement forward as a team. We can realize how close we can be and receive more mat time.”
Waste also said this season turned out to be a good one considering the obstacles the team had.
“We’ve had a lot of adversities to overcome,” Waste said. “Adversity builds character and if we keep overcoming these hurdles, we’ll be fine.”
Waste said his goal is to win the regional championship.
“I am ranked No. 1 in the region,” Waste said. “My goal is to win the regionals and move on to nationals.”
Team members said they are working hard to compete in the NCAA Division II Super West Region Championships Feb. 24-25 in Golden, Colo.
March 10-11 the qualifiers will wrestle in the NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala.
Zalesky will continue training his athletes in order to succeed in the championship.