PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The pre-season conference polls are out for two of Plymouth State University's winter athletic teams, and the Panther wrestling and ice hockey squads are in the middle of the pack with the season openers just around the corner.
Plymouth State is ranked fifth out of 15 schools in the first New England Division III Wrestling poll, as released by the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA). The Panther ice hockey squad was picked 10th out of 13 teams in the ECAC Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Defending New England runner-up Trinity College was picked in the top spot in the New England Division III wrestling poll, one place above defending champion Springfield. WPI finished in third in the poll, followed by Norwich and Plymouth State. Wesleyan, Bridgewater State, Rhode Island College, Johnson & Wales and Roger Williams round out the top 10.
Plymouth State Wrestling is coming off a 2002-03 season that included a 4-9 dual meet record, a 10th place at the Conference Dual Meet Championships, and a strong third-place finish at the New England Championships. Led by second-year head coach Don Perrin, the first competition for the Panthers this season is Nov. 22 at the Oneonta (N.Y.) State Invitational.
Defending ECAC Northeast champion Wentworth Institute of Technology is the coaches' choice to claim this year's hockey title, receiving 12 of 13 first-place votes. Curry received the other top vote and finished second in the poll, followed by Lebanon Valley, Fitchburg State, UMass Dartmouth, Salve Regina, Worcester State and Johnson & Wales. Teams predicted to finish out of the playoff picture include Suffolk, Plymouth State, Western New England, Nichols, and Framingham State.
Plymouth State Ice Hockey is led this season by new head coach Brett Tryder, who was an assistant the past two years. The Panthers will be out to improve on last year's 5-12-5 overall and 3-9-4 conference records. PSU's season opener is Saturday, Nov. 15, against Stonehill at Waterville Valley Ice Arena (6:00 p.m.).
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