Zach Merrill was named the NCWA West Coast conference MVP.
Courtesy: Rachel McDaniel
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Host With The Most
Courtesy: CBU  
Release: 03/03/2013
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RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- For the first time in program history, California Baptist University played host to the National Collegiate Wrestling Association West Coast conference championships.

The Lancers ran away with the event, claiming eight of the 10 championships, and Zach Merrill was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

CBU earned 168 total points, most of all teams; second place Dixie State earned 113.

In all, CBU earned 12 automatic qualifiers for next week's NCWA National Championships in Allen, Texas. In addition, Bradford Gerl is attempting to earn a wild card qualification to make the trip.

The Lancers hosted USC, Dixie State, University of Utah, Sacramento State, San Jose State and UC Santa Barbara.

"It is not the competition we are used to facing," said Head Coach Lennie Zalesky. "We will be sure to run into some tougher competition when we get to nationals."

CBU experienced so much success they earned both qualifying spots in several weight classes.

Taylor Hall and Zachary McKenna took first and second at 125-pounds, both securing spots in the national tournament.

Dakota Thayer and Roman Delgado also took the top two spots at 133-pounds. Miguel Gallegos filled in for Gerl at 141-pounds and took first place and locked in a trip to Texas.

Despite the lower level of competition, the team still had to face a few individuals who are among the top wrestlers in the West Coast conference.

"There was about a half a dozen pretty tough guys wrestling against us," Zalesky said.

At 149-pounds Paul Miller passed through the rest of the competition to earn the championship. Kyle Acevedo placed third in that class.

Alec Smith, Kenneth Tribble and Paul Head also took home first place in their weight classes as CBU's home-mat advantage helped them to break down their competition.

Merrill was the best wrestler in the gym all day long yesterday, earning two pins in less than one minute and cruising to the heavyweight championship.

Merrill entered the day as the No. 8 wrestler in the NCWA, but after his performance he should move up even further in the rankings. He was also named the conference's Most Valuable Wrestler.

CBU will take its 13 qualifiers to Allen March 14-16 to try and secure some NCWA national championships.

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