Providence women

Providence is picked third in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, but the Argos have a bevy of returning talent plus two All-American transfers. 

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Providence women's wrestling team is picked to finish third in the Cascade Collegiate Conference coaches preseason poll released  Wednesday.

The Argos finished with 34 points, eight behind second-place Southern Oregon. Menlo (Calif.) is picked to win the conference with 48 points.

"As far as preseason goes I don't think the poll is far off," Argos coach Matt Atwood said. "We have a lot of new incoming girls that I think are going to do really well for us that I don't think were taken into consideration. I'm really excited about the group that we have this year. I'm expecting us to be one of the top teams."

Two of those incoming wrestlers, Ashley Gooman and Paige Respicio, will look to have an immediate impact. The duo, who both sat out last season after transferring from Midland University, have earned multiple WCWA All-American finishes during their career.

"Those two are going to have an immediate impact," Atwood said. "We also got a couple girls this year that were state champions multiple times that I think will make a big difference this year."

The Argos also bring back a loaded group of returners, highlighted by the Navarro sisters. After having a limited regular season schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Ira and Ivy finished in the top five at the NAIA National Invitational, with Ivy finishing as the runner-up.

"Obviously Ira and Ivy return and will be a big part of what we do this year," Atwood said. "Lana Hunt-Waddoups had a poor tournament last year at nationals, but I think she's going to do very well this year. Kaelyn Siason didn't get to compete last year, but she could be a high All-American for us."

Atwood said the return of a regular schedule will be a huge advantage for the squad.

"In a normal year we are able to get the girls 20-30 matches which gives us time to correct mistakes before the National Invitational," he said. "It's going to be a game-changer for us compared to last year. There wasn't a lot of times to make corrections to help them out through the year."

"Last year the most matches any of our girls got was three," he said. "Some of those girls didn't get any matches in before we went to the National Tournament. I don't think they performed the way I think they'll be able to perform this year. Ivy had more matches at the National Tournament than she had during the season, and she finished second."

The Argos will begin their season with a road dual against Eastern Oregon on Nov. 6. The Mounties picked fourth in the preseason poll.

"I'm excited to see where we sit in our conference," Atwood said. "I think our conference is one of the best conferences in the country. Once we start wrestling here in the first few weeks of the season we will see where we're at."

Corban (Ore.) is picked fifth, Life Pacific (Calif.) sixth and Simpson (Calif.) seventh. No other Montana college has a women's wrestling program.

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