Coaches around the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference expect the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Fort Lewis College to compete for a conference title.
The 17th-ranked FLC men were selected first in the RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll released Monday. The FLC women’s team was selected second behind Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Last year, the FLC men finished 26-7 overall and 18-4 in the RMAC to finish second behind Colorado Mines, which hosted the South Central Region Tournament in Golden. FLC fell to Colorado Mines in the regional semifinal to see its season end, while Colorado Mines won the region and advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Colorado Mines was selected second behind FLC in this year’s preseason coaches poll. FLC received six first-place votes and 183 points. Mines received five first-place votes and 178 points, while Regis earned three first-place votes for 177 points. Westminster was fourth with 147 points, and Metro State earned one first-place vote and 146 points.
FLC senior Rasmus Bach was selected the RMAC Preseason Player of the Year, and fellow senior Brandon Wilson was named the RMAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Bach, a Preseason All-American and an All-Region player from a year ago, averaged 18.2 points per game last season and shot 54.4 percent. He also averaged 5.8 rebounds per game
Wilson, in his first year with FLC last season, averaged 8.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He also recorded 43 blocked shots in 31 games.
A young FLC women’s team surprised the RMAC last year with a 21-7 overall record and 16-6 mark in the RMAC. With the addition of freshman Vivian Gray, the No. 27 recruit in the country who spurned offers from powerhouse Division I programs to sign with the Skyhawks, FLC was picked second in the RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll.
CSU-Pueblo, the defending conference champion that lost its former coach, Jim Turgeon, to Denver University, was picked first with 12 first-place votes and 194 points. This year, the ThunderWolves will be led by head coach Curtis Lloyd. The FLC women, led by head coach Jason Flores, received two first-place votes and 174 points, and Regis was third with one first-place vote and 158 points.
The FLC women placed two players on the Preseason All-RMAC team in forward Alyssa Yocky and guard Briana Clah. FLC also will benefit from the return of Astrea Reed, who sat out last year with an injury after an All-RMAC caliber junior season in 2015-16.
CSU-Pueblo center Molly Rohrer was selected the RMAC Preseason Player of the Year, and her teammate Katie Cunningham was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The FLC women will open the regular season at home Nov. 10 against Texas-Permian Basin.
The FLC men will open the regular season at The Pit in Albuquerque against Eastern New Mexico at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 11.