After winning the program's first-ever conference championship, Cumberland first-year head coach James Hicks was voted Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year, as announced by the league office at the conclusion of the NAIA East Region Qualifier this past weekend in Marietta, Ga.
Cumberland tied Campbellsville University for the conference tournament championship. With 10 of the 11 schools in the NAIA East Region Qualifier members of the league, the event served as the Mid-South Conference Championships.
Five members of the Phoenix squad - juniors Sammy Rosario, Nate Croley, Orlando Nawade and Kyle Delaune and sophomore Dustin Harris - all finished second, and juniors Peter Donchev and Matt Carroll both placed third, with all seven automatically qualifying for the national tournament.
Two other Cumberland grapplers - senior Tyler Smith and freshman Sean Nguyen - received wild cards this week into the NAIA Championships, which are set for March 4-5 in Topeka, Kan.
Hicks welcomed 12 newcomers to this year's squad, including Rosario, Nawade and Nguyen, and the squad posted a 9-9 dual match record, including victories over NCAA Division II opponents Anderson University and Coker College.