The American Rivers Conference has released the 2018-19 Preseason Coaches' Poll and Luther College has been picked to finish ninth.
Coming off back-to-back Conference Titles and a National Championship in 2017-18, Nebraska Wesleyan University is the coaches' pick to win the 2018-19 A-R-C championship. The Prairie Wolves earned 64 points in the poll and eight first-place votes. Loras College, the leagues' runner-up a season ago is picked second in the poll. Loras garnered 57 points and one first-place vote. The Duhawks and Prairie Wolves were co-conference champions in 2016-17.
Head Coach Mark Franzen, who begins his 13th season at the helm of the program, returns his top-five scorers from a year ago and only one is a senior. That senior is Jared Nicolaisen (New Hampton, Minn.). Nicolaisen has led the Norse in scoring the past two years and enters his final collegiate campaign with 769 career points.
The remaining list includes senior guard Spencer Sturges (Urbandale, Iowa), junior guards James Kappus (Tennessee Colony, Texas/Cayuga), Ray Whitlock (St. Louis Park, Minn.) and sophomore forward Rahul Bagga (Anaheim, Calif./Western). Kappus and Bagga finished second and third in scoring averaging 11.4 and 9.6 points per game a year ago. Whitlock was fourth in scoring with a 7.5 per game average, while Sturges averaged 5.6 points per contest.
Luther begins its season on the road at UW-La Crosse on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Luther's first home game will be Saturday, Nov. 17 against Bethany Lutheran College.