INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA announced on Thursday that the NCAA West Regional Tournament/Western Wrestling Conference Championships has been allocated 17 automatic qualifier spots for the 2012 Division I Wrestling Championships. Only members of the WWC earn bids to the NCAA Tournament at that event.
The NCAA also released that the WWC had 22 wrestlers named in the final Coaches’ Panel Rankings and Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for the 2011-12 wrestling season. Utah Valley 149-pound junior Josh Wilson was the lone Wolverine to make the lists as he is ranked 18th on the coaches ranking and 17th on the RPI.
The breakdown of the 17 automatic bids per weight class for the West Regional/WWC Championships, are as follows: 125 pounds (2), 133 (2), 141 (1), 149 (2), 157 (3), 165 (2), 174 (1), 184 (2), 197 (1) and Heavyweight (1).
Last season, the NCAA West Regional Tournament, at which all WWC institutions currently compete to qualify for nationals, was awarded 15 automatic qualifiers. The WWC was also given two additional at-large bids for a total of 17 spots.
The Western Wrestling Conference, which is in its sixth year of competition, is comprised of seven schools including Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
This year’s NCAA West Regional Tournament will take place March 4 and will be hosted by the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The three-day, NCAA Championships will be then be held in St. Louis, Mo., March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center.
Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.
For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class. Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.
The following is a list of WWC wrestlers in each weight class for both the coaches’ panel rankings, as well as RPI. Lists of complete coaches rankings and RPI are also attached.
Wyoming led the way with seven of its grapplers listed, while Northern Iowa had six and North Dakota State had four.
LBS., WWC Wrestler (Institution) Coaches’ Rank/RPI
125 – Michael Martinez (Wyoming) 17th/15th
125 – Trent Sprenkle (North Dakota State) 19th/18th
125 – Cruse Aarhus (Northern Iowa) NR/27th
125 – Aaron Pickrel (South Dakota State) 33rd/NR
133 – Joe Colon (Northern Iowa) 5th/7th
133 – Zach Zehner (Wyoming) 15th/10th
149 – Cole VonOhlen (Air Force 3rd/11th
149 – Josh Wilson (Utah Valley) 18th/17th
149 – Mark Erickson (North Dakota State) NR/32nd
157 – Steven Monk (North Dakota State) 10th/10th
157 – David Bonin (Northern Iowa) 20th/23rd
157 – Andy McCulley (Wyoming) 31st/28th
165 – Shane Onufer (Wyoming) 3rd/3rd
165 – Gabe Burak (Northern Colorado) 8th/12th
165 – Riley Banach (Northern Iowa) NR/26th
174 – Pat Martinez (Wyoming) 22nd/14th
174 – Clayton Gable (Air Force) NR/31st
184 – Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) 1st/1st
184 – Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) 7th/12th
184 – Mac Stoll (North Dakota State) 32nd/16th
197 – Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) 9th/8th
285 – Blayne Beale (Northern Iowa) 30th/NR