INDIANAPOLIS — Five South Dakota State University wrestlers are ranked in the latest NCAA Coaches’ Panel Rankings, which were announced on Thursday.
Senior Cody Pack is the highest-ranked Jackrabbit wrestler, appearing at No. 5 in the 157-pound weight class. A three-time NCAA qualifier, Pack has compiled a 25-2 overall record during the 2015-16 season and has won nine consecutive matches.
A late-season surge has propelled Jackrabbit 141-pounder Seth Gross into the coaches’ panel rankings at No. 26. A redshirt freshman from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross has won nine of his 10 matches since the turn of the calendar year to enter postseason competition with a 21-11 record.
Brothers and Wagner natives Alex and David Kocer are each ranked 28th at their respective weight classes. Alex Kocer, a 2014 NCAA qualifier, has turned in a 22-8 overall record at 149 pounds, while David Kocer has compiled a team-leading 26 wins against 10 defeats in the 174-pound weight class.
All five ranked Jackrabbits plus 133-pounder Brance Simms are in the top 33 for rating percentage index (RPI) in their respective weight classes. Simms, a senior from Gilmore City, Iowa, dropped out of the coaches’ panel rankings but remains 33rd in RPI with a 15-11 overall record.
Wrestlers are measured by winning percentage, RPI and coaches’ rankings to earn spots in their qualifying tournaments for the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Allocations for automatic qualifying spots to the NCAA Championships were also announced on Thursday. The Big 12 Conference, of which South Dakota State is an affiliate member, was awarded 36 automatic qualifying spots. The largest number of allocations came in the 125-pound weight class with six. Three weight classes (133, 174 and 197) were awarded four automatic qualifying spots, while the six other weight classes (141, 149, 157, 165, 184 and 285) received three automatic qualifiers.
The Big 12 Wrestling Championship will take place March 5-6 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
A total of 284 automatic qualifying spots were awarded among eight Division I wrestling conferences. An additional 46 at-large qualifiers will be announced March 9 to complete the 330-wrestler field for the NCAA Championships March 17-19 in New York City.