INDIANAPOLIS – Heading into postseason competition, five South Dakota State wrestlers have maintained or improved their standings in the latest coaches’ panel Division I rankings, which were announced Thursday.
Seth Gross continues as the highest-ranked Jackrabbit with a second-place showing in the 133-pound weight class. A sophomore from Apple Valley, Minnesota, Gross has compiled a 27-1 overall record, including a perfect 17-0 mark in duals.
Gross also is ranked as the fifth-most dominant wrestler in all of Division I this season as he has averaged 4.69 team points in matches against D-I opponents. Overall, Gross has pinned 12 opponents and won another seven matches by technical fall.
Brothers Alex and David Kocer each moved up one position in their respective weight classes from the Feb. 10 rankings. Alex Kocer is 14th in the 149-pound rankings with a 24-6 overall record, while David Kocer stands 15th with a 20-7 mark at 174 pounds.
Holding steady at No. 18 in the 165-pound division is junior Luke Zilverberg. The Belle Plaine, Minnesota, native has turned in a 22-6 overall record so far during the 2016-17 season.
A total of 33 wrestlers in each of 10 weight classes are included in the coaches’ panel rankings. Wrestlers are measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches’ rankings to earn spots in their qualifying tournaments for the 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The coaches’ rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. In order to be eligible for the rankings, wrestlers must have participated in at least five matches against Division I opponents in the weight class and have wrestled within the last 30 days.
The five ranked Jackrabbit wrestlers will be among the 100 wrestlers competing for the 38 automatic berths allocated to the Big 12 Conference during the league championship March 4-5 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Of the 38 bids to the NCAA Championships, five will be awarded in the 165- and 197-pound weight classes. Five weight classes (125, 133, 141, 149 and 285) will have four automatic qualifiers, while the 157- and 174-pound weight classes will have three qualifiers each. The 184-pound weight class has been designated for two automatic qualifiers.
At the conclusion of the conference qualifying tournaments, a total of 49 at-large qualifiers across all weight classes will be selected by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee to fill out the 330-wrestler field, consisting of 33 wrestlers in each weight class.
Alex Kocer and Rotert each made their second appearances at the NCAA Championships last season, while Gross and David Kocer were first-time qualifiers in 2016.
The 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships for set for March 16-18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.