INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Feb. 22, along with the updated NCAA Coaches Panel Rankings and Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). The Big 12 Conference has been awarded 45 automatic bids to the NCAA Championships. North Dakota State has five wrestlers currently listed on the NCAA national rankings.
North Dakota State has six wrestlers ranked:
125 Paul Bianchi, RFr. (22-11) — No. 26 Coaches / No. 25 RPI
*133 Cam Sykora, RSo. (18-8) — No. 28 / No. 30
149 Kyle Gliva, RSr. (21-10) — No. 28 / No. 27
***157 Clay Ream, RSr. (21-3) — No. 9 / No. 12
*165 Andrew Fogarty, RSo. (27-9) — No. 21 / No. 26
285 Dan Stibral, RSo. (18-12) — No. 33 / —
* — NCAA qualifier
The Big 12 Conference received the third highest amount of automatic qualifier spots, as the 12-team wrestling league will send 45 of its grapplers to the NCAA Championships via automatic bids. Only the Big Ten Conference and Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) were awarded more allocation spots than the Big 12 with 80 and 47 respective auto bids.
The breakdown of the 45 automatic bids per weight class for the Big 12 Championship is as follows: 125 (7), 133 (5), 141 (3), 149 (5), 157 (3), 165 (6), 174 (5), 184 (4), 197 (4), 285 (3).
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.
The Big 12 will determine its auto bids to the 2018 NCAA Championships at next week’s Big 12 Conference Championship that will be held March 3-4 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There, 10 wrestlers from North Dakota State along with 10 more apiece from No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 12 South Dakota State, No. 14 Wyoming, No. 15 Northern Iowa, Air Force, Fresno State, Iowa State, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah Valley and West Virginia will all vie to earn the automatic bids to nationals. For more information on the Big 12 Wrestling Championships, visit Big12sports.com.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 47 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 6. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; quality wins; coaches’ ranking; results against common opponents; RPI; qualifying event placement; and winning percentage.
The 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships takes place at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland March 15-17. For more information, visit NCAA.com/wrestling.