INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA released the first of four coaches’ panel rankings for the 2019-20 wrestling season today. The final rankings will be one of the criteria used as part of the selection process to determine qualifiers and seeding for the 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class with two head coaches from each of the seven conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, EIWA, MAC, Pac-12 and SoCon), which is double the amount of voters that had previously been used for the coaches’ panel rankings. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. 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 to be ranked.
Among the top-ranked wrestlers are five former national champions with Spencer Lee of Iowa (125 pounds in 2018 and 2019), Seth Gross of Wisconsin (133 pounds in 2018 at South Dakota State), Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State (165 pounds in 2017 and 2018), Mark Hall of Penn State (174 pounds in 2017) and 184-pounder Zahid Valencia of Arizona State (174-pound champion in 2018 and 2019).
The top-ranked wrestlers at the remaining weight classes in the inaugural rankings are Luke Pletcher, Ohio State (141 pounds); Pat Lugo, Iowa (149); Ryan Deakin, Northwestern (157); Kollin Moore, Ohio State (197) and Gable Steveson of Minnesota at heavyweight.
The first two rankings (Jan. 24/Feb. 13) are used primarily for educational purposes to promote the selection criteria to coaches, student-athletes, media and fans. The third ranking (Feb. 27) will be the ranking that will be used by the NCAA Wrestling Committee to assist in determining the advance allocations to each qualifying tournament. The final ranking following conference tournaments will be used to provide the most accurate and up-to-date rankings to the committee as an important element of the selection criteria during the in-person selection meeting.
Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches’ rankings to earn allocation spots for their qualifying tournaments for the championships.
The above criteria, in addition to head-to-head competition, quality wins, results against common opponents and qualifying tournament placement are all part of the evaluation process for selection and seeding the committee uses for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
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