Jacks maintain rankings in NCAA surveys

INDIANAPOLIS — All 10 South Dakota State starting wrestlers remain in the top 33 of their respective weight classes in either the NCAA Coaches Panel rankings or the first Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) of the season. Standings were announced Wednesday.

Leading the way for the Jackrabbits is 174-pounder Cade DeVos, who stands fourth in the coaches’ rankings, but second in RPI. A senior from Altoona, Iowa, DeVos enters the week with an 18-1 overall record.

Also ranked fourth at his weight class is senior 197-pounder Tanner Sloan. The NCAA runner-up in the weight class last season, the product of Alburnett, Iowa, is third in RPI after compiling a 17-1 record so far this season.

Redshirt freshman Bennett Berge holds the fifth-best RPI at 184 pounds and is ranked 12th by the coaches. The native of Mantorville, Minnesota, is 13-3 on the season.

In the lower weights, senior 125-pounder Tanner Jordan holds rankings of 14th by the coaches and 12th in RPI after posting a 20-6 record thus far during the 2023-24 campaign. At 133 pounds, sophomore Derrick Cardinal stands 16th in the coaches’ survey and 13th in RPI with an 18-6 record.

Midseason coaches’ rank and RPI for 2024 Division I Wrestling Championships

Others ranked in the top 20 of their weight classes from SDSU include 149-pounder Alek Martin and Cael Swensen at 157 pounds. Martin, a sophomore from St. Paris, Ohio, stands 19th in the coaches’ rankings and 14th in RPI with a 15-8 record, while Swensen holds a No. 16 ranking from the coaches and is 21st in RPI after posting a 16-6 mark.

Brookings native and redshirt freshman heavyweight Luke Rasmussen remains in the rankings at No. 30 while holding down the 27th spot for RPI. Rasmussen is 14-10 in his first season in the lineup.

Two other Jackrabbits appear in one of the two listings. Clay Carlson, 9-5 on the season, appears at No. 24 in the coaches’ rankings at 141 pounds but has yet to meet all the RPI ranking criteria. Senior 165-pounder Tanner Cook is unranked but checked in at the 33rd and final spot surveyed for RPI despite a 6-9 record.

The coaches’ rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class, with two head coaches from each of the seven conferences. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler who has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. Wrestlers must have eight Division I matches in the weight class to be considered, with at least one within the last 30 days.

The RPI is a calculation that consists of three factors: winning percentage, opponent winning percentage (strength of schedule) and opponent’s opponent winning percentage (opponent’s strength of schedule). Only matches against Division I opponents at the designated weight class count towards the RPI and a wrestler needs to have wrestled 15 matches to be ranked.

Currently no wrestlers sit atop both the coaches rank and RPI in their respective weight class. With many wrestlers still looking to reach the 15-match threshold to earn an RPI, the top of those rankings looks a little different than the coaches’ rank.

The third and final coach rankings of the regular season will be announced on Feb. 29, along with the designated conference allocations for filling the 330-wrestler field for the 2024 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will take place March 21-23 at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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