OREM, Utah - The NCAA announced on Thursday that the NCAA West Regional Tournament/Western Wrestling Conference Championships has been allocated 16 automatic qualifier spots for the 2013 Division I Wrestling Championships. Only members of the WWC earn bids to the NCAA Tournament at that event.
The NCAA also released that the WWC had 22 wrestlers named in the final Coaches' Panel Rankings and Rating Percentage Index for the 2012-13 wrestling season. Utah Valley had five of its wrestlers ranked as 125-pounder Jade Rauser is ranked 20th by the coaches and 13th on the RPI, 149-pounder Josh Wilson is 21st and 23rd on the coaches and RPI respectively, heavyweight Adam Fager is 33rd on the coaches and 25th on the RPI and 165-pounder Abner Cook and 197-pounder David Prieto are both ranked 32nd on the RPI.
The breakdown of the 16 automatic bids per weight class for the West Regional/WWC Championships, are as follows: 125 pounds (4), 133 (1), 141 (1), 149 (3), 157 (2), 165 (1), 174 (1), 184 (1), 197 (1) and Heavyweight (1).
Last season, the NCAA West Regional Tournament, at which all WWC institutions currently compete to qualify for nationals, was awarded 17 automatic qualifiers. The WWC was also given one additional at-large bid for a total of 18 spots.
The Western Wrestling Conference, which is in its sixth year of competition, is comprised of six schools including Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
This year's NCAA West Regional Tournament/WWC Championships will take place March 9 and will be hosted by the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo. The three-day NCAA Championships will then be held in Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23 at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index; and coaches' ranking.
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.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 13. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches' ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.
The following is a list of WWC wrestlers in each weight class for both the coaches' panel rankings, as well as RPI.
Of the 22 wrestlers ranked from the WWC, North Dakota State led the way with seven of its grapplers listed, while Air Force and Utah Valley each have five, and Wyoming has four.
Weight Class - WWC Wrestler (Institution) Coaches' Rank/RPI
125 - Trent Sprenkle (North Dakota State) 10th/14th
125 - Josh Martinez (Air Force) 11th/5th
125 - Tyler Cox (Wyoming) 14th/11th
125 - Jade Rauser (Utah Valley) 20th/13th
133 - Joshua Rodriguez (North Dakota State) NR/29th
133 - Dylan Hyder (Air Force) NR/33rd
149 - Cole VonOhlen (Air Force) 3rd/3rd
149 - Josh Wilson (Utah Valley) 21st/23rd
149 - Dustin Walraven (South Dakota State) NR/29th
157 - Andy McCulley (Wyoming) 16th/12th
157 - Josh Kreimier (Air Force) 17th/17th
165 - Steven Monk (North Dakota State) 6th/5th
165 - Abner Cook (Utah Valley) NR/32nd
174 - L.J. Helbig (Wyoming) NR/20th
174 - Kurtis Julson (North Dakota State) NR/30th
184 - Mac Stoll (North Dakota State) 22nd/15th
184 - Devin Hightower (Air Force) 31st/27th
197 - Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming) 4th/3rd
197 - Kallen Kleinschmidt (North Dakota State) NR/23rd
197 - David Prieto (Utah Valley) NR/32nd
285 - Adam Fager (Utah Valley) 33rd/25th
285 - Evan Knutson (North Dakota State) NR/30th
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.