Six Utah Valley University wrestlers are ranked in the latest NCAA Coaches' Panel Ranking and Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The six ranked grapplers mark a program high for the Wolverines.
Redshirt freshman Taylor LaMont (22-2) leads the way by earning the No. 1 spot on the RPI at 125 pounds. LaMont becomes the first Wolverine in school history to be top ranked on any national poll. The 2017 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational champion also comes in ranked No. 6 at 125 pounds in the latest coaches' panel ranking.
Sophomore 165-pounder Demetrius Romero (23-4) is next as he too cracked the top 10 by being ranked fifth in the nation on the RPI and 16th in his weight class on the coaches' panel ranking.
The reigning Big 12 Conference Co-Wrestler of the Week, sophomore 174-pounder Kimball Bastian (12-5) is next by being tabbed 17th in his weight class on the RPI and 29th on the coaches' panel, while 184-pound redshirt freshman Gary Jantzer (18-10) is 18th on the RPI, sophomore 197-pounder Tanner Orndorff (17-10) is 18th on the RPI and 33rd on the coaches' panel and senior heavyweight Dustin Dennison (25-7) rounds out the list by being 28th on the RPI and 27th on the coaches' panel.
Not only does having six ranked wrestlers mark a program high for Utah Valley but also does having five ranked in the top 20.
The ranking marked the second of four coaches' panel rankings and the first reveal of the RPI. The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. This year's event is March 15-17, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, RPI and coaches' rankings to earn spots in their qualifying tournaments for the 2018 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. 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 RPI rankings require a minimum of 17 matches against other Division I competition to earn a ranking. The RPI factors winning percentage, opponent winning percentage and opponents' opponent winning percentage.
The Wolverines, who are currently ranked 25th in the nation in the latest USA Today/NWCA Division I Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history, continue dual action at No. 17 Wyoming on Friday and Air Force on Saturday. Both contests begin at 7 p.m. MT, and they will be streamed live on FloWrestling.org (for a fee).
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.