INDIANAPOLIS - Eight University of Wyoming wrestlers were featured in the final NCAA rating percentage index, released Friday. The NCAA also released Coaches' Panel Rankings and qualifier allocations for the 2015 NCAA Wrestling Championship.
"I feel very positive on where we are at and I think it is a reflection of our schedule and the way we competed," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "We have a chance to wrestle our way to the national championships and our goal is to win conference titles as a team and individually."
The RPI, along with the NCAA Coaches' Panel Rankings and Division I winning percentage are the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. A wrestler must achieve two of the three tools to earn a spot for their conference at the NCAA Championship.
The Cowboys on the RPI list include senior Tyler Cox (11th at 125 pounds), senior Andy McCulley (12th at 174 pounds), senior Shane Woods (12th at 197 pounds), junior Tanner Harms (15th at 285 pounds), sophomore Benjamin Stroh (17th at 184 pounds), redshirt freshman Archie Colgan (28th at 157 pounds), senior Dakota Friesth (29th at 165 pounds) and sophomore Jake Elliott (30th at 149 pounds).
In the NCAA Coaches' Panel Rankings, Cox was 11th, McCulley was 14th, Woods was 14th, Harms was 22nd, Stroh was 18th, Friesth was 22nd, Elliott was 33rd and Colgan was unranked.
"Our focus is to make sure we take care of our business next week and not leave it in the hands of the committee," Branch said. "We have to go into next weekend and focus on winning conference titles and that's how you make it to NCAA Championships."
Wyoming led the Western Wrestling Conference with eight wrestlers listed in the RPI or panel rankings, followed by North Dakota State with six and the rest of the conference with two each. As a conference, the WWC had 22 wrestlers on the lists.
Wt. - Name (RPI Rank/Coaches' Ranking)
125: Senior Tyler Cox (11th/ 11th)
149: Sophomore Jake Elliott (30th/ 33rd)
157: Redshirt freshman Archie Colgan (28th/NR)
165: Senior Dakota Friesth (29th/22nd)
174: Senior Andy McCulley (12th/ 14th)
184: Sophomore Benjamin Stroh (17th/18th)
197: Senior Shane Woods (12th/14th)
285: Junior Tanner Harms (15th/22nd)
The NCAA announced on Friday the qualifier allocations for the 2015 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship and the Western Wrestling Conference/NCAA West Regional was awarded 19 spots. Last season, 15 automatic qualifier spots were awarded for the conference. The 19 automatic qualifier spots will be on the line at the WWC Championship/NCAA West Regional Tournament, hosted March 7 in Fargo, North Dakota.
"Overall as conference we have 19 automatic spots, which is four more than last year, which is huge and it shows our conference has improved and that is a good sign as are making strides," Branch said.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 70 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 11. 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. Six Cowboys in Cox, Friesth, McCulley, Stroh, Woods and Harms qualify for at-large bids.
"The important thing is we had six guys qualify for a spot for our conference and it gives them more than one opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships," Branch said.