Penn State put seven of its 10 wrestlers into the NCAA Wrestling Championship by automatic qualifying bid exiting the Big Ten tournament on Sunday. The three who didn't place high enough to earn an auto bid were Kade Moss (141), Luke Frey (157), and Garett Hammond (165). Later this week the NCAA seeding committee will release their list of wild card berths. Let's take a quick look at each of our three Lions to see how they shake out in the hopes for a wild card.
The seeding committee assigned 27 (out of 33 bids) to conference qualifying tournaments at 157lbs. That leaves six wild cards available to be assigned this week. Now that all conference qualifying tournaments have concluded, we know exactly which 27 wrestlers earned each of those bids - and which wrestlers joined Luke Frey in the pool of hopefuls, waiting for a wild card life line. Below is a table of the wild card candidates.
|16||15||Collica||Oklahoma State||Big 12||No||2|
|NR||NR||Frey||Penn State||Big Ten||No||12|
When Luke lost the 9th place match to Iowa's Mike Kelly, it effectively doomed his chances (and saved Kelly's). Because Luke didn't start wrestling at 157lbs until February, he didn't accumulate enough matches at the weight to earn an RPI. And, of course, Luke wasn't ranked by the coaches - Dylan Alton was, because Luke didn't earn the spot in the lineup until the week preceding Big Tens. Without an RPI or Coaches' Rank, and having placed 10th, behind Iowa's Kelly, Luke falls to the bottom of the pack hoping for a wild card. With only six spots available, it appears the life lines run out.
|16||18||Morales||West Virginia||Big 12||No||2|
|17||19||Heil||Oklahoma State||Big 12||No||3|
|20||25||Rodriguez||Iowa State||Big 12||No||4|
|33||28||Reynolds||Oregon State||Pac 12||No||10|
|25||NR||Moss||Penn State||Big Ten||No||11|
|33||NR||Schilling||Cal Poly||Pac 12||No||14|
There are 8 wild card spots available at 141lbs. So, that's good news. Harvard's Todd Preston, who appears to be first in line, injury default from the EIWA tournament. If he can't go, you can move everyone in the table up one rung - more good news. One last bit of hope for Kade - there's not much difference between #7 in the list, and Kade, whom we've ordered as #11. And don't be spooked by Maryland's Shyheim Brown appearing immediately behind Kade - Brown didn't make it as far as Kade at Big Tens, and thus can only be selected after Moss (as we understand things - which is why Michigan's Fisher, who beat Illinois' Rodriguez, leads the Big Ten contingent).
The bad news - Kade lost to Zeisloft, currently sitting at #9 in this list. It's going to be a tough climb into that top 8.
|1||1||Dieringer||Oklahoma State||Big 12||No||1|
|2||2||Moreno||Iowa State||Big 12||No||2|
|19||15||Hammond||Penn State||Big Ten||No||4|
|18||21||Fierro||CSU Bakersfield||Pac 12||No||5|
|21||20||Rohskopf||North Carolina State||ACC||No||7|
Like 141 lbs, 165 holds 8 wild card spots open. And as you can tell from this giant list, there will be a ton of wrestlers waiting anxiously this week for good news.
Garett lost his 9th-place match with Iowa's Nick Moore, so he'll fall into line behind him. Thankfully, Moore racked up some good numbers during the season, and should be one of the first in line. So did Garett - which is even better news. After the top 3, Garett's the only wrestler - of the 21 hopefuls - to hold both Coaches' and RPI rankings in the teens. That should leave him immediately behind Moore in the queue - and, hopefully, gets him a spot in the NCAA's field of 33 wrestlers.