The NCAA released Thursday the first of three coaches’ panel rankings for the 2010-11 wrestling season. The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, to be held in Philadelphia. Of the 10 starters, nine of head coach Kevin Dresser’s Virginia Tech Hokies are listed in the first official individual rankings.
Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches’ rankings to earn spots for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The coaches’ rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches across the nation. Each qualifying tournament has five coaches rank the top 33 wrestlers in two weight classes. For ranking purposes, coaches must select a wrestler as a starter at a designated weight class. In addition, coaches may only select one wrestler per weight class.
The top-ranked wrestlers at each weight class in the inaugural rankings are: Brandon Precin, Northwestern University (125 pounds); Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State University (133 pounds); Kellen Russell, University of Michigan (141 pounds); Kyle Dake, Cornell University (149 pounds); Steve Fittery, American University (157 pounds); Jordan Burroughs, University of Nebraska, Lincoln (165 pounds); Jonathan Reader, Iowa State University (174 pounds); Kirk Smith, Boise State University (184 pounds); Cam Simaz, Cornell (197 pounds) and Zachery Rey, Lehigh University (Heavyweight). The full rankings of each weight class are available at www.ncaa.com.
Junior Jarrod Garnett is ranked 11th at 125 pounds for the Hokies. Freshman Devin Carter is seventh at 133 pounds while senior All-American Chris Diaz is 11th at 141 pounds. ACC champion Brian Stephens is ninth at 149 pounds and junior ACC champ Jesse Dong is ninth at 157 pounds. Junior Pete Yates, who recently moved up to 165 pounds, is ranked 16th at that weight class while senior Matt Epperly sits at 30th at 174 pounds. At 184 pounds, Tommy Spellman is 19th and David Marone is 20th at the heavyweight class.
Tech (13-3) is ranked third in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches’ Poll and will have its hand full tonight at No. 16 Rutgers. The first bout is scheduled for 7 o’clock and can be seen for free on KnightVision, courtesy of Rutgers’ official website.
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).