NCAA Automatic Qualifier Allocations Announced for Wrestling

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After an arduous regular season, No. 21 Penn now knows what awaits at the 109th EIWA Championships to be held at Rutgers University March 8-9. The NCAA announced the automatic qualifier (AQ) allocations for each conference, and the second-most bids of the 10 qualifying tournaments will be up for grabs when Penn takes the mat next weekend.

The EIWA received 45 AQs, second only behind the Big Ten which snagged 74. Of the ten weight classes, the EIWA was deemed strongest at 141 pounds where seven AQs were earned - the most automatic qualifiers at that weight for any conference in the nation. The EIWA joined the Big Ten as the only conferences with multiple AQs at every weight.

EIWA Automatic Qualifier Allocations
125 pounds: 4
133 pounds: 2
141 pounds: 7
149 Pounds: 4
157 pounds: 5
165 pounds: 5
174 pounds: 4
184 pounds: 5
197 pounds: 5
285 pounds: 4

The AQs were determined by a mathematical formula which includes the NCAA Coaches Panel rankings, a wrestler's RPI and his winning percentage. Wrestlers who reach 2 or 3 of those marks are able to earn an automatic qualifying spot for his conference. Penn's wrestlers which earned AQs for the EIWA are Mark Rappo, C.J. Cobb, Casey Kent, Canaan Bethea and Micah Burak.

The final NCAA Coaches Panel of the season was also released, and Penn featured six wrestlers in the Top-33 with Micah Burak the way at No. 8.

Burak, a returning All-American, is 12-2 overall this season, with a 4-2 record against Top-33 opponents. Both of his losses have come to wrestlers ranked ahead of him - No. 5 Nathan Scheidel of Binghamton and No. 7 Kyven Gadson of Iowa State. Burak does hold wins over No. 10 Jake Meredith of Arizona State, No. 19 Brandon Palik of Drexel, No. 29 Sterling Hecox of Brown and No. 30 James Fox of Harvard. Burak, a three-time EIWA finalist, is the highest-ranked EIWA wrestler at 197.

C.J. Cobb is 20-6 overall this season to earn the No. 9 spot at 141 pounds. A second-team All-Ivy selection, Cobb has posted a 6-4 record against wrestlers inside the Top-33, including a win over No. 8 Mike Nevinger of Cornell. Cobb also has secured wins over No.; 11 Steven Keith of Harvard, No. 12 Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech, No. 18 Frank Cimato of Drexel, No. 26 Anthony Salupo of Lehigh and No. 27 Luke Goettl of Iowa State this season.

Mark Rappo is ranked No. 15 at 125 pounds with a 20-4 overall record. An EIWA finalist in 2011, Rappo has a 3-3 mark against Top-33 opponents this season. He has suffered losses to No. 6 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell, No. 16 Sean Boyle of Michigan and No. 24 Dominick Malone of Northwestern, while defeating No. 17 Steve Bonnano of Hofstra, No. 31 Jeff Ott of Harvard and No. 33 Evan Silver of Stanford.

No. 24 Canaan Bethea has set a new career high in wins with his 21-7 record, and is primed to make a run at his first NCAA Championships. He is 2-3 this season inside the Top-33, with wins over No. 23 Kevin Radford of Arizona State and No. 30 Ophir Bernstein of Brown. His three losses to wrestlers in the Coaches Panel have all come inside the top-16.

No. 28 Casey Kent has wrestled the most matches inside the Top-33 of any Penn wrestler this season as the true freshman has taken on 10 Top-33 opponents. He has managed just two wins in those matches, but they were big wins. He defeated No. 10 Corey Lear of Bucknell in the dual and scored a win over No. 26 Johnny Greisheimer of Edinboro at Midlands. Kent's schedule has included losses to three-time defending national champion No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell, No. 3 Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State and four more to Top-20 wrestlers.

Ranked No. 33 at 174, Ian Korb is the final Penn wrestler inside the Coaches Panel entering the postseason. Korb has set a career high with 20 wins this season, and is 1-5 against top-33 opponents. His win was a 2-0 defeat of No. 30 Cameron Croy of Harvard, avenging an earlier loss at Midlands. Korb's other for defeats came to wrestlers ranked No. 23 or higher.