NCAA Wrestling Automatic Qualifications Announced

PHILADELPHIA – The NCAA announced the automatic qualification allotments for the 2015 NCAA Championships at the Scottrade Center in Saint Louis, Mo. from March 19-21, and the EIWA will compete for 42 automatic berths to the national championships when the 16 member schools convene in Bethlehem, Pa. for the EIWA Championships next weekend.
The 42 automatic qualification spots are second-most among the eight qualifying tournaments, allowing plenty of opportunities for Penn wrestlers to earn automatic entry to the NCAA Championships.

Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on the current year’s data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage at the weight class, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches ranking.

For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class. Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.

The EIWA will compete for the following automatic qualifying spots at the EIWA Championships to be held at Lehigh University:
125: Three
133: Three
141: Five
149: Three
157: Seven
165: Four
174: Two
184: Five
197: Five
285: Five
Breaking down where the Quakers stand in each weight class entering the EIWA Championships:

125: Jeremy Schwartz (1-9)
Sophomore Jeremy Schwartz has battled a rigorous dual meet schedule this season, with four matches against wrestlers ranked inside the Top-33 of the Coaches Panel and RPI. Eight of his 10 matches have been inside the EIWA, prepping him nicely for probable opponents next weekend.

133: Caleb Richardson (20-8) Coaches Panel: No. 17 | RPI: No. 22 | Win Percentage: .714
Penn’s overall leader in wins this season with 23 total victories – 20 against Division I opponents – Caleb Richardson is battle-tested entering postseason competition with nine bouts against wrestlers also ranked inside the Coaches Panel. Richardson is 3-6 in those matches, and is the third-highest rated EIWA wrestler in the weight. Richardson is 10-2 against EIWA opponents this season and has won eight of his last nine bouts. A NCAA qualifier last season at 125 pounds, Richardson is squarely in the national rankings around the country with spots in InterMat (#20), TheOpenMat (#18), (#22), FloWrestling (#20) Amateur Wrestling News (#19) and WIN Magazine (#15).

141: Jeff Canfora (14-10) Coaches Panel: NR | RPI: No. 32 | Win Percentage: .583
Jeff Canfora has 17 overall wins this season, with 14 coming against Division I opponents. After starting the season at 149 pounds, Canfora dropped down to 141 for the dual meet season and put together a 12-7 record at the weight he will compete in at EIWAs next week. Canfora has a 1-4 record against wrestlers inside the Coaches Panel Top-33 and a 2-4 record against opponents who are ranked in the Top-33 of the RPI. Canfora is 7-6 overall against EIWA opponents this season, and 6-4 at 141 against conference opponents.

149: C.J. Cobb (16-3) Coaches Panel: No. 11 | RPI: No. 12 | Win Percentage: .842
C.J. Cobb has been remarkably consistent for the Quakers this season, entering the EIWA Championships in a 12-match winning streak and without a loss since January 11. Cobb owns the Red and Blue’s highest win this season, defeating No. 6 Chris Villalonga of Cornell in sudden victory on January 24. Overall, Cobb is 2-1 against opponents inside the Coaches Panel and RPI. Inside the EIWA this season, Cobb is 10-0 against non-redshirts and he was 11-1 in dual meets this season. Cobb is a fixture in the various national rankings, with spots in InterMat (#8), TheOpenMat (#9), (#11), Flowrestling (#10), Amateur Wrestling News (#13) and WIN Magazine (#10).

157: Brooks Martino (9-9) Coaches Panel: NR | RPI: No. 33 Win Percentage: .500
Brooks Martino is 11-9 overall this season and 9-9 against Division I wrestlers in his first full season on the mats for the Quakers. A strong schedule has bolstered Martino’s resume, slotting him at No. 33 overall in the RPI. He is 1-5 against Top-33 wrestlers in both the RPI and Coaches Panel, highlighted by a win over Brown’s Justin Staudenmayer who is No. 18 in the Coaches Panel and No. 12 in the RPI. There are seven automatic spots up for grabs at EIWAs next week, and Martino should be prepped for a run at one of them with an 8-2 mark inside the EIWA this season.

165: Ray Bethea (7-2) Coaches Panel: No. 32 | RPI: NR | Win Percentage: .778
Ray Bethea’s overall resume for an NCAA bid is a tough one to navigate. He is 10-4 overall this season, and 7-2 competing at 165 pounds. Those numbers are not high enough to qualify for an RPI to be counted, but he has done the work on the mat to earn a No. 32 Coaches Panel ranking and his win percentage at his weight is a staggering .778. Battling injuries all season, Bethea has put together a 2-1 record against wrestlers inside the Top-33 of the Coaches Panel and RPI, headlined by wins over Army’s Coleman Gracey (No. 17 in Coaches Panel and RPI) and Princeton’s Jonathan Schleifer (No. 26 Coaches Panel and No. 19 RPI) in recent weeks.

174: Brad Wukie (8-5) Coaches Panel: NR | RPI: NR | Win Percentage: .538
Returning EIWA finalist and NCAA qualifier Brad Wukie has started to regain the form he showed at the end of last season, winning five consecutive matches to end the regular season. After missing the entire first semester, Wukie needed a month to get back into match shape and it has shown over the final three weeks of the regular season. He is 10-6 overall this season, and 8-5 against Division I competition. Wukie has a signature win to his credit, knocking off Iowa State’s Tanner Weatherman who is ranked No. 12 in the Coaches Panel and No. 6 in the RPI.

184: Lorenzo Thomas (20-4) Coaches Panel: No. 7 | RPI: No. 14 | Win Percentage: .833
Returning All-American Lorenzo Thomas has continued his presence in the upper echelon of the country’s 184-pounders this season, wrestling to a 22-4 overall record and a 20-4 mark against Division I opponents. Thomas has been tested 11 times by opponents inside the Top-33 of the Coaches Panel and RPI, and has built a 7-4 records against those opponents. Three of his four losses have come to the Nos. 1-3 wrestlers in the nation, and he owns two wins over the No. 7 and 12 wrestlers. Thomas is 9-2 against EIWA opponents this season, and he leads the Quakers with 15 bonus point wins. Thomas has been a Top-10 wrestler all season according to the national rankings and he enters the conference tournaments with the following ranks: InterMat (#7), TheOpenMat (#7), (#8), Flowrestling (#8), Amateur Wrestling News (#6), WIN Magazine (#7).

197: Canaan Bethea (13-5) Coaches Panel: NR | RPI: No. 20 | Win Percentage: .722
After missing the first semester of the season, Canaan Bethea has ran into a tough group of EIWA wrestlers at 197 pounds but has built a 13-6 overall record and a 13-5 mark inside Division I. All five of his Division I losses have come to opponents ranked No. 11 or higher in the Coaches Panel, and Bethea is 1-5 overall against Top-33 opponents. Last weekend, after splitting a pair of matches in his final competition at The Palestra, Bethea boarded a flight to Colorado and won two matches at the U.S. Western Open to reach the 17 matches needed to calculate an RPI, this adding an addition automatic qualifying spot for the EIWA.

285: Patrik Garren (8-13)
Freshman Patrik Garren has jumped right into the grind of the heavyweight ranks this season, posting an 11-13 overall record and going 8-13 inside Division I. He has dealt with four Top-33 Coaches Poll opponents inside the EIWA this season, going 0-4 in those bouts. In terms of opponents inside the RPI Top-33, Garren has gone 0-6. He has 12 overall matches against EIWA opponents this season, setting him up with plenty of experience heading into his first conference tournament.