Wrestlers finish strong in final RPI/Coaches release; NCAA allocations announced

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team, ranked No. 1 in the nation, now knows its road map to the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships with the announcement of the conference-by-conference allocation of automatic qualifiers. The Big Ten leads all-conferences with 74 automatic qualifiers.

A total of 29 automatic qualifiers at each weight class have been distributed amongst the nation's qualifying conferences and regionals. Four at-large spots will be awarded at each weight class at the conclusion of all the nation's qualifying events. The Big Ten topped the list overall as well as at each weight class. The conference garnered seven at 125, eight at 133, six at 141, six at 149, eight at 157, eight at 165, seven at 174, seven at 184, eight at 197 and nine at 285.

The EIWA was second nationally with 47 total qualifiers while the MAC was third with 41. The ACC checked in with 34 and the Big 12 with 24. The EWL will receive 22 qualifiers, the PAC 12 17, the Southern Conference 16 and the West Regional 15. A wrestler must earn either a gold or silver standard to earn an allocated spot for the conference at their designated weight class. A gold standard wrestler means a wrestler met threshold level in winning percentage at their designated weight (.720), final official NCAA RPI (top 33) and final NCAA official coaches ranking (top 33). A sliver standard wrestler means the wrestler met two of those three standards (with a .710 win percentage).

All 10 Penn State wrestlers were either ranked among the top 33 in RPI, top 33 in the coaches poll or both. Junior Nico Megaludis (Murrysville, Pa.) earned the conference a spot at 125 with a No. 2 RPI and No. 2 coaches rank. Red-shirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon (Latrobe, Pa.) secured the conference a spot at 133 with a No. 12 RPI and No. 15 ranking. True freshman Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa.) grabbed a 141-pound spot for the Big Ten with the nation's No. 1 RPI and a No. 2 nod from the coaches. Senior James English (York, Pa.) was ranked No. 26 in the final coaches poll at 149 but did not meet minimum bouts wrestled for an RPI listing and his win percentage vs. Division I competition was bronze standard, not gold or silver. Junior Dylan Alton (Mill Hall, Pa.) earned a 157-pound qualifier for the conference with No 6 RPI and a No. 11 ranking.

Senior David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) secured a qualifier at 165 with the nation's No. 1 RPI and the No. 1 nod from the coaches while junior Matt Brown (West Valley City, Utah) earned the Big Ten a 174-pound slot with a No. 5 RPI and No. 5 ranking. Senior Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) garnered a qualifier slot at 184 for the conference by virtue of his No. 3 RPI and No. 2 ranking. Sophomore Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) pocketed a qualifier for the Big Ten at 197 with the No. 2 RPI and a No. 3 nod from the coaches. Junior Jon Gingrich (Wingate, Pa.) secured a heavyweight qualifier for the Big Ten with a No. 12 ranking and a No. 14 RPI.

Wrestlers who earned the conference an automatic qualifier spot still must place among those top spots at their specific weight classes to earn an automatic trip to nationals. Earning the conference a slot does not guarantee the wrestler a spot in the NCAA Championships on March 20-22 in Oklahoma City. There are a total of 40 at-large bids up for grabs later, four at each weight class.

Head coach Cael Sanderson and his Nittany Lions ended the dual season with a superb 15-1 mark, 7-1 in Big Ten action and owners of their second Big Ten dual co-title in three years, sharing the crown with Iowa and Minnesota. Penn State will trek to the 2014 Big Ten Championships on March 8-9. The two-day event, the national qualifier for the Big Ten, takes place at the University of Wisconsin's Kohl Center. Action begins at 11 a.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Central) on Saturday, March 8. Saturday and Sunday morning will be aired online via the BTDN. The BTN will broadcast only the Big Ten finals live on Sunday. 

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Last Updated February 27, 2014