Richards Ranked No. 22 in Latest RPI Standings
Courtesy: for VMI
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Official NCAA Release

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA released qualifier allocations for the 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships as well as the latest coaches’ panel and Rating Percentage Index (RPI) for the 2016-17 season Thursday. VMI 157-pounder Neal Richards was listed at No. 22 for his weight class in the release.

The Southern Conference received 17 allocations and saw 28 student-athletes earn spots in one or both of the rankings.

The final rankings will be tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2017 NCAA Championships, which will take place March 16-18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The Southern Conference was allocated four NCAA qualifiers at heavyweight, three each at 125 and 184 pounds, two each at 149 and 157 and one each in the remaining weight classes.

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

To qualify for the NCAA Tournament, Richards will need to earn a top-two finish at the upcoming SoCon Tournament, although there is an outside chance he could earn an at-large bid should that not happen.

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 49 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; quality wins; coaches’ ranking; results against common opponents; RPI; qualifying event placement; and winning percentage.

The coaches’ rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. In order to be eligible for the rankings, wrestlers must have participated in at least five matches against Division I opponents in the weight class and have wrestled within the last 30 days. The RPI requires a minimum of 17 Division I matches to be eligible for a ranking.

The SoCon’s 26 ranked individuals are:

125 pounds (3 NCAA allocations)
Nathan Kraisser, Campbell (No. 14 coaches/No. 19 RPI)
Freddie Rodriguez, SIUE (22/23)
Vito Pasone, Appalachian State (25/30)
Alonzo Allen, Chattanooga (--/28)

133 pounds (1 NCAA allocation)
Colby Smith, Appalachian State (21/19)
Chris Debien, Chattanooga (--/32)

141 pounds (1 NCAA allocation)

149 pounds (2 NCAA allocations)
Matt Zovistoski, Appalachian State (18/18)
Chris Vassar, Gardner-Webb (28/20)
Ty Buckiso, The Citadel (31/--)

157 pounds (2 NCAA allocations)
Aaron Walker, The Citadel (27/20)
Austin Kraisser, Campbell (33/--)
Neal Richards, VMI (--/22)

165 pounds (1 NCAA allocation)
Tyler Marinelli, Gardner-Webb (26/20)
Forrest Przybysz, Appalachian State (29/33)

174 pounds (1 NCAA allocation)
Austin Trott, Gardner-Webb (24/18)
Nick Kee, Appalachian State (32/--)
Jake Residori, SIUE (--/32)

184 pounds (3 NCAA allocations)
Bryce Carr, Chattanooga (16/12)
Hunter Gamble, Gardner-Webb (18/16)
Ville Heino, Campbell (19/19)

197 pounds (1 NCAA allocation)
Sawyer Root, The Citadel (--/32)

Heavyweight (4 NCAA allocations)
Denzel Dejournette, Appalachian State (9/8)
Jared Johnson, Chattanooga (10/9)
Jere Heino, Campbell (24/18)
Boyce Cornwell, Gardner-Webb (29/28)
Jake McKiernan, SIUE (31/--)