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Cody Bond
Cody Bond finished as the champion at the 149-pound weight class in the SoCon, after finishing as the runner up last season.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Four Appalachian State Wrestlers Nationally Ranked Prior to Start of SoCon Tournament

Four wrestlers from App State have top-33 national rankings within their weight classes in the Division I Coaches Rankings that were released Thursday, while two more are also included the RPI.

NCAA COACHES RANKINGS
* Ethan Oakley, No. 27 at 133 pounds
* Cody Bond, No. 22 at 149 pounds
* Tommy Askey, No. 21 at 157 pounds
* Will Miller, No. 22 at 165 pounds

NCAA RPI
* Ethan Oakley, No. 19 at 133 pounds
* Cody Bond, No. 17 at 149 pounds
* Tommy Askey, No. 24 at 157 pounds
* Will Miller, No. 32 at 165 pounds
* Luke Uliano, No. 27 at 174 pounds
* Jacob Sartorio, No. 30 at heavyweight

The rankings are relevant when determining at-large berths within the 33-wrestler brackets for each weight class at the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 21-23 in Kansas City, Mo.

Each champion in the 10 weight classes at the SoCon Championship tournament on March 9 in Boone will qualify automatically for the NCAAs. According to the NCAA pre-allocations announced Thursday, the SoCon’s second- and third-place finishers at 133 pounds, along with the second-place finishers at 149 pounds and 165 pounds, have also been pre-allocated to qualify automatically.

The SoCon has three wrestlers ranked among the top 28 spots at 133 pounds: Campbell’s Domenic Zaccone (No. 22), App State’s Oakley (No. 27) and Chattanooga’s Blake Boarman (No. 28). At 149 pounds, two SoCon wrestlers are ranked: App State’s Bond (No. 22) and Chattanooga’s Noah Castillo (No. 25), while the league also has two ranked wrestlers at 165: App State’s Miller (No. 22) and Campbell’s Dom Baker (No. 28).

Only the SoCon champion at the seven other weights will qualify automatically, with the league having a pair of top-33 wrestlers at 125 pounds (Campbell, Chattanooga) and 184 pounds (Gardner-Webb, Campbell). Wrestlers not earning automatic berths during the SoCon Championship will have to hope for at-large berths — there are between four to six at-large berths at each weight, giving wrestlers (primarily ranked ones) who don’t earn NCAA automatic berths chances to reach Kansas City, in the cases of upsets and bid-stealing wins from unranked wrestlers at conference tournaments.

The pre-allocations were determined by using a sliding scale of the three standards (win percentage, coaches ranking and RPI ranking) while never going below the base of .700 winning percentage, top 30 coaches ranking and top 30 RPI ranking until reaching the maximum of 29 wrestlers per weight class. For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his conference tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class.

The SoCon’s four pre-allocations for non-champions equals the 2021 total after it went down to three in 2022 and two in 2023. The number of at-large spots available nationwide has gone from 47 in 2021 to 64 in 2022, 46 in 2023 and 47 in 2024.

There are seven Division I wrestling leagues. The Big Ten, for instance, will get as many as 11 automatic qualifiers in one weight class (141) and at least seven automatic qualifiers in every other weight class.

SOCON PRE-ALLOCATION OUTLOOK
Weight Class Automatic allotments out of 33 spots nationally Automatic SoCon allotments SoCon wrestlers ranked in top 33
125 27 of 33 (6 at-large) 1 2
133 28 of 33 (5 at-large) 3 3
141 27 of 33 (6 at-large) 1 1
149 29 of 33 (4 at-large) 2 2
157 29 of 33 (4 at-large) 1 1
165 28 of 33 (5 at-large) 2 2­
174 29 of 33 (4 at-large) 1 1
184 28 of 33 (5 at-large) 1 2
197 29 of 33 (4 at-large) 1 1
285 29 of 33 (4 at-large) 1 1
NATIONAL PRE-ALLOCATION OUTLOOK
Conference 125 133 141 149 157 165 174 184 197 285 Total
Atlantic Coast Conference 2 3 3 2 2 2 4 4 4 2 28
Big 12 Conference 6 6 5 6 6 6 6 5 6 5 57
Big Ten Conference 9 7 11 9 9 10 8 8 7 7 85
EIWA 5 5 4 4 3 5 6 7 6 8 53
Mid-American Conference 2 1 1 3 5 1 2 2 2 3 22
Pacific-12 Conference 2 3 2 3 3 2 2 1 3 3 24
Southern Conference 1 3 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 14
Pre-Allocations 27 28 27 29 29 28 29 28 29 29 283
At-Large 6 5 6 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 47
After all the conference tournaments have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 47 at-large qualifiers, who will be announced on March 12. Brackets and seeding will be announced on NCAA.com at 8 p.m. on March 13.

The coaches’ rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class with two head coaches from each of the seven conferences. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. Wrestlers must have eight Division I matches in the weight class to be considered with at least one within the last 30 days.

The RPI is a calculation that consists of three factors: winning percentage, opponent winning percentage (strength of schedule) and opponent’s opponent winning percentage (opponent’s strength of schedule). Only matches against Division I opponents at the designated weight class count towards the RPI and a wrestler needs to have wrestled 15 matches to be ranked.

The coaches’ ranking and RPI are two of several criteria that will be evaluated during the at-large selection and seeding process along with head-to-head competition, quality wins, conference tournament placement, results versus common opponents and win percentage.