Rankings #10 Analysis

The most recent set of d3wrestle.com Rankings should be the last until after the regional tournaments. Here is some analysis of the rankings with regard to the six unequally sized regions used for NCAA qualification. Each region, regardless of size, will qualify 3 wrestlers at each weight to the NCAA Championships, thus creating a bracket with 18 competitors at each of the ten weights. The West is the smallest region with 11 teams, while the Northeast, East, and Mideast are the largest with 19 teams each.

d3wrestle.com Rankings #10 – February 14, 2017 | Current Regional Alignment

Every iteration of the d3wrestle.com Rankings has 26 wrestlers listed at each weight, and they are broken into the Top Ten, eight Contenders, and eight Honorable Mentions. The order of the wrestlers in the latter two categories is a loose, but by no means definitive, representation of position. The following table lists the share of ranked wrestlers for each category in each region.

Number Total Top 10 Cont. HM Percentage Total Top 10 Cont. HM
W 29 10 12 7 W 11.15 10 15 8.75
C 48 18 12 18 C 18.46 18 15 22.5
MW 46 19 13 14 MW 17.69 19 16.25 17.5
ME 56 18 18 20 ME 21.54 18 22.5 25
E 37 15 15 7 E 14.23 15 18.75 8.75
NE 44 20 10 14 NE 16.92 20 12.5 17.5

The West region, as has been the case for the entirety of the regional system, lags behind the other five regions in the rankings. This can be seen the performance of the regions over the past four years of the regional system. Click Here to see a breakdown of each region’s performance at the NCAA Championships over the past four years.

Another way to look at the rankings before the postseason is to see which weights in which regions have fewer than three wrestlers listed. If a weight has fewer than three listed for a region, that means a wrestler who is not currently among the top 26 wrestlers at his weight will qualify for the NCAA Championships. This table shows the number of ranked individuals at each weight per region.

125 133 141 149 157 165 174 184 197 285
W 2 2 2 2 3 3 5 2 3 5
C 3 8 5 5 3 5 5 8 3 3
MW 3 5 7 5 4 5 5 3 3 6
ME 6 5 7 7 5 5 5 6 6 4
E 5 4 2 3 7 3 3 2 4 4
NE 7 2 3 4 4 5 3 5 7 4

There are eight regional weight classes where a wrestler not on the final rankings will qualify for the NCAA Championships. Five of these are in the West, two are in the East, and one is in the Northeast. Half of the weight classes in the West are guaranteed to send at least one wrestler to the championships that does not appear in the latest d3wrestle.com top 26.

There are two main schools of thought when determining NCAA qualifying spots. The first is the idea that the NCAA Championships should have the 18 best wrestlers at each weight, regardless of where they go to school. The second is the idea that qualifiers should be geographically distributed. The current system implements neither school of though. More can be read about this HERE and HERE. There is some hope that the flaws in the current system can be corrected before the 2017-2018 season, but nothing is guaranteed.


  • Team No Bias says:

    Definitely looks like there needs to be some changes for the 2017-18 season! Need to even out the numbers a little bit and for sure the power!
    At the same time, your rankings look very biased and should not be used to rate regions. Why are your rankings so dramatically different than the NWCA rankings that are determined by representative coaches from every region? You seem to have heavy favoritism for individuals and teams from near your school. I guess it makes sense that you would want to appease the coaches from the schools that you compete with the most but your personal opinions should not be used to determine the future of the regions.

  • Michael Barcaskey says:

    Expand to 24 wrestlers per weight with better distribution across regions

  • Rankings says:

    There certainly is a level of bias in any rankings as they are one groups opinion on the analysis of the results. The NWCA rankings seem to favor members of the teams represented by the individuals on that ranking committee. Still, evaluating the NWCA ranking should lead someone to arrive at the same conclusion as it relates to situation with the West Regional. Furthermore, evaluating the NCAA results since the regional system removes the bias argument.

    On a side note, our rankings attempt to base position on results only while considering the body of work and not just the most recent result. We attempt to apply a consistent position weight to weight as it relates to how one particular loss affects the ranking of an individual. Please feel free to provide feedback on specific individuals that you feel have been unfairly ranked or unranked as we do consider such feedback (provided by many) from one ranking to the next.

  • Wrestling Mom of 4 collegiate athletes says:

    As a parent of both D1 and D3 wrestlers, I am very disappointed with NCAA D3 wrestling and their policies. The fact that D3 knew their system needed to be fixed and yet they did nothing to address these problems is completely disrespectful to all the athletes that are competing. It makes it even appear as if the regions that are benefitting from the broken system want to keep things this way in order to help their programs.

    D3 wrestling now has 100 teams, yet only 18 wrestlers are eligible to compete at Nationals.
    D1 wrestling has 75 teams, and over 33 wrestlers qualify per weight to compete at Nationals.

    All collegiate wrestlers, no matter the division, work hard, sacrifice a lot and train very hard. The fact that D3 qualifies less than 20% of the wrestlers to Nationals while continuing to use a biased and outdated system is very disappointing. The system needs to be fixed.

    D3 should go to a 32 man bracket with the top 5 wrestlers advancing per region with a few wild cards. The additional wrestlers participating will bring larger crowds to nationals and increased revenues as well as show honor and respect to the athletes.

  • wrestling coaches DAD says:

    Wrestling MOM you make a great point this system has been broken for some time it is clear where the strong regions are the numbers do not lie but the west continues to control what goes on it would not surprise me if they are not kicking someone a kickback so they will not change these unfair regions how do you justify the west with 11 teams and the east mid-east & the Northeast with 19 teams …. and don’t feed us the crap about geography

    time to change !!!!!!!!

  • For 22 years now, the same two schools are the only programs to have won a national title in D3 wrestling. They areWartburg and Augsburg….good coaching, administrative support and tenacious recruiting got them there right??? This is BS if that’s what you believe! Not even Gable was able to do that. The system was manipulated and leveraged…this is a fact!! Is it any surprise that Jeff Swenson, long-time coach out of west region(11 teams)- Augsburg has been the mastermind and biggest influence behind the previous lopsided “historical data garbage system” as well as the current lopsided system where schools that could be real contenders have to go through 19 team meat grinders and hope they get enough guys to nationals to compete for a title (which never happens). It’s also been conveyed by many respected coaches and administrators in the D3 community that Swenson played a heavy part in the delay of a change that was supposed to take place this year to make things more equitable. Congratulations Sir! For you are a dirty corrupt individual and are most certainly a prime representation of all that is wrong with the sport! I coached D3 for many years and finally stepped away as my frustrations with this corrupt system coupled with sharing the heartbreak of my athletes who fell victim to this travesty year after year began to consume me and sour me. The straw that broke the camels back for me was when I witnessed the #2 team in the West region bring 9 wrestlers to nationals and only have one single All American. I think the onus is on current coaches and athletic directors to get involved and not settle for anything less than a fair system. It only takes one person to be bold enough to start a movement!! Don’t be quiet in the coaches meetings at Nationals! Don’t let them say “we will discuss the topic of our qualifying system at the convention this summer” as with past seasons! You will not be represented adequately if this occurs! NJCAA, and NCAA D2-D1 all have successful models for qualifying their deserving student athletes…Its time to start implementing those best practices in D3!!!

  • All American says:

    they may change the regions but they will never go back to 300+ qualifiers in D3, too much cost! They made the change to 190 qualifiers my senior year in 1985 and never looked back.

  • Joe Norton says:

    I agree with everything you say here and that the Regional assignments 100% need to change. I am tired of dedicating my life to helping my guys accomplish their goals, but seeing their opportunity to accomplish those goals diminished by inequity.

    However, I disagree 100% with your comment that the NWCA rankings favor individuals from teams represented on the committee. I am on that committee and can tell you that is absolutely untrue.

    The committee is made up of representatives from Coast Guard, Oswego, NYU, Wilkes, Wartburg, Concordia and North Central. The only individual from NCC ranked during the entire second half of this season has been Binion at 141, who has consistently appeared higher in the d3wrestle rankings than the ones done by the NWCA committee. Earlier in the season, Williamson was ranked at 149, but was only slightly higher in the NWCA poll than he was in the d3wrestle rankings. Once he suffered some losses, he was dropped from the NWCA poll. The only wrestler from the Coast Guard to appear in the NWCA rankings all season has been Sullivan at 157. He has regularly appeared equally ranked in the d3wrestle rankings all season. The only wrestlers to be mentioned from Wilkes have been Rea, Grossman at and Evans – all of whom have been regularly ranked in the d3wrestle rankings. Concordia has been represented in the NWCA rankings by Stageberg and Davis, with Briggs and Sladek being mentioned when deserving – none of these guys has been consistently ranked higher in the NWCA rankings than in the d3wrestle ones. Pike, Messinger and Jazikoff have been the NYU wrestlers ranked by the NWCA committee – they have been equally ranked by d3wrestle. The same goes for Bushey and Seymour from Oswego. I don’t think I have to touch on the Wartburg guys, for obvious reasons, and I can tell you that Eric Keller is the last person to try and get his guys ranked if they are not deserving of it.

  • Current D3 Coach says:

    There are several issues this article has set off – whether intentional or not

    1. Regional Issues – I think it’s clear what has and is going on. Per discussions I’ve head with my head coach and discussions he has had with other coaches – the wheels are already turning by administrators at schools and HC at other schools – and even NCAA committee members to delay the reorganization of regions by another 1-2 years. We all know what needs to happen. We all know it needs to happen now – we all know the system is not fair and the issues it has and will continue to create – yet here we are

    2. Rankings – I think the NWCA rankings are beyond fair and agree with Coach Norton – my issue with them is that they only rank 10 wrestlers. D1 has 75 teams and ranks 20-30 guys depending on which ranking you go by. D2 has about 60 teams and ranks 12 wrestlers. D3 has over 100 teams yet only ranks 10 – that is a disservice to the hard work of all athletes and coaches together. We need to do better for our athletes.

    3. d3wrestle.com rankings – The lack of exposure for our guys has created the opportunity for AV to create his website and rankings. I applaud him for ranking 26 guys. While many of those will not get to Nationals based on the system – they deserve to have their name out there – it’s also helpful to coaches when we go into a tourney or dual to know that at the very least – this kid from this team is at least decent.

    However it would be impossible for AV to accurately look at all results from 100+ schools over two weeks and correctly rank wrestlers from all schools. I believe (could be wrong), Brunk from Messiah provides help. Either way – it leads to favoritism of regions and schools. It leads to really inaccurate decisions to move guys up/down based on beliefs of 1-2 people. It does create some anger/angst but I believe it is unintentional. As a coach, more often than not, these rankings are what they are – one person’s best attempt to rank 100 wrestlers based on some results and his opinion.

    What bothers me is when coaches do their regional voting for seeding at regions – how clear it is that coaches use these rankings and ignore factual results to do their seeding.

    I think moving forward (whether regions are moved/created/realigned/etc.) there needs to be regional rankings created by those coaches of specific regions that also displays who each wrestler has defeated and lost to as justification for those rankings. It would be nice if AV’s document had the space to allow for that as justification – but it clearly does not.

  • Rankings says:

    1. No disrespect intended to Coach Norton or the other coaches on the NWCA ranking committee. Comments acknowledging that in any system of ranking or seeding there is a level of implicit bias based on what you know and have seen. The comment was more meant to acknowledge that our rankings are not perfect in response to the first posters comments and in comparison the other rankings are not perfect either. Furthermore seeding is never perfect. The original poster asked why our rankings where “dramatically” different than the NWCA rankings and in comparing the two (we can only compare the NWCA’s 10) it certainly does not appear that individuals from teams close to central PA have been dramatically favored- many Mid Atlantic individuals are ranked lower in the d3 ranking. In fact it appears that there is simply a difference in opinion as to how results are being analyzed in some cases.

    2. When we rank 26 wrestlers, we look at and document every single D.III result. We have a working spreadsheet from ranking to ranking. The analysis of the results are what create different opinions. We have to decide if a loss earlier in the year matters more or less than placing higher than the same person at a mid year tournament. We have to decide if a single upset loss for a returning All American should drop them out of the top 10 or not. We have to decide when wrestler A beat wrestler B, wrestler B beat wrestler C and wrestler C beat wrestler A which one is ranked the highest. *We certainly have missed a result in the past and when it has been brought to our attention we adjust accordingly in our next ranking

    3. We welcome feedback and consider the perspectives of those COACHES that choose to email an opinion as to why their wrestler should be ranked higher. As mentioned in my first post, please let us know the individuals that seem to be unfairly ranked.

    4. We produce our rankings for fun. These rankings are for the fans. They are meant to get that much deserved recognition that our D.III wrestlers deserve. They are not meant to be used (per rule) as a guide for coaches to seed tournaments. If there is a level of anger/angst from enough coaches in the D.III ranks, we do not need to continue producing rankings. I don’t believe that’s what coaches want, but we will be looking for feedback on the topic before next season.

  • Craig Weinmann says:

    Awesome discussion ! I think AV does a great job with getting information on Dlll wrestling out to the FANS ! However,
    it would be good to add a Fourm page to keep the discussions going on relevant Dlll wrestling issues or concerns,
    ie- realignment!! Keep up the excellent work AV.

  • PB says:

    As a former wrestler from (what is now) the West Region, I can say that it saddening that the regions are so lopsided. The whole goal, as I understand it, to move from conference -> conference + regional (based on conf size) -> regional only was to make the qualifiers more fair.

    Although it would take significant effort to do so, I would love to seen allotment system similar to D1 where they take a minimum win percentage, RPI, and coaches ranking into account. The effort may seem Herculean, but I think it makes the most sense to eliminate qualifier size bias. To eliminate geographical bias, changes would need to be made at the coaches ranking committee.

    A few ideas on how to change the ranking committee
    1) Randomized selection of the ranking committee. This could be done for the year or possibly even more frequently.
    2) Keep the current (permanent) members of the ranking committee. Additional, randomly selected, coaches to participate in the rankings. The additional coaches would give a larger sampling of the opinion of the coaches group as a whole.
    3) Have all coaches vote. This one presents logistical problems of “where/how the voting is done” and “what if someone doesn’t vote”. Possible amendments to this idea would be random selection for _completed_ votes.

    These are just ideas, but they may help.

    Next topic: I, wholeheartedly, disagree that geographical distribution should be taken into account when building out the qualifiers lists. It should not be the case that a region that is underrepresented at nationals be “gifted” qualifiers so that it is represented. That is hugely unfair to anyone who did amazingly all season, to be one of the top ranked individuals, only to have three others who are better (and likely beat him at qualifier). Do I think that the person who did well all season be gifted a spot? Not at all, but he should have the a reasonable opportunity to qualify (before wildcard selections). I can see in the future, there being four or five of the top wrestlers being in the same regional. Though they will all likely go to nationals, by virtue of wildcard selection, it’s not fair that there are people who get a spot just because there were three available to each region.

    Lastly, I want to thank you, AV, for the analyses you provide for the rankings, national qualifiers, and all Americans for the past couple of years. It is refreshing to see an analytical argument with hard data, exposing the flaws of the current and past systems. Keep up the good work!

  • Yes thank you Andy! I enjoyed watching you wrestle and I enjoy following your web page! Do whatever the hell you want with the rankings…haha!

  • John Stafsnes says:

    I see many comments about the inequity of the regional alignment. I am an alumnus who helps a wrestling team in the Eastern Region who is impacted by the current situation. What comes to my mind is how this situation can be addressed by interested fans and supporters. Who should we write to? What should we say? I would be happy to help with getting such things organized if it were possible.

  • John Malvik says:

    Here is the current situation in a nutshell- Basically 16 man brackets with a couple of preliminary matches per weight at a national championship tournament wrestling to 8 places. That is almost a 50-50 chance of All-American status if a wrestler can just get to nationals, meaning it is critical to get the best wrestlers in each weight to the nationals. Due to costs, the field is not likely to get bigger. The task for the NCAA is to have a system which selects the 18 best wrestlers per weight, regardless of region. To do otherwise, makes no sense in my judgment. Realignment of the regions does not take into account strength of the region or of a particular weight class within a region from year to year. Developing criteria based on rankings and competition results (head to head, common opponents, overall record, etc.) should be the basis of national qualifier numbers for each region and the individual weight classes within the regions. That may sound complex, but that is what computers and competent software programs are all about. All of our competition results go into Trackwrestling. Not perfect, but better than the current system for all the reasons outlined in the various other posts on this page.

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