Iowa State wrestling sending three to NCAA Championships


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State senior Earl Hall wrestles Arizona State Jan. 6. The Cyclones hosted Arizona State at Hilton Coliseum for simultaneous gymnastics and wrestling meets, dubbed ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ The gymnastics team defeated the Sun Devils 193.850-191.8, while the wrestling team lost 25-14. 

Ben Visser

Marcus Harrington was the only Iowa State wrestler to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships at the Big 12 Championships over the weekend.

On Tuesday, the NCAA announced the at-large bids. And, as expected, both Earl Hall and Lelund Weatherspoon got spots in the field.

The 133-pounder and the 174-pounder were each All-Americans last season and fell one spot short of an automatic qualifying bid last weekend.

The only Cyclone wrestler who had a legitimate case to get an at-large bid and fell short was Quean Smith. Instead, Newton Smerchek, Zack Parker, Conan Jennings and Youssif Hemida got the at-large bids.

Smith’s résumé compered to other heavyweights appeared to stack up well — especially with Parker’s and Smerchek’s.

Smith had three quality wins — tied for the most quality wins with Jennings — and won the head-to-head matchup against Smerchek. According to the NCAA, those two categories account for 45 percent of their decision.

The NCAA also values conference tournament placement in regard to how many allocations that conference had. The Big 12 had four allocations at heavyweight, and Smith finished fifth. The only other heavyweight to finish one spot out of allocation at his conference tournament was Parker, but he only had one quality win.

Two categories will remain a mystery. Those are the coaches panel rankings and the rating percentage index (RPI). The NCAA came out with new ratings but did not release them to the public.

The one category that hurt Smith the most is his win percentage, which was .450. The NCAA said that accounts for 10 percent of its decision.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the heavyweights using the most recent coaches panel and RPI.

Harrington, Hall and Weatherspoon will spend the next two weeks preparing for the NCAA Championships in St. Louis.