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OU Wrestling: Six Sooners Ranked in First NCAA Coaches’ Rankings

In a significant announcement on Monday, the NCAA unveiled the initial coaches’ rankings for the upcoming 2024 NCAA Championships. The University of Oklahoma’s wrestling team made a strong showing, with six of its athletes earning spots in these prestigious rankings. Notably, three of these Sooners have secured positions within the top 15 in their respective categories.

The roster of ranked Sooners includes Willie McDougald, who stands at No. 15 in the 149-pound class, Jared Hill at No. 28 in the 157-pound category, and Cael Carlson at No. 29 in the 165-pound division. They are joined by Tate Picklo, ranked No. 25 at 174 pounds, Stephen Buchanan, impressively placed at No. 2 in the 197-pound class, and Josh Heindselman, who holds the No. 13 spot in the 285-pound category.

These coaches’ rankings are the result of votes cast by 14 coaches in each weight class, featuring two head coaches from each of the seven conferences. For a wrestler to be considered for ranking, they must be designated as the starter in their weight class and have competed in at least eight Division I matches, with at least one match in the last 30 days.

Stephen Buchanan is the standout among the Sooners, securing the second spot in the 197-pound class rankings. Buchanan, a senior from Loyola, Wisconsin, and a three-time NCAA qualifier from Wyoming, has an impressive undefeated record of 17-0 this season. This includes a team-high seven victories by technical fall.

On the other hand, OU’s 141-pound wrestler Mosha Schwartz, sidelined due to injury and without a match since December 3, did not qualify for this round of rankings. Despite his absence, Schwartz’s season record of 4-1 against Division I opponents and two wins against top-30 ranked wrestlers at 141 pounds highlight his capabilities.

The NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will use these coaches’ rankings, along with other criteria like head-to-head competition, quality wins, Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), conference tournament placements, and win percentage, for at-large selection and seeding in the championships.

The next set of coaches’ rankings is scheduled for release on February 19. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are set to take place from March 21-23 in Kansas City, Missouri.

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