I am going to discussed published, recognized rankings and not Billy Bob Cooter’s personal, home cooked rankings. I would consider Pin-TN to offer legitimate rankings if not debatable ones. Rankings serve to make a wrestling community aware of, who the top performing wrestlers are, based largely on their result resume. Because many of us get wrapped around the idea that the actual order of a ranking is a true reflection of who is better than whom, they are also a great source of debate and discussion. If rankings done by one or several individuals actually reflected the true state of affairs then there would be no need to have regional and state tournaments. NCAA division one football is a great case study of this. As we have seen they finally moved away from rankings and polls as a way to determine national champions precisely because this notion is false. Turns out settling it on the field is the “gold standard.” Who knew, right? The fact is that most rankings – and wrestling rankings in particular – often merely reflect one person’s opinion of who the top performers in any given area are. For the rankings to carry any weight they would have to be done by someone knowledgeable about the wrestlers being ranked. Most rely on a set of criteria in the absence of intimate first-hand knowledge about each and every wrestler considered. These criteria typically include things like
• Head–to–head outcomes
• Number of wins; win/loss percent
• Number of quality opponents wrestled (strength of schedule)
• Types of wins (close matches, flukes, Techs)
• Types of losses (see above)
• Performance at highly competitive tournaments on a local or national level
The validity of any ranking is directly proportional to how much work the ranker puts into it and I can tell you it takes an inordinate amount of research and actually observing matches to do a top-notch job at it. Just tracking who will be at what weight is a huge challenge in itself. So what do I take from any ranking, whether it be national or regional? It depends on what I know about how the ranking is done. Without any insight into this the only thing I can really say is that the wrestlers who are on it have accomplished enough to be recognized by the ranker. Beyond that I don’t normally put too much stock in the order other than what I can validate for myself. I can agree with it or disagree based on what I think I know but for those ranked wrestlers–whom I know nothing about–I can only assume they have done something noteworthy to be considered. They could be overall better than some of those above them or they might not actually be deserving of any ranking. All I infer is that he or she is probably a pretty good wrestler and they’ve accomplished something to be on that ranker’s list.
With that said I want to point out that Ray Hardin and Keith Dowell have gotten on someone’s radar by their performances at Blackhorse. Ray defeated the previously #3 ranked 220 pounder from Beech (Reinert) and the #3 ranked Division two 195 pounder (Walthall) from CBHS. That earned him a four-spot on Pin-TN’s latest rankings.
1. Tyler Barber (Stewarts Creek, 12)
2. Hunter Begley (Science Hill, 12)
3. Victor Bednarski (Ooltewah)
4. Raveon Harding (Arlington, 12)
5. Peyton Reinert (Beech, 12)
6. Austin Hagerman (Tennessee, 12)
Keith Dowell wrestled a great tournament and had a hard-fought win over previously ranked Dave Fairley (Bolton). This earned him a #5 ranking in Coach Hamm’s latest iteration of the rankings.
1. Brett Brown (Bradley, 11)
2. Justin Johnson (Stone Memorial, 11)
3. Eric Cornelius (West Creek, 11)
4. Andre Bravo (Blackman, 12)
5. Keith Dowell (Arlington, 12)
6. Dave Fairley (Bolton, 12)
So your efforts have gotten someone’s attention. It’s a long season with a lot of wrestling to be done but for now you have earned some recognition. Kudo’s to you. Now you can wrestle with the confidence that you can wrestle with some of these boys, but also know that there are many others not on the list, who can wrestle with you, and are dying to prove it. Congrats, but keep it in perspective.