Point Differential Explained + a Closer Look at the 2016 Clarion Open

Breaking down 141-pound weight class at 2016 Clarion Open using Point Differential per 7 minutes

The 2017-2018 wrestling season is nearing!  The first weekend of Open tournaments will feature plenty of exciting wrestling, some of which is sure to occur at the Clarion Open.  As such, thanks to FloWrestling’s coverage of the 2016 event, I was able to break down the point differential (per 7 minutes) for the 141-pound weight in last year’s tournament.

Calculating Point Differential

This statistic is pretty straight forward. Points earned and points given up in a match are adjusted for a full 7-minute time period. Determining point differential is simple for a standard 7-minute match as your stats will not need to be adjusted. For example, in a 7-minute match scored 15-4, the winning wrestler will include the following:  Points For/7 minutes (PF/7) = 15; Points Against/7 minutes (PA/7) = 4; Point Differential/7 minutes (PD/7) = 11.

Where we make adjustments is when a match is shortened by either a tech-fall or a pin. In the case of a pin, the wrestler is allotted his points scored + the full scoring sequence before the time of fall. This includes any nearfall that would be awarded had a fall not been secured. No points for a defensive fall.

Let’s use Bo Nickal’s match against Sammy Brooks in last year’s dual between Penn State and Iowa as an example (see video below).

Bo Nickal hits his spladle, the takedown is awarded, and the ref immediately begins his count for nearfall points.  We can conceivably believe that had a fall not been secured, Nickal would have held the count for the full 4-points awarded for nearfall.  Thus, we award the two points for the takedown and the four for the nearfall.  Our points adjusted comes to 6, and the time of fall is recorded as 36 seconds.  This data is calculated in the formula as follows:

(420 seconds/match seconds) x Number of points adjusted

(420/36) x 6 = 70

Therefore Bo Nickal’s Points For/7minutes is 70.  The points against is still zero: (420/36) X 0 = 0

Now, that may seem a bit ridiculous to have a PF/7 min of 70– nobody can reasonably be expected to  score 70 points in 7 minutes– but statistics in sports will always have anomalies due to a small sample size and things tend to even out in the end. This rewards pins. Calculating Point Differential/7 minutes is simply PF/7 –PA/7.   Bo’s PD/7 for this match is 70.

In the case of a tech, you only need to adjust the score and the time.

OT/SV works the same way. Long, low scoring OT matches and rideout sequences will hurt your PF/7 minutes score because the time will be adjusted accordingly.

One thing that was considered, but ultimately wasn’t factored into the formula, was adding a riding time point for those who had a pin/tech when applicable.

141-pound results at the 2016 Clarion Open

Wrestler Team Record PF/7 PA/7 PD/7
Perry Lock Haven 3-1 18.381 2.774 15.607
Zacherl Clarion 4-0 16.056 2.919 13.136
Glorioso Lock Haven 5-1 11.835 1.052 10.783
Vath Edinboro 3-2 7.848 3.818 4.30
Fehlman Lock Haven 3-2 9.321 5.483 3.838
Kinyua Mercyhurst 5-2 8.407 5.11 3.297
Pipher Penn State 2-2 7.194 5.257 1.937
Eddins Pitt-Johnstown 3-2 5.40 3.60 1.80
Wherley Pitt-Johnstown 1-2 4 3 1
Driscoll Kent State 2-2 3.75 3 0.75
Myers Clarion 1-2 7.537 7.119 0.419
Ja. Smith West Virginia 4-2 4.119 4.119 0
Krenzelak Pitt-Johnstown 1-2 6.903 7.965 -1.062
Cahill Pitt-Johnstown 1-2 6.262 8.051 -1.789
Mullins Unrostered 1-2 8.247 11.781 -3.535
Root Unrostered 0-2 0.899 4.497 -3.597
McCoy Kent State 3-2 10.806 14.502 -3.697
Recco Edinboro 0-2 4.50 9.50 -5
Friery Penn State 0-2 3.50 10 -6.50
Burkhart Pitt-Johnstown 2-2 7.310 14.288 -6.978
Dowler Edinboro 1-2 4.234 11.855 -7.621
Davis Pitt-Johnstown 0-2 4.667 15.75 -11.083
Ju. Smith Pitt-Johnstown 0-2 3.631 18.103 -14.483
Henry Edinboro 0-2 3.022 18.129 -15.108
Wilson West Virginia 1-2 3.64 18.815 -15.173
Harris Mercyhurst 0-2 1.603 28.855 -27.252

Gold = 1st place in the tournament

Silver = 2nd

Bronze = 3rd-4th

Red = 5th-6th*

Blue = 7th-8th*

*- 5th-8th place matches were not wrestled.


Quality of competition and a limited sample size play a large role in the final results.  However, it’s pretty clear which two wrestlers were the class of the tournament.  Brock Zacherl and Ronnie Perry dominated their way to the finals before engaging in a close bout. The draw factors in because– with the exception of Bo Pipher who managed to keep his match with Zacherl a close bout– anyone who drew Zacherl or Perry were greatly affected in point differential.  No better example than Jake Smith of West Virginia.  Take out his match with Perry and his point differential jumps from 0 to 3.456, which would put him more in line with his placement. On the other hand, a few wrestlers who didn’t go deep in the tournament managed to put up a respectable point differential merely because they  avoided the best wrestlers in the weight.

Other notes:

Root/Fehlman match- There was a neutral fall in the 1st period of this match.  We can probably assume from looking at the rest of the tournament that Fehlman was a better wrestler, but his point differential won’t reflect that in this match simply because of a 0-0 neutral fall.  Fehlman was close to control before the fall, but nothing I saw was definitive so I left it at 0-0.   In this case,  Fehlman’s point differential suffered while Root was largely helped, remaining in the middle-tier despite going 0-2.

Glorioso- While Glorioso took third (exactly where his point differential places him), he didn’t separate himself as the stats might suggest. He had matches of 3-0, 3-1, and 4-1, but a couple other one-sided matches helped bolster his 10-point differential.  He also forfeited to his teammate, Ronnie Perry, which didn’t hurt his differential as it would have had he wrestled the 2x national qualifier.

Burkhart- He was a bit unlucky having to wrestle Perry (1st in point differential) and Fehlman (top 5). He otherwise won two matches, but two lopsided matches didn’t help his cause.  He ended up 20th out of 26 wrestlers.

McCoy- Much like Burkhart, two extremely poor matches to Zacherl and Glorioso made him an anomaly. While placing 4th/5th, he ended up 17th out of 26 wrestlers in point differential.  However, his PF/7 would have rated him 4th.

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