March 15, 2012
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -
Senior Derek Stanley (197 pounds), junior Jordan Thome (133) and freshman Cole Gracey (165) each posted a victory to pace Army's wrestling contingent on the first day of competition at the NCAA Championships on Thursday inside the Scottrade Center.
All three Black Knights have advanced to the second day of competition. As a team, Army resides in a tie for 32nd place with seven points. Defending champion Penn State leads the way after Day One with 38.5 points. Minnesota is in second place with 33.0 points, while Oklahoma State (28.5), EIWA rival Cornell (27.5) and Iowa (26.0) round out the top five.
Stanley, making his first-ever appearance at the national tournament, began the opening session by falling to Illinois' seventh-seeded Mario Gonzalez, 6-1. He bounced back in the consolation draw, defeating Cal Poly's Ryan Smith, 5-2. The Saugerties, N.Y., product will begin tomorrow's third session with a bout versus Binghamton's Cody Reed.
Thome started the day by pinning Oregon State's Garrett Drucker in 4 minutes, 20 seconds. He dropped into the consolation draw, however, after being pinned by second-seeded Logan Stieber of Ohio State in 1:19. The Troy, Ohio, native will begin Friday's action with a match versus 12th-seeded Bryan Ortenzio of Pennsylvania.
Gracey, meanwhile, edged Central Michigan's Mike Ottinger, 3-2, in his first career match at the NCAA Championships. Like Thome, Gracey dropped his second-round match, bowing to fourth-seeded Bekzod Abdurakhmono of Clarion, 11-3. The native of Tuttle, Okla., will face Virginia's Nicholas Sulzer tomorrow morning when he begins Session III.
The NCAA Championships will resume on Friday, March 16, with action slated to get under way at 10 a.m.