March 7, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
Three members of the Army wrestling team will make the trek west to St. Louis, Mo., to compete at the NCAA Championships (March 15-17). The three-day event will be contested inside the Scottrade Center.
Freshman Cole Gracey and senior Derek Stanley earned automatic berths into the NCAA field by virtue of their finishes at the EIWA Championships last weekend. Gracey wrestled to a third-place finish in the 165-pound bracket, while Stanley placed fifth at 197 pounds.
Junior 133-pounder Jordan Thome, meanwhile, was selected from the at-large pool and returns to the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row.
The NCAA qualifiers were announced today (March 7), and the official seeding and brackets will be unveiled at 6 p.m. this evening on NCAA.com.
Gracey, who shows a 24-13 overall record, has won 17 of his last 19 bouts. The Tuttle, Okla., native has recorded seven pins, three major decisions and one technical fall. His 11 bonus-point victories list tied for second on the team. Gracey, who is just the fourth Army freshman to qualify for the NCAAs over the past 20 years, won individual titles at the New York State Championships and All-Academy Championships earlier in the season.
Stanley has won 14 of his last 18 matches and boasts a 22-14 overall record this season. The Saugerties, N.Y., product has come on strong over the last month, going 9-2 in his last 11 bouts and capturing the individual title at the All-Academy Championships. Stanley, who has registered three pins and one major decision this year, is going to the NCAAs for the first time in his career.
Thome leads Army with 26 wins, 12 pins and 14 bonus-point victories. He won individual crowns at the Body Bar Invitational and New York State Championships, while placing runner-up at the Oklahoma-Gold Classic and All-Academy Championships. The Troy, Ohio, native was denied an automatic berth into the NCAA field after finishing seventh at the EIWAs, but was rewarded for terrific season on Wednesday when his name was among the 33 qualifiers at 133 pounds. Thome has won 14 of his last 18 bouts and shows a 26-11 overall mark.
The national tournament will get under way on Thursday, March 15. Gates to the Scottrade Center open at 10 a.m., with Session I slated to begin at 11 a.m. Session II is scheduled to commence at 6:30 p.m., that evening, with gates opening one hour prior to the start of the competition.
Sessions III and IV will be contested on Friday, March 16, with action scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., and 6 p.m., respectively. The championships will conclude on Saturday, March 17, with Session V at 10 a.m., and Session VI at 6:30 p.m.