Army Produces Four NCAA Qualifiers At EIWA Championships

Paul Hancock

Paul Hancock

March 9, 2013

Team Scores & Final Brackets (.pdf) Get Acrobat Reader

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Senior Daniel Young placed runner-up at 149 pounds, and six other Black Knights finished within the top eight as the Army wrestling team took sixth at the 109th Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships on Saturday inside Rutgers Athletic Center on the campus of Rutgers University.

Senior Connor Hanafee (141 pounds), junior Paul Hancock (165) and freshman Bryce Barnes (197) joined Young in earning automatic berths to the NCAA Championships, giving the Black Knights their most automatic qualifiers since sending six to the national tournament in 2008.

Army did not have a returning NCAA qualifier in 2010 when current head coach Joe Heskett inherited the program. He helped three Black Knights earn automatic entry to the national tournament over his first two seasons, before breaking through with four automatic bids this year.

The NCAA will announce its at-large selections to the national field on Wednesday, March 13, and additional Army wrestlers could be invited to the dance.

"This weekend's performance was all about the culture of this program," said Heskett. "Every single guy represented Army wrestling in a positive way, and it was a fun couple of days here. To produce seven placewinners and earn four automatic berths to the NCAAs says a lot about where we have come as a program over the last three years. I could not be more proud of our young men. We're building something special here, and we took another step in the right direction this weekend."

Army's sixth-place showing as a team marked its highest finish since placing third in 2008. The Black Knights accumulated 81 points over the two-day event to place within the top half of the 14-team field for the first time in four years. The 81 points also marked the most scored by the Black Knights since posting 90 in 2008. Army had six wrestlers place within the top six for the first time since 2008.

Cornell won its seventh consecutive EIWA title, racking up 142 points. Navy (117.5 points) finished runner-up, followed by Pennsylvania (110.5), Lehigh (101.5) and Rutgers (91).

Young, who won both of his matches on Friday to earn a date in the championship bout and clinch a spot in the NCAAs, suffered a 7-2 setback to Columbia's top-seeded Steve Santos.

Hanafee, seeded sixth at 141 pounds, slipped past Navy's eighth-seeded Joe Locksmith (3-2) to place seventh and secure an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships.

Hancock, the fourth-seeded wrestler at 165 pounds, defeated Rutgers' sixth-seeded Nicholas Visicaro (6-2) and Navy's fifth-seeded Peyton Walsh (6-1) to place third and lock up a spot in the NCAA Championships.

Barnes clinched a berth into the NCAAs by advancing to the consolation final at 197 pounds after Navy's third-seeded Oscar Huntley had to medically forfeit. Barnes, who was seeded fourth, then fell to Cornell's sixth-seeded Jace Bennett, 4-2, to finish fourth.

Sophomore Cole Gracey, seeded sixth at 174 pounds, dropped a 6-5 decision to Rutgers' third-seeded Greg Zannetti before pinning Princeton's Ryan Callahan (3:35) to place fifth.

Senior Jordan Thome, the fifth-seeded grappler in the 133-pound weight class, was blanked by Pennsylvania's seventh-seeded Jeff Canfora (4-0) to fall into the fifth-place bout where he pinned Bucknell's sixth-seeded Paul Petrov (4:28) to take fifth.

Sophomore Hunter Wood dropped a pair of matches en route to a sixth-place finish. The second year grappler was pinned by American's fourth-seeded David Terao (0:45) in the consolation semifinal and lost to fifth-seeded Jeffrey Ott (MD, 13-0) in the fifth-place match.

Army will take a couple of weeks off before returning to action at the NCAA Championships (March 21-23) in Des Moines, Iowa.

Hunter Wood (125 Pounds) - 6th Place
Lost to #4 David Terao (American), fall, 0:45
Lost to #5 Jeffrey Ott (Harvard), 13-0 (MD)

Jordan Thome (133 Pounds) - 5th Place
Lost to #7 Jeff Canfora (Pennsylvania), 4-0
Pinned #6 Paul Petrov (Bucknell), 4:28

Connor Hanafee (141 Pounds) - 7th Place
Defeated #8 Joe Locksmith (Navy), 3-2

Daniel Young (149 Pounds) - 2nd Place
Lost to #1 Steve Santos (Columbia), 7-2

Paul Hancock (165 Pounds) - 3rd Place
Defeated #6 Nicholas Visicaro (Rutgers), 6-2
Defeated #5 Peyton Walsh (Navy), 6-1

Cole Gracey (174 Pounds) - 5th Place
Lost to #3 Greg Zannetti (Rutgers), 6-5
Pinned Ryan Callahan (Princeton), 3:35

Bryce Barnes (197 Pounds) - 4th Place
Defeated #3 Oscar Huntley (Navy), medical forfeit
Lost to #6 Jace Bennett (Cornell), 4-2

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