March 5, 2012
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WEST POINT, N.Y. - After authoring standout performances at championship competitions this past weekend, senior track athlete Taylor Kensy and freshman wrestler Cole Gracey were selected as the Army Athletic Association co-Athletes of the Week on Monday.
Kensy earns his first career AAA Athlete of the Week honor after breaking the Academy's 29-year old 500-meter run record. Kensy was one of 11 individual entrants for the Black Knights at the indoor season-ending ECAC and IC4A Championships this past weekend at Boston's Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.
The senior captain punched his ticket to the 500m finals after recording what would have been the fifth-fastest time in Army history, 1:03.41. In Sunday's final, Kensy blazed to a second-place finish in 1:02.46, shaving over half a second off Bob Mabrey's previous Academy record of 1:03.10, recorded in 1983.
Kensy was also a member of a historical 4x400-meter relay unit, along with sophomores Chris Smith and Matt Green and freshman Patrick Taylor. In the preliminary round, the Black Knight team ran the third-fastest 4x400 time in Academy history, crossing the line in 3:13.66. Kensy has now had a hand in three of the top-five 4x400 relay times, including last season's record-setting unit (3:12.65).
Kensy is the second track and field athlete to earn Athlete of the Week accolades this season, joining Tom Wagner, who earned the honor on Feb. 6, following his performance against Navy.
Gracey, meanwhile, wrestled to a third-place finish in the 165-pound draw at the EIWA Championships last weekend. The first-year standout compiled a 4-1 record over the course of the two-day tournament. The sixth-seeded wrestler in the bracket, Gracey began his impressive run on Saturday by knocking off Harvard's Ian Roy (7-4) and Cornell's third-seeded Marshall Peppelman (4-2). He was upended by 17th-ranked and second-seeded Scott Winston of Rutgers, 7-4, in his next bout and fell into the consolation bracket.
On Sunday, the Tuttle, Okla., native reeled off consecutive wins against Navy's eighth-seeded Mason Bailey (1-0) and Peppelman (9-4, sv1) to take third. Gracey, who has won 17 of his last 19 bouts overall, had dropped a pair of bonus-point decisions to Peppelman earlier in the season, but was able to make the proper adjustments to defeat him twice at the EIWAs.
It marks the fourth time this season that the wrestling team has been honored with the AAA Athlete of the Week Award. Jordan Thome won it twice in November, and Gracey, Thome and senior Michael Gorman shared the award in January following the New York State Championships.
Gracey's third-place showing at the conference tournament guarantees him a spot in the NCAA Championships, which will be contested March 15-17 in St. Louis, Mo.