Army To Host Annual Black-Gold Match

Cole Gracey

Cole Gracey

Oct. 24, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army wrestling team will determine its early season lineup on Friday, Oct. 26, when the squad hosts its annual Black-Gold scrimmage at West Point's Arvin Gymnasium. The match, which is open to the public free of charge, is slated to begin at 6 p.m.

All 10 weight classes will contest bouts on Friday with the winners set to be part of the team's lineup when the Black Knights officially open their 2012-13 season on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Buffalo Invitational.

The Black-Gold match will provide Army wrestling fans their first opportunity to see the Black Knights in action. The Black and Gold lineups were determined following a series of wrestle-offs that occurred during the course of the week.

Army third-year head coach Joe Heskett will observe the proceedings as his assistant coaches direct the Black and Gold squads. Assistant coach Paul Young and honorary coach CSM Todd Burnett will guide the Black team, while assistant coach Dan Mitcheff and honorary coach LTC Nick Mauldin will lead the Gold team.

"The Black-Gold event will highlight the hard work and technical growth of our wrestlers," said Heskett. "Mental and physical preparation are vital components for success and wrestle-offs provide a platform for our athletes to prepare. As a program, one of our major focal points is match time execution. Friday night is match time, and it is time for us to compete and win.

"I would like to thank our honorary coaches, LTC Nick Mauldin and CSM Todd Burnett. We welcome LTC Mauldin back to West Point and the Army wrestling program. At the same time, we will tremendously miss CSM Burnett and his tremendous loyalty and leadership to West Point. We wish him the absolute best in retirement."

Junior Nathan Santhanam and sophomore Hunter Wood will square off in the 125-pound bout. Both wrestlers enter this season hungry, and this matchup figures to be a hotly-contested one. Wood posted a 3-5 mark in limited duty as a freshman, while Santhanam forged a 3-4 record in 2011-12.

Senior Jordan Thome, who posted a 28-13 record with 13 pins last season en route to a second straight appearance in the NCAA Championships, will face junior Charlie Costanzo in the 133-pound bout. Costanzo authored an 8-11 mark last year.

Senior Connor Hanafee will take on freshman Shane Connolly at 141 pounds. Hanafee was in the midst of a solid junior season before injuries forced him out of the lineup early in the second semester. He finished the year with a 12-12 overall record, and he is determined to finish his Army career with a strong senior campaign. Connolly, meanwhile, enters the Black Knights' program following a strong prep career at Warwick Valley High School.

Senior Daniel Young and junior John Belanger are set to match up at 149 pounds. Young, whose promising junior campaign was cut short by an injury, will look to regain the form he established over his first three seasons at the Academy. He posted 27 victories as a sophomore and won 11 of his first 13 bouts last year before missing the second half of the season. Belanger forged an 8-6 overall record last season in limited duty.

The 157-pound bout will feature junior Paul Hancock and senior Patrick Marchetti. Hancock, who competed sparingly as a sophomore, went just 2-3 last season. Marchetti, who could also see time at 165 pounds, carries a 21-24 career record into his final campaign.

Two relatively inexperienced wrestlers will do battle at 165 pounds with freshman Derek Allen squaring off with sophomore Jared Ross. Ross compiled a 4-6 overall record last season, competing exclusively on the tournament circuit.

Sophomore Cole Gracey, who earned EIWA Freshman of the Year honors a season ago, will battle junior Ryan Tompkins in the 174-pound matchup. Gracey, who won individual titles at the New York State Championships and All-Academy Championships, placed third at the EIWA Championships en route to his selection into the NCAA field. He finished the season among Army's leaders in wins (25), pins (seven) and bonus-point victories (11). Tompkins was 9-10 overall last year.

The 184-pound bout will feature seniors Robert Doyle and Collin Wittmeyer. Doyle, who wrestled to an 11-6 mark last year, carries a 30-30 career record into his final season. Wittmeyer, meanwhile, is coming off an injury-riddled 2011-12 campaign and is looking to go out on a high note this year.

A pair of newcomers will battle it out at 197 pounds as freshmen Bryce Barnes and William Gray are slated to compete.

The heavyweight matchup will feature junior Curtis Garner and sophomore Stephen Snyder. Both veterans saw extensive time on the mat last season with Garner posting a 5-10 overall record and Snyder going 4-13.

Following Friday's Black-Gold match, Army will have one more week to prepare for its season-opening competition at the Buffalo Invitational on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Black vs. Gold Probable Matchups
125 - Nathan Santhanam vs. Hunter Wood
133 - Charlie Costanzo vs. Jordan Thome
141 - Shane Connolly vs. Connor Hanafee
149 - Daniel Young vs. John Belanger
157 - Paul Hancock vs. Patrick Marchetti
165 - Derek Allen vs. Jared Ross
174 - Cole Gracey vs. Ryan Tompkins
184 - Robert Doyle vs. Collin Wittmeyer
197 - Bryce Barnes vs. William Gray
285 - Stephen Snyder vs. Curtis Garner

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