Conley off to fast start with three NCAA wins

Mid lives up to ranking

Terps' York loses 1st bout

College Wrestling

March 22, 2002|By Luke Broadwater | Luke Broadwater,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ALBANY, N.Y. - How times have changed for Navy's Mark Conley.

This time last year, Conley was an unseeded wrestler who had the misfortune of facing Doug Schwab, the No. 1-ranked 141-pounder in the country, in the first round of the NCAA Division I tournament.

Now, Conley is the No. 1-ranked 141-pound wrestler in the country, and someone had the misfortune of facing him yesterday at the Pepsi Centre. That someone - Tennessee-Chattanooga sophomore Jarred Sullivan - lost to Conley, 8-3.

But the turnaround doesn't stop there.

Last year, after losing to Schwab, Conley won four matches, only to face Wisconsin's Grant Hoerr in the consolation semifinals and lose by a score of 10-4.

This year, after defeating Sullivan, Conley was pitted against Hoerr again. But this time Conley emerged with a 2-0 victory. He then improved to 3-0 for the day with a 3-2 decision over Lock Haven's Mike Maney.

Maryland wrestler Jake Stork (184) won his first-round bout, 9-7, over Eddie Gifford of Fresno State. With the win, Stork improved to 30-7 for the year.

Stork dropped his next bout, however, to Iowa's fourth-ranked Jessman Smith, by a score of 9-2.

Terrapins teammate and four-time ACC champ Brandon York (141) dropped an 8-4 decision to the nation's second-ranked 141-pounder, Erik Larkin, in the first round.

Conley's teammate, Steve Kovach (285), lost a double-overtime bout, 5-4, to former Delaware state champion John Testa, now a wrestler for Clarion. UNC-Greensboro's Greg Forbes (285), out of Milford Mill, and Crofton resident Jason Gabrielson (Millersville, 133) each lost in the first round.

Ryan Mackin contributed to this article.

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