Battling for final berth, Conley loses his bout with second left

But Navy's 141-pounder repeats as All-American

College Wrestling

March 23, 2002|By Luke W. Broadwater | Luke W. Broadwater,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ALBANY, N.Y. - Navy's Mark Conley is an All-American for the second year in a row.

After winning three matches on Thursday, Conley (141 pounds) opened up yesterday with a 5-0 win over Minnesota's Chad Erikson, in which he scored with a front headlock takedown, an escape and a scramble.

Conley then faced Oklahoma State's Aaron Holker, also a returning All-American, to determine who would go to the finals.

After a scoreless first period, Conley began the scoring with an escape 18 seconds into the second. Holker tied the score in the third with an escape of his own and then took the lead when Conley was called for fleeing the mat.

With just 30 seconds left, Conley regained the lead, scoring on a sweep single, and rode Holker for 25 seconds until a scramble would change his fate.

Holker attempted a stand-up with five seconds left. Conley came out front to block the move, but was thrown to his back with one second left, giving the reversal and the 4-3 victory to Holker.

Conley's teammate, Steve Kovach (285) earned honorable-mention All-America honors. Battling back after a first-round loss, Kovach defeated Eric Webb of Oregon (3-2) and Matt Feast of Pennsylvania (3-1) before losing to Paul Hynek of Northern Iowa, 4-2.

Maryland native Jimi Massey (Virginia, 184 pounds) also earned-honorable-mention All-America honors with a top 12 finish.

Maryland wrestlers Brandon York (141) and Jake Stork (184) are out of the tournament, also. Stork won two bouts before losing to Indiana's Victor Sveda.

Crofton resident Jason Gabrielson (Millersville, 133) and former Millford Mill standout Greg Forbes (UNC-Greensboro, 285) are also out.

All eyes are on Iowa State's phenomenal Cael Sanderson, who is poised to do what no wrestler has done - become the only four-time undefeated NCAA champion in history. The only thing that stands between Sanderson and history is Lehigh's John Trenge, an earlier 6-1 loser to Sanderson.

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