Sanders opens nationals with pin, Ambrocio falls

Sanders opens nationals with pin, Ambrocio falls

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Concordia University Wisconsin sophomore Greg Sanders won his opening match by fall at the 2013 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena Friday afternoon.

Sanders (San Antonio, Texas), who is the sixth seed in the 149 lb. bracket, faced off against Elroy Perkin of UW-Whitewater in his first match of the day. Sanders was in a battle early as the match was tied 4-4 heading into the final two-minute period, but he finished strong recording a win by fall at the 6:45 mark to advance to the semifinal round.

"Greg came out very slow and learned very fast that it was going to be a battle," said Falcons head coach Corey VanGroll. "The match didn't go his way but we were able to score enough points and get that pin at the end."

He will now compete against No. 3 seed Mark Hartenstine of Wilkes University Friday evening. Hartenstine advanced to face Sanders by recording a 4-2 win in his first bout. Sanders and Hartenstine have not faced each other this season. A victory for Sanders would clinch All-American recognition for the sophomore.

"He has the first match out of the way and I expect him to do well this afternoon," VanGroll said.

Also wrestling for CUW early Friday afternoon was sophomore Sean Ambrocio (San Antonio, Tex.), the fifth seed in the 125 lb. bracket, who dropped his match against Daniel Page of Central College by a 7-6 decision.

Ambrocio fell behind 5-0 after two periods in his match against Page, but stormed back to tie the score at 6-6. Page was able to receive an escape point with four seconds on the clock to earn the victory.

"Sean had a very similar match to Greg's in that he started slow," said Van Groll. "He has a long tournament ahead of him and we're going to try and take third place with him."

Ambrocio will now wrestle in the Friday evening session, as he tries to fight his way back in attempting to reach his goal of becoming an All-American. He will begin that journey against Miguel Venecia of Elmhurst College, who lost to Gilberto Camacho in his opening match by a 4-1 decision. Venecia won by decision over Ambrocio at the CUW Open on Nov. 17, 6-3, and Ambrocio earned a forfeit win over the Elmhurst grappler on Feb. 1 at the Pete Wilson Invitational.

Fans be sure to follow throughout today and tomorrow for updates on the duo at the national championships.