LA CROSSE, Wis. – Case Western Reserve University senior 157-pounder Isaac Dukes (Ravenna, Ohio/Ravenna) bounced back from an opening-round loss to post a 3-1 record and assured himself a third career All-American finish on day one of the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament at the La Crosse Center.
Dukes, who is guaranteed of at least an eighth-place finish, is back in action tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (CDT).
Dukes entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed and was matched with junior John Darling of The College of New Jersey in a "rat tail" that would move the winner to the second round. In a back-and-forth battle, Darling built a 6-5 lead entering the final period. Dukes then jumped on top early in the third with a reversal, but Darling would answer with a reversal of his own to move ahead 8-7. Over the final minute, Darling was able to hold on and picked up a point for riding time to secure the 9-7 upset.
After moving down to the consolation bracket, Dukes stayed alive versus junior Chris Stevermer of St. John's University (Minn.). Case's three-time All-American grabbed an early advantage and never relinquished it en route to a 12-5 decision.
In his next two bouts, Dukes led early and never lost control with a 6-2 decision versus senior Ryan McGilvray of Springfield College (Mass.) and a 9-5 decision over sophomore No. 7-seeded Cole Welter of Wartburg College (Iowa).
Dukes' opening match on Saturday will be against an old foe in senior Elias Larson of Trine University (Ind.). The two have met twice before in regional action and split the meetings. Larson edged Dukes by a point earlier this season to claim the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship.