March 17, 2011

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PHILADELPHIA -- Former national champion Darrion Caldwell began his quest to become NC State's first two-time national champion*in wrestling on Thursday afternoon with a decisive 18-7 victory over Ivan Lopouchanski of UNC Greensboro in the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center.

Caldwell won the NCAA title in the 149-pound weight class in 2009. He sat out last season with a shoulder injury and returned to action midway through this season, with the hopes of defending his title from two years ago. The victory improved his record to 15-0 for the season.

The four-time ACC champion is slated to wrestle again today against Michigan's Eric Grajales, who advanced with a pin of*West Virginia's Brandon Rader in his first-round match. The winner of the Caldwell-Rader match advances to Friday morning's quarterfinals. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday night and the championship matches are scheduled for Saturday.

NC State's Darrius Little lost his opener in the 141-pound weight class to No. 2 seeded Michael Thorn of Minnesota. He is slated to face Casey Thome of Army in the wrestleback bracket Thursday afternoon.