Mike Smith / MatShots
UVU's Josh Wilson (right) takes on Rutgers' Mario Mason on Thursday at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Mo.

ST. LOUIS — After winning his first two matches on Thursday to advance into the field of 16, Utah Valley University 149-pounder Josh Wilson fell to No. 2 Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State 7-2 in session No. 2 of the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

With the loss, Wilson will now drop to the wrestleback brackets and face Illinois' Eric Terrazas (23-13) Friday morning.

"Josh wrestled well," UVU head coach Greg Williams said. "Parks is tough and quick. He got in on the legs a couple of times and we weren't able to stop him. Josh will now have to win three matches on Friday to be able to place. We'll take them one at a time and hopefully he will be able to accomplish that."

Wilson went toe-to-toe with the returning All-American and undefeated Parks by keeping the bout close until the very end.

Parks (32-0) got on the board first with a takedown a minute into the opening period. Wilson (20-10) then countered with an escape but Parks managed to score another takedown at the end of the frame to jump ahead 4-1. Wilson then bounced back in the second with another escape point to cut the deficit to 4-2.

In the final period, Wilson managed to get Parks’ riding time advantage under a minute before letting him go so he could look for a takedown. With the OSU grappler ahead 5-2 in the closing seconds, Parks managed to get another takedown in the closing seconds to win by five.

Earlier in the day, Wilson defeated both Missouri’s Kyle Bradley and Rutgers’ Mario Mason to advance into the field of 16 against Parks. Wilson cruised past Bradley (21-12) by beating him 7-3 in the pigtail round and gutted out a sudden-victory overtime win over Mason (19-4) in the field of 32 with a last-second escape to win 4-2.

Against Bradley, Wilson enjoyed an early 2-0 lead with a takedown just 30 seconds into the bout. Bradley then managed to escape to cut it to a one-point contest, but Wilson picked up another takedown with just five seconds to go in the opening period to pull ahead 4-1. With a quick escape in the second frame, Wilson took a 5-1 advantage into the final period. In the third, he then managed to score another takedown and allowed just two more escape points to Bradley as Wilson held on for the 7-3 opening victory.

With the victory he advanced on to face Rutgers' Mason, who was ranked sixth in the final coaches' poll.

Mason opened the bout with an early takedown in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead over the lone Wolverine grappler at the tournament. Wilson countered back however with an escape in the first to enter the second frame down just 2-1. Wilson then picked up a quick escape point in the second period to tie the contest at 2-all. That is where the match remained until the end of regulation as it headed to overtime.

In the one-minute sudden victory period, Wilson and Mason looked like they were headed to two 30-second tiebreaker periods. But Wilson managed to get ahold of Mason at the edge of the mat with just seconds to go to score the late takedown and advance to Thursday evening's round of 16 against Parks.

“This is a tough tournament and a lot of things can happen,” Williams said. “We didn’t feel that Josh was an unranked wrestler coming into this and we’ve felt all along that he is capable of beating most of the guys here. So he’ll go out and try to prove that on Friday.”

Session III (quarterfinals) of the championships will begin Friday at 9 a.m. MT. Session IV (semifinals) will then take place Friday at 5 p.m. MT. Both sessions can be seen live on ESPNU and WatchESPN.com.

For results of Thursday's action are available at trackwrestling.com.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.