Jan. 7, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Despite winning three of the first five matches and building a 10-6 advantage, the Navy wrestling team (2-3) dropped a 26-10 decision to ninth-ranked Oklahoma (4-2) in front of a raucous crowd at Wesley Brown Field House in Annapolis Saturday evening. It was the first dual meet held in the facility which was built in 2008 and was named for the first African American to graduate from the school, retired Lt. Cmdr. Wesley A. Brown.
“I knew we would be a little tired out there tonight because I worked them pretty hard this week, but overall I thought we competed hard,” said 12th-year Navy head coach Bruce Burnett, whose Mids competed in the Southern Scuffle this past Sunday and Monday and did not get back to the Academy until late Tuesday evening.
“I think we let at least two matches get away from us. I think we panicked a little. But, when you wrestle the great teams they will exploit your weaknesses. The flip side of that is that you can see what those weaknesses are and work on fixing them. A perfect example of that is Bobby Barnhisel who did not make the mistakes tonight that he did early in the year. We dropped the match, but we gained a great deal by wrestling Oklahoma.”
The Sooners picked up the first win of the evening, as 10th-ranked 149-pound Nick Lester scored a hard-fought 11-7 victory over Navy rookie Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) in what was Walsh’s first dual action of his collegiate career. Lester led Walsh 9-4 with under 30 seconds to go in the match, however, Walsh was able to score the escape and get a takedown in the final 16 seconds to close to within two. Lester was awarded an escape with four seconds remaining and gained another point with more than a minute riding time.
Navy junior Bobby Barnhisel (River Forest, Ill.) gave the Mids a much-needed boost in the following bout, as he scored a huge upset over 12th-ranked Matt Lester at 157 pounds. Barnhisel, who in the last week has gotten back on the mat after suffering a knee injury in mid-November, struck quickly as he took Lester down just 10 seconds into the match and pushed his lead to 5-0 with a three-point nearfall. Although Lester would rally in the final period and a late takedown with 15 seconds remaining would clip Barnhisel’s lead to just one, the Navy junior posted an escape with two seconds remaining to earn an 8-6 victory over Lester.
“Bobby competes hard all of the time, so that really wasn’t a surprise tonight,” said Burnett. “He wrestled with great intensity and energy, but again he was able to learn from previous mistakes and earn a great win tonight.
Hometown favorite Bubby Graham of Oklahoma put the Sooners back on top thanks to a 12-5 victory over Matt Jackson (Rising Sun, Md.), who gave a valiant effort. The Mids have been riddled with injuries at that weight class and Jackson, normally a 157-pounder, stepped in to meet the challenge. Graham, an Annapolis High School graduate, wrestled his first two seasons at American before following head coach Mark Cody to Oklahoma this season.
The Mids took their first lead in the match following a major decision by junior Oscar Huntley (Stafford, Va.) at 174 pounds. Huntley’s takedown with 35 seconds remaining in the second period gave him the lead for good, however, he used three third-period takedowns, including one with five seconds left, to earn a 12-4 victory and put the Mids up, 7-6.
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the evening, the 184-pound weight class was as exciting as last year’s bout in which Navy’s Luke Rebertus (Gloucester, Va.) won in a tie breaker. OU’s Erich Schmidtke, ranked 20th nationally, took a 2-0 advantage with a takedown late in the first period. Schmidtke rode Rebertus out for a good portion of the second period before the two-time NCAA qualifier was finally able to score the point for an escape. Rebertus turned the table on Schmidtke in the third period, as Rebertus was able to run Schmidtke’s one-plus minute of riding time down. Rebertus, however, needed to make something happen as time was running out and Schmidtke held a 2-1 lead. The nation’s 14th-ranked wrestler did just that, scoring the takedown with 11 seconds left and tacking on a two-point nearfall with one tick left on the clock to go ahead, 5-3. Schmidtke was awarded an escape at the horn, but Rebertus was rewarded for his hard work with a 5-4 victory to push the Mids’ lead to 10-6.
“If you want to take about competing hard until the final horn, Luke was a great example of that,” said Burnett. “He was definitely tired from our workouts this week, but I was proud of the fact that he found a way to get it done. Finishing is important in this sport.”
It appeared Navy would extend its lead in the following match as newcomer Paul Rands (Cary, Ill.) held a 4-3 advantage over OU’s Keldrick Hall with under 20 seconds to go. Although Hall looked exhausted, he had enough in the tank to take one final shot and score the match-winning takedown with just six seconds left in the match to earned a 5-4 decision.
Sophomore heavyweight Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) made a costly error late in the opening period which resulted in a takedown by OU’s Kyle Colling, dramatically changing the match. Miller looked as though he would score the takedown over Colling, however, Miller’s momentum put him on his back as Colling secured the takedown. Colling used that momentum to open the second period, earning a three-point nearfall en route to an 11-2 victory.
Eighth-ranked Jarrod Patterson overpowered Navy rookie Patrick Prada at 125 pounds, as Patterson utilized five takedowns and better than three minutes of riding time to deliver a 12-4 loss to Prada.
Navy senior captain Aaron Kalil (Salem, N.H.) battled 11th-ranked Jordan Keller of OU at 133 pounds in what was another stellar matchup. After a scoreless first two periods which included Keller riding Kalil out the entire second period, Keller picked up the first point on an escape to open the third. Kalil took the lead, however, with a takedown with 1:13 to go in the match and was working on whittling down the riding time when Keller was able to score the reversal to take a 3-2 lead. Twentieth-ranked Kalil battled the remaining minute, but was unable to work is way free, as Keller picked up the 4-2 win with riding time.
The final bout of the night featured the nation’s top-ranked 141-pound wrestler, Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple, against Navy sophomore Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.). Maple spent the majority of the first two periods riding Borja out and nearly pinned the Navy youngster in the second with a three-point nearfall. Maple toyed with Borja throughout the third period, playing cat and mouse, as he recorded four takedowns before finally pinning Borja at 6:29 (12-3 score).
“Peyton (Walsh), Paul (Rands) and Dan (Miller) all came up short tonight, but they put forth a great effort. There were a few technical errors that were made that can be fixed, but they were in it to win it.”
The Midshipmen will be back in action next Friday when they travel to East Stroudsburg for a 7:00 pm match and then will face Lehigh on Saturday in Bethlehem, Pa. at 7:00 pm.
Oklahoma 26, Navy 10
149 – #10 Nick Lester (OU) dec. Peyton Walsh (N), 11-7
157 – Bobby Barnhisel (N) dec. #12 Matt Lester (OU), 8-6
165 – #20 Bubby Graham (OU) dec. Matt Jackson (N), 12-5
174 – Oscar Huntley (N) major Nolan McBryde (OU), 12-4
184 – #14 Luke Rebertus (N) dec. #20 Erich Schmidtke (OU), 5-4
197 – Keldrick Hall (OU) dec. Paul Rands (N), 5-4
285 – Kyle Colling (OU) major Dan Miller (N), 11-2
125 – #8 Jarrod Patterson (OU) major Patrick Prada (N), 12-4
133 –#11 Jordan Keller (OU) dec. #20 Aaron Kalil (N), 4-2
141 – #1 Kendric Maple (OU) fall Raymond Borja (N), 6:29
Exhibition - Marcus Armato (OU) dec. James Mannier (N), 6-5
### Go Navy ###