Jan. 12, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Lehigh (4-4) won six matches, including four of the first five to earn a 19-15 victory over the Navy wrestling team (1-1, 1-0 EIWA) Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The Mountain Hawks have now won five of their last six bouts against the Mids, including two of the last three in Annapolis.
“Overall we competed hard and we were pretty well conditioned,” said 13th-year Navy head coach Bruce Burnett. “We won some close matches, but we also a number of close matches and those are the ones you have to really come through and pull out in the third period. Sometimes I’m not sure our guys are expecting to win at this point. Hopefully they are going to turn that around because they realize they had an opportunity to win today.“
Lehigh jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead with wins by Alex Abreu (7-1) and Randy Cruz (4-1) at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively.
Navy found its way onto the scoreboard in the third match with Alex Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.) subbing in for starter Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) at 141 pounds. Johnson scored a takedown with 1:30 left in the opening period and rode out Lehigh freshman Laike Gardner for the remainder of the period. Gardner scored the lone point of the second period, but Johnson built more than 1:30 in riding time in the first two periods. Johnson extended his lead with an escape 20 seconds into the period and secured the win by taking down Gardner with under 30 seconds remaining in the match to win, 6-2. For Johnson, it was his first collegiate dual victory.
Johnson’s win, however, was not enough to keep the momentum driving the Mids’ way as Lehigh’s Shane Welsh dealt Navy 149-pound Ben Hunter (Harrisonville, Mo.) a 10-2 loss. Hunter got the starting nod after a nagging back injury kept Basich out of the lineup.
“We started pretty slow, but Alex stepped in and came through for us and got us a win,” added Burnett.
Lehigh increased its lead to 13-3 midway through the match after third-ranked Joey Napoli held off a solid performance by Navy senior Bobby Barnhisel, (River Forest, Ill.) who is ranked 13th at 157 pounds. Napoli was up 2-0 after the first and led 5-0 after the second period of action. It appeared that Barnhisel not only had reversed the hold, but that he may have in fact pinned Napoli but the period ended with Barnhisel getting nothing for his stellar work. Barnhisel cut into the lead early in the final period with a reversal and despite his efforts in trying to turn Napoli, he was unable to do so and dropped the match, 6-2.
“Bobby lost a close match and there were some close calls that went against us, but I thought he competed hard,” said Burnett.
Sophomore Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) dominated Lehigh’s Ben Haas at 165 pounds, taking a 5-0 lead into the second period after a takedown followed by a three-point nearfall at the end of the period. Walsh was awarded a reversal just seconds into the second period before pinning Haas at 3:57 to trim the Mountain Hawks’ lead to four at 13-9.
Perhaps the most anticipated match of the day was the 174-pound bout between 13th-ranked Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh and 14th-ranked Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.)of Navy. After a scoreless opening period, the two wrestlers continued to grind it out in the second before Miller was called for a questionable illegal hold with 16 seconds remaining. Unable to keep his focus, Miller gave up a reversal with seconds left in the period to find himself down 3-0 heading into the final stanza. Miller was quick to escape, but was almost immediately taken down again. Burnett erupted in frustration that Miller, too, was caught in an illegal hold that went uncalled. The rankings held true at the end of the match, however, with Brown edging Miller, 5-3, in what is sure to be the first of many classic bouts between the two youngsters.
“Matt had a chance to win his match against Brown and he knows he’s capable of winning that match,” said Burnett. Brown is tough, that’s why is ranked where he is, but we still need to find a way to win those matches.”
Senior Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.) came up short of an upset bid at 184 pounds, dropping a 4-2 decision to third-ranked Robert Hamlin. Bailey held a 1-0 advantage going into the final period, but Hamlin quickly evened the match with an escape and scored the match’s lone takedown with one minute to go in the match. Bailey trimmed the lead to 3-2 with an escape with 17 seconds left, but could get no closer and Hamlin owned 1:06 in riding time for the final decision.
Trailing 19-9, Navy still had an outside chance to win the match with two bouts remaining. Senior team captain Oscar Huntley (Stafford, Va.) used a takedown with under a minute to go to secure his 3-2 win over Lehigh rookie John Bolich, but he needed at least a major decision to give the Mids a chance to tie the match.
In the final bout of the day, senior Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) scored a takedown and a three-point nearfall with eight seconds left in the second sudden victory period to earn a 7-2 win over Mountain Hawk freshman Jack Delia.
The Mids will be back in action next Saturday when they make the short trip to College Park to battle nationally-ranked Maryland at 7:00 pm.
“The road ahead certainly doesn’t get any easier, it keeps getting tougher,” added Burnett. “But our guys can compete with their opponents, they just need to start believing in their abilities.”
Lehigh def Navy, 19-15
125: Alex Abreu (L) dec. Patrick Prada (N), 7-1 0-3
133: Randy Cruz (L) dec. Colton Rasche (N), 4-1 0-6
141: Alex Johnson (N) dec. Laike Gardner (L), 6-2 3-6
149: Shane Welsh (L) major dec. Ben Hunter (N), 10-2 3-10
157: #3 Joey Napoli (L) dec. #13 Bobby Barnhisel (N), 6-2 3-13
165: Peyton Walsh (N) pin Ben Haas (L), 3:57 9-13
174: #13 Nathaniel Brown (L) dec. #14 Mathew Miller (N), 5-3 9-16
184: #3 Robert Hamlin (L) dec. #20 Mason Bailey (N), 4-2 9-19
197: Oscar Huntley (N) dec. John Bolich (L), 3-2 12-19
285: Dan Miller (N) dec. Jack Delia (L), 7-2 sv2 15-19
### Go Navy ###