Mids Come From Behind for Conference Road Win Over American
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After dropping decisions in three of the first four matches of Friday night’s dual at American, the Navy wrestling team (6-1, 3-1 EIWA) rallied to win the final six matches and post a 25-9 victory over the Eagles (4-4, 1-2 EIWA). Winners of each of the last seven matches against American, the Midshipmen now lead the all-time series 13-1.
“It was good to see the team bounce back after a tough loss last weekend,” said fourth-year head coach Joel Sharratt, whose Mids dropped their first dual of the season last Sunday against sixth-ranked Lehigh. “I can say the greatest thing I take away from tonight is the resiliency in this team.
“American has notched some good wins this year and has a group of very talented athletes. Our depth across the 10 weights and the balance of the team among the classes is a very positive indicator for where we are and where we are headed.”
American looked to get off to a fast start with three of its best weight classes among the first four bouts. While the Eagles won those three weight classes - 197, 285, 125 - none of the three managed bonus points. Navy’s Joshua Roetman (Kotzebue, Alaska) kept 12th-ranked Jeric Kasunic relatively off-balance with Kasunic leading off the night with a 5-1 victory at 197 pounds.
American pushed its lead to 6-0 with a 3-2 victory by Brett Dempsey at heavyweight. Navy senior Austin Faunce (Lake Oswego, Ore.) picked up the first points of the match on a reversal with 38 seconds left in the second period, however, just 11 seconds later Dempsey was able to get the escape. Dempsey went on to not only get the match-tying escape, but was able to get it with exactly one minute of riding time remaining in his favor and that would be the deciding factor in the match.
The Mids broke into the scoring column when rookie Aslan Kilic (Marietta, Ga.) put forth a solid performance at 125 pounds against redshirt freshman Gage Curry. Kilic trailed 3-1 going into the final period, but an escape followed by a takedown with 35 seconds left gave him a one-point advantage. Unable to hold on, Kilic gave up the escape with 24 seconds left, allowing Curry to tie the match. Kilic, though, gutted out the win thanks to a takedown with just one second left on the clock.
“I can’t say I liked being down by six points early, but it was great to see Aslan go out there with the momentum against us and turn it around at 125,” Sharratt pointed out.
Though the outcome would go against Cody Trybus (Elkton, Md.), the rookie gave a terrific effort against 10th-ranked Josh Terao at 133 pounds. Trybus held Terao scoreless in the opening period, before gave up an escape and takedown early in the second period. Trybus would get free to get to within two points with 14 seconds left in the third period, but was unable to upset one of the nation’s best in a 4-1 loss.
“Trybus has wrestled several of the top ranked opponents in the country and keeps battling back with heart and passion,” said Sharratt.
Navy won the next two matches by identical 3-2 scores to pull even with the Eagles. Nineteenth-ranked Nicholas Gil (Crystal Lake, Ill.) capitalized on a counter attack to score what would be the match-winning takedown over redshirt freshman Kizhan Clarke at 141 pounds, while team captain Corey Wilding (Sr. / Pittsburgh, Pa.) held 20th-ranked Michael Sprague scoreless in the final period and used his one-minute, 29 seconds of riding time to pick up the win. It marked just the second career win over a ranked opponent in Wilding’s four-year career.
“Wilding’s win at 149 is a win he has been after for a couple years,” said Sharratt. “He has dropped a couple close bouts to Sprague previously and has really improved in the scrambles and spacial awareness in the flurry position.”
Senior 157-pound Zack Davis (Granger, Ind.) gave the Mids their first lead, one it would not relinquish, thanks to a 7-3 victory over rookie Eric Hong. Davis used a single-leg to take a 4-2 lead at the end of the second and stretched to lead to four with another single-leg to open the third. Davis topped two minutes in riding time to secure what was his 95th collegiate win, moving him into a tie for 17th on the Mids’ all-time wins list with Frank Shaffer (1980-83).
“Davis pushed the match the way we speak to at the Naval Academy - line to line and whistle to whistle. No matter the score, he is on the attack,” said Sharratt.
Known more for his low-scoring, methodical bouts, 20th-ranked Drew Daniels (Sr. / Overland Park, Kan.) produced a season-high tying 10 points in a 10-5 decision over American redshirt freshman Anthony Wokasch at 165 pounds. Daniels scored the opening points of the match less than 30 seconds into the match and never trailed as he recorded four takedowns en route to his 16th win of the season.
“Tonight was one of the better matches I have seen from Drew,” said Sharratt. “He showed a glimpse of how talented he is when he allows himself to wrestle. He progressively wrestled better and more aggressive as the match went on. He is very dangerous when he is hunting in the third period and up by four points.”
Sophomore AJ Alford (Beech Island, S.C.) has stepped up to the challenge of replacing an injured Jadaen Bernstein (Glen Gardner, N.J.) in the lineup at 174 pounds over the last three weeks. Alford once again answered the call on Friday evening, sealing the Navy victory with a 13-3 major decision over American redshirt junior Michael Eckhart. An exciting match, Alford owned a 6-1 advantage after a last second takedown and back points to end the first period. He was able to get the reversal to open the second period and tacked on a takedown with 16 seconds remaining in the second to push his lead to 10-2. Alford added another takedown in the final stanza and better than two minutes of riding time aided his fourth dual victory of the season.
Eighteenth-ranked 184-pound Michael Coleman (Sr. / Hudson, Ohio) stepped to the mat for the Mids in the final match of the night where he built a 10-0 advantage over redshirt freshman Prince Hyeamang before pinning him officially with eight seconds left in the opening period to give Navy a 25-9 victory.
“Starting at 197 was a nice challenge since we have been consistently starting at 125. It made the dynamic a little different and it was inspiring to see guys step up like Alford at 174 and Coleman dominating his opponent to close the match.”
Navy will be back on the mat Sunday afternoon when it travels to Durham, N.C. to battle Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium beginning at 2:00 pm. A free live video stream will be available on NavySports.com(.)
Navy 25, American 9
197 | #12 Jeric Kasunic dec. Joshua Roetman (NAVY), 5-1
285 | Brett Dempsey dec. Austin Faunce (NAVY), 3-2
125 | Aslan Kilic (NAVY) dec. Gage Curry, 6-4
133 | #10 Josh Terao dec. Cody Trybus (NAVY), 4-1
141 | #19 Nicholas Gil (NAVY) dec. Kizhan Clarke, 3-2
149 | Corey Wilding (NAVY) dec. #20 Michael Sprague, 3-2
157 | Zack Davis (NAVY) dec. Eric Hong, 7-3
165 | #20 Drew Daniels (NAVY) dec. Anthony Wokasch, 10-5
174 | AJ Alford (NAVY) major dec. Michael Eckhart, 13-3
184 | #18 Michael Coleman (NAVY) fall Prince Hyeamang, 2:52
### Go Navy ###