Navy Claims Sixth Straight All-Academy Championship Title
Junior Paul Rands beat Army's Bryce Barnes, 4-1, to win his first All-Academy Championship title.
Feb. 1, 2014
NEW LONDON, Conn. -- The Navy wrestling team sent eight wrestlers to the championship, where they won three individual titles en route to the Mids winning their 13th overall All-Academy Championship, including their sixth in a row. Nine of the Mids' 10 wrestlers placed among the top three as the Mids proved to be the better team on Saturday afternoon at Merriman Gym in Roland Hall in New London, Conn.
Navy stood atop the leader board with 108.5 pounds with three champions, while The Citadel fell in as the runner-up with 92.0 points and crowned four individual champions. Air Force finished third with 83.0 points and two champs, followed by Army with 71.0 points (1 champ), VMI (17.5), the Merchant Marine Academy (16.5), Norwich (6.5) and Coast Guard (2.0).
"I'm really proud of how our team has wrestled in the last couple of weeks and their hard work is translating," said Navy interim head coach Brian Antonelli. "We had a huge semifinal round and while we might not have wrestled quite to our abilities in the finals, the guys got the job done.
"I do want to say a special thank you to the Coast Guard Academy who did a phenomenal job of hosting the tournament this year and made it special for all of the teams. I thought it was just a class act tournament all the way around and appreciated the efforts the school put forth."
Navy has been the dominant team in the 20-year history of the tournament, winning 13 of the 20 championships including 10 of the last 11. The Mids have won 78 individual crowns in All-Academy Championship history, including 52 of the 110 titles over the last 10 years. The Mids won the team title in 1995, `97, `99, `04, `05, `06, `07, `09, `10, `11, `12, `13 and `14, while they claimed five or more individual titles in 1997, `99, `04, `05, `07, `08, `10, `11 and `13.
Navy had four returning title winners from last year's All-Academy Championship in action. Junior 133-pound Colton Rasche (Plano, Ill.) who came into the match nursing an injury, but looked healthy in winning his second All-Academy Championship title in as many years. Rasche opened with a 19-4 tech fall over Merchant Marines' Issac Hammonds and posted a 14-6 major decision over Army's Logan Everett in the semis. Rasche, who has reached the 20-win milestone for the first time in his career at 20-9, claimed the title with a 12-3 major decision over Air Force's Gregory Rinker. It's the fourth consecutive year Navy has won the 133-pound weight class at the All-Academy Championship.
"Colton wrestled a smart match against Rinker in the championship," said Antonelli. "Rinker is an all-around good athlete and Colton did a nice job of working the match in his direction."
Sophomore 174-pound Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.) also won his second All-Academy Championship title in as many tries by way of a medical forfeit by Army's Brian Harvey in the championship bout. Miller, though, had little trouble in finding his way to the championship, pinning The Citadel's Terrell Forbes in 1:31 and Josh Miller of the Merchant Marine Academy in the semis in 2:06. Ranked 15th nationally, Miller was the only wrestler in the tournament who won two matches by way of fall. A year ago, Miller became just the eighth freshman in school history to win an All-Academy crown as a rookie.
"Mat is a two-time champion here and that's not an easy thing to do," added Antonelli. "His pin points really helped the team. He's been healthy the past few weeks and you can see that coming through in the results on the mat."
Navy's final title winner was junior Paul Rands (Cary, Ill.) who scored a solid 4-1 victory over Army's Bryce Barnes in the championship. Rands, who has won five consecutive matches, pinned Phillip Azzari of Coast Guard in his first match of the day before punching his ticket into the championship via a 7-3 victory over Air force's Robert Isley. Rands, who placed fourth at the 2012 All-Academy Championship, is a first-time title winner at the event.
"I'm so proud of Paul. He's a talented wrestler who has had to fight and scratch his way through his first few years here," said Antonelli. "His win over the Barnes kid is big. It's big in terms of his confidence, but Barnes is coming off a couple of big wins himself over the last few weeks. Paul just continues to get better every weekend and I'm so proud of his progress."
Five Mids placed second in their matches on Saturday, including two who lost to nationally-ranked foes. Senior Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) came up short at 141 pounds where he lost a 7-3 decision to 12th-ranked Ugi Khishignyam of The Citadel. Meanwhile, junior 165-pound Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) dropped a tough 4-2 decision to 11th-ranked Turtogtokh Luvsandorj of The Citadel. It's the second time this season Walsh has lost a two-point decision to Luvsandorj.
"Peyton is closing the gap on the young man from The Citadel (Luvsandorj)," Antonelli said. "He's wrestling well for us right now and while he came up short in his finals match, he's continuing to work and correct the small things in his matches."
Meanwhile, sophomore 157-pound Bobby Burg (Gasport, N.Y.) stumbled in the championship match where the All-Academy Championship's Most Outstanding Wrestler, Aaron Walker, dealt Burg a 2-1 loss. Burg wrestled a solid tournament, turning in a 10- major decision over Norwich's Evan Poole and pinning Army's Paul Hancock (3:07).
Navy lost its remaining two championship bouts by way of injuries. Freshman 125- pound Brenden Campbell (New Castle, Ind.) earned his way into the championship thanks to wins over Coast Guard's Earl Roberts (Fall, 4:19) and The Citadel's Joaquin Marquez (10-7), but was forced to sit out the championship against fourth-ranked Josh Martinez of Air Force. Senior 149-pound Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.), who was the hero of Navy's dual against North Carolina a week ago, sustained a leg injury against Matt Frisch of The Citadel with under a minute to go in the championship bout. Borja earned his way into the finals thanks to back-to-back major decisions over Jack Walsh of the Merchant Marine Academy and Army's Mark Marchetti.
Placing third for the Midshipmen at 184 pounds was senior team captain James Mannier (Troy, Ohio). After dropping a 5-3 sudden victory decision to Army's Samson Imonode in the semifinals, Mannier came back to score a 7-3 decision over Samual Fry of the Merchant Marine Academy in the consolation semis and posted an 8-5 decision over The Citadel's Kenneth Radford in the third-place bout.
The Midshipmen return to action next Saturday when they make the trip to the nation's capital where they will face American at 7:00 pm.
20th Annual All-Academy Championship
Feb. 1, 2014 Merriman Gym in Roland Hall New London, Conn.
1. 108.5 Navy
2. 92.0 The Citadel
3. 83.0 Air Force
4. 71.0 Army
5. 17.5 VMI
6. 16.5 Merchant Marine Academy
7. 6.5 Norwich
8. 2.0 Coast Guard
125 - #4 Josh Martinez (Air Force) med forfeit Brenden Campbell (Navy), ---
133 - Colton Rasche (Navy) major dec Gregory Rinker (Air Force), 12-3
141 - #12 Ugi Khishignyam (The Citadel) dec Joe Locksmith (Navy), 7-3
149 - Matt Frisch (The Citadel) injury Raymond Borja (Navy), 6:08
157 - Aaron Walker (The Citadel) dec Bobby Burg (Navy), 2-1
165 - #11 Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (The Citadel) dec Peyton Walsh (Navy), 4-2
174 - #15 Mathew Miller (Navy) med forfeit Brian Harvey (Army), ---
184 - Samson Imonode (Army) dec Devin Hightower (Army), 2-1
197 - Paul Rands (Navy) dec Bryce Barnes (Army), 4-1
285 - Marcus Malecek (Air Force) dec Joe Bexley (The Citadel), 3-2 TB2
125 - Joaquin Marquez (The Citadel) major dec Michael Mull (Merchant Marine), 10-1
133 - Aaron Hansen (The Citadel) major dec Alex Stewart (Norwich), 17-4
141 - Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) dec Emmitt Kelly (VMI), 3-1 SV
149 - Natrelle Demison (Air Force) dec Mark Marchetti (Army), 7-3
157 - Paul Hancock (Army) dec Joshua Kreimier (Air Force), 11-6
165 - Chandler Smith (Army) dec Mark Darr (VMI), 6-2
174 - Konner Witt (Air Force) dec Josh Miller (Merchant Marine), 4-1
184 - James Mannier (Navy) dec Kenneth Radford (The Citadel), 8-5
197 - Robert Isley (Air Force) dec Marshall Haas (The Citadel), 6-3
285 - Juan Adams (VMI) dec Trevor Smith (Army), 7-0
Most Outstanding Wrestler - Aaron Walker, The Citadel
Falls Award - Mathew Miller, Navy
### Go Navy ###