Reserves Spark Come-From-Behind Win by Navy Wrestling
FAIRFAX, Va. -- The Navy wrestling team (8-2) won five of the final six bouts to overcome a 10-3 deficit and defeat George Mason (5-11), 26-13, Wednesday evening at the Recreation and Athletic Complex in Fairfax, Va. Undefeated in the series, the Mids have now won nine in a row against the Patriots.
The match, which was slated to begin at 7:00 pm, was delayed an hour and 20 minutes after the referee experience car trouble en route to the arena. Officials were able to find a replacement who then battled heavy traffic before arriving for the match. As the teams were waiting for the arrival of the replacement referee, the two programs joined together to provide a free clinic to the youngsters in attendance.
"Anytime you start an event an hour and a half late, it can have a negative impact," said third-year Navy head coach Joel Sharratt. "Tonight our guys learned how to deal with adversity that was out of their control and although it seemed like a slow start, the next man stepped up. A number of our key contributors were sidelined tonight with various ailments and we asked our bench to fill that void.
"I am incredibly proud of our guys who were not in the starting lineup who stepped in and offered 60-75 youth wrestlers a free kids clinic. Team captain Ryan Harman and many of our Plebes made a positive impact on several young wrestlers tonight! "
The delay appeared to have little effect on George Mason as it took advantage of its strength in the lower weight classes by winning three of the first four matches and opening up a 10-3 lead.
Junior 125-pound Ibrahim Bunduka, ranked 24th in the NCAA Coaches Panel Ranking, improved to 13-2 on the year by edging out Navy's Brant Leadbeter, (Jr / Owings, Md.), 10-8. The Patriots then pushed their lead to 7-0 when freshman Lio Quezada dealt the Mids' Ricky Bryant (Bowie, Md.) a 9-1 loss in what was just the third dual appearance for the Navy rookie.
Navy got on the scoreboard at 141 pounds where 13th-ranked Jared Prince (Safety Harbor, Fla.) earned his 20th victory of the year in a hard-fought match against redshirt sophomore Tejon Anthony. Prince trailed Anthony 2-1 after the opening period, but knotted it up as the two headed into the final stanza. Anthony picked up the go-ahead escape to open the third before a controversial sequence of events. The referee first awarded Prince what would be the match-winning takedown before reversing the call. Navy's coaching staff challenged the call and the takedown was awarded as Prince picked up the 4-3 win.
"Jared Prince continues to show his commitment to winning," noted Sharratt. "He wrestled line-to-line and whistle-to-whistle, producing a victory on will and skill during the final 20 seconds."
George Mason pushed its lead back to seven (10-3) when Sahid Kargbo took advantage of riding time for a 5-4 decision over Navy's Corey Wilding (Jr / Pittsburgh, Pa.) at 149 pounds. Wilding trailed Kargbo 4-2 going into the third, but his takedown to knot the match at the buzzer would not be enough after Kargbo built riding time early in the match. Kargbo, who has enjoyed a sensational senior season and is ranked #21 in the Coaches Panel Ranking, improved to 23-2 on the year.
"Corey narrowed the gap on a tough competitor and is looking very competitive as we push through the schedule towards the Star Match."
Navy began to whittle away at the deficit when reserves Casey Cowan (Jr / Houston, Texas) at 157 pounds and Jonathan Carrera at 165 pounds stepped up to the challenge and helped spark a five-match winning streak by the Mids. Cowan, who has filled in for an injured Zach Elvin (Fr / Harrisburg, Pa.) over the last handful of weeks, opened up a 2-1 lead after the first period before GMU's Matt Raines locked it up at two apiece. Cowan would gut it out for a 3-2 victory.
Drew Daniels (Jr / Overland Park, Kan.), Navy's starting 165-pounder who over the last two weeks won his first collegiate individual tournament title and earned his first career win over a nationally-ranked opponent, was forced to sit out after battling the flu. Jonathan Carrera (So / Milton, Mass.) answered the call and built a 6-0 advantage over the Patriots' Danile Mika heading into the final period. Carrera would go on and earned bonus points for the Mids with his win by fall with just 14 seconds remaining in the match.
The win gave Navy its first lead of the match and one it would not relinquish as the Mids continued to steamroll past the Patriots with back-to-back-to-back bonus point victories at 174, 185 and 197 pounds.
Fifteenth-ranked Jadaen Bernstein (Jr / Glen Gardner, N.J.) earned his eighth straight win with a 16-6 major decision over Ryan Forrest at 174 pounds, while Michael Coleman (Jr / Hudson, Ohio) earned his third win this season by way of a fall after pinning 184-pound Austin Harrison in the opening period (2:29). Steban Cervantes (Jr / Chula Vista, Calif.) sealed the team victory for the Midshipmen and reached the 20-win milestone with his 16-5 major decision over Matt Meadows at 197 pounds.
"From 174 to 197, we have continued our dominance in attitude and effort by competing the Navy way. It hard to replace the two great competitors we lost last year in All-American Mathew Miller (184) and Michael Woulfe (197), but these three guys have all stepped up match after match."
George Mason won the final bout of the evening, a 10-5 decision by heavyweight Matt Voss over the Mids' Thomas Ott (So / Lewes, Del.).
The Midshipmen return to action Sunday, Feb. 19, when they travel to West Point to battle arch rival Army West Point in the annual Star Match.
Navy 26, George Mason 13
125 | Ibrahim Bunduka decision Brant Leadbeter (NAVY), 10-8 | 0-3
133 | Lio Quezada major decision Ricky Bryant (NAVY), 9-1 | 0-7
141 | #13 Jared Prince (NAVY) decision Tejon Anthony, 4-3 | 3-7
149 | Sahid Kargbo decision Corey Wilding (NAVY), 5-4 | 3-10
157 | Casey Cowan (NAVY) decision Matt Raines, 3-2 | 6-10
165 | Jonathan Carrera (NAVY) fall Daniel Mika, 6:46 | 12-10
174 | #15 Jadaen Bernstein (NAVY) major decision Ryan Forrest, 16-6 | 16-10
184 | Michael Coleman (NAVY) fall Austin Harrison, 2:29 | 22-10
197 | Steban Cervantes (NAVY) major decision Matt Meadows, 16-5 | 26-10
285 | Matt Voss decision Thomas Ott (NAVY), 10-5 | 26-13
### Go Navy ###