Three Mids Set For Finals, Navy Second at EIWA Championship
March 8, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Three Navy wrestlers will battle for EIWA titles on Saturday as the opening day of the 109th EIWA Championship came to a close Friday evening at the RAC in Piscataway, N.J. Freshman 174-pound Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.), senior 184-pound Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.) and senior heavyweight Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) won semifinal matches to earn their way into Saturday night's finals while guiding the Midshipmen to second place in the standings with 94.0 points after day one of the two-day competition.
All three of Navy's finalists earned automatic berths into the NCAA Championship, while five others remain in contention for an automatic bid.
Second-seeded Mathew Miller will have his opportunity to avenge an earlier loss to Lehigh's Nathaniel Brown when the two meet in the championship bout at 174 pounds. Miller, who earned an opening-round bye, edged out seventh-seeded Cameron Croy of Harvard in the quarters before dispatching Army's Coleman Gracey for the second time this season by way of a 6-4 decision. Brown, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, scored a 5-3 decision over Miller in Lehigh in mid-January. Brown earned his way into the finals by way of three straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over Penn's Ian Korb in the semis.
Bailey fought off fifth-seeded Canaan Bethea of Penn, 3-1, in a tie breaker in the quarterfinals to earn a semifinals matchup against top-seeded Robert Hamlin of Lehigh. Hamlin, who dealt Bailey a 4-2 loss in Annapolis in January, bowed out of the tournament after suffering an injury, giving Bailey his first opportunity at winning an individual title. Bailey will face second-seeded Steve Bosak of Cornell, who has outscored his two foes in the tournament, 14-0, on Saturday in the championship bout.
A month ago, heavyweight Dan Miller dropped a tough 8-5 decision to Rutgers' Billy Smith in a dual match in Annapolis. Miller, however, got sweet revenge on Friday as he scored a 3-1 victory over top-seeded Smith in the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals against second-seeded Blake Herrin of American. Herrin bested Miller, 3-2, in a dual match wrestled in early February.
Meanwhile, junior 149-pound Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.), senior 157-pound Bobby Barnhisel (River Forest, Ill.), sophomore 165-pound Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) and senior 197-pound Oscar Huntley (Stafford, Va.) need to win their first match on Saturday to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. A win would put all four of the wrestlers in the third-place bout in their respective weight class.
Borja, seeded seventh, opened the tournament with a 14-4 major decision over Harvard's Todd Preston and earned a quarterfinals appearance against Lehigh's Shane Welsh whose tournament came to an end following an injury. Borja was sent to the consolation bracket, however, after dropping a 6-3 decision to third-seeded Daniel Young of Army. Borja will face fifth-seeded Kevin Tao of American in his first match on Saturday. Tao snapped Borja's six-match winning streak in early February with a 7-4 win.
Barnhisel, the tournament's third seed, dominated the field early in the tournament posting a tech fall (16-1) over Army's John Belanger and a major decision (12-0) over sixth-seeded Jesse Shanaman of Cornell in the quarters. Lehigh's Joey Napoli, the second seed, got the best of Barnhisel in the semis, pinning the Navy senior at 6:06 and sending him to the consolation bracket. Barnhisel will battle fourth-seeded Scott Winston first thing Saturday morning. Barnhisel and Winston will meet for the first time this season as Navy rookie Bobby Burg faced and defeated Winston in the regular-season dual.
Walsh opened the tournament with a 9-2 win over Harvard's Devon Gobbo before earning a 5-2 victory over fourth-seeded Paul Hancock who defeated the Navy sophomore in the annual dual just two weeks ago. Walsh's quest for an EIWA Championship, however, ended in the semis when top-seeded Kyle Dake earned a 10-2 major decision over Walsh. Walsh, who is seeded fifth, will have a tough match to open Saturday's competition. He will face the No. 2 seed, Corey Lear of Bucknell, who was upset in the quarters by seventh-seeded John Houldsworth of Columbia.
Huntley, the Mids' team captain, picked up a 7-1 win over sixth-seeded Jace Bennett of Cornell in the quarters, but suffered an injury against Harvard's James Fox in the semis. Should he be able to wrestle on Saturday, Huntley will be matched up against Army's Bryce Barnes who he defeated, 8-5, at the All-Academy Championship to claim the individual title.
Both sophomore Patrick Prada (Laurel, Md.) and junior Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) are on tap to wrestle in the seventh/eighth-place match on Saturday. Prada began the day with a 6-4 win over Columbia's Penn Gottfried, but suffered a 17-0 tech fall against top-seeded Nahshon Garrett of Cornell. Prada bounced back eith a 4-2 decision over Abraham Abreu of Lehigh in the second round of the consolations but Harvard's Jeffrey Ott stopped Prada in the consolation quarters, 5-4. Prada will face Gottfried for a second time in the tournament in a battle for seventh place. Prada came into the tournament as the eighth seed.
Locksmith is also in the seventh-place match on Saturday, however, a seventh-place finish would give him an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. After scoring an 11-4 win over Princeton's Kevin Moylan in the opener, Locksmith dropped a heartbreaker to top-seeded Michael Nevinger of Cornell in the quarterfinals. Nevinger, ranked ninth by Amateur Wrestling News, earned a 2-1 decision over Locksmith in the second tie breaker. Locksmith bounced back to earned a 3-2 decision over Columbia's Alec Mooradian but fell short against Rutgers' Trevor Melde, 3-2, in the consolation quarters. Locksmith will now face Army's Connor Hanafee on Saturday for the right to wrestle in the NCAA Championship. Hanafee defeated Locksmith in the dual two weeks ago, 8-5.
Defending EIWA Champion Cornell (109.5) stands atop the leader board with a 15.5-point advantage over the Midshipmen and have all 10 wrestlers remaining in the tournament. Navy, meanwhile, owns a 2.5 lead over third-place Penn (91.5) with both teams putting three wrestlers in championship bouts on Saturday. Lehigh stands fourth with 82.5 points, while Rutgers is fifth with 74.5 points.
The 109th EIWA Championships will continue on Saturday beginning at 10:00 am with the consolation semifinals. Consolation finals are slated to begin at 11:00 am, while the championship matches are on tap for 3:00 pm.
Automatic Qualifiers (45 total from EIWA)
125 - 4
133 - 2
141 - 7
149 - 4
157 - 5
165 - 5
174 - 4
184 - 5
197 - 5
285 - 4
### Go Navy ###