Navy Wrestlers Bow Out of NCAA Championship
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Navy’s wrestling season came to a close on Friday evening, as each of Navy’s four qualifiers - Jared Prince (Fr / 141 / Safety Harbor, Fla.), Jadaen Bernstein (Jr / 174 / Glen Gardner, N.J.), Michael Coleman (Jr / 184 / Hudson, Ohio) and Steban Cervantes (Jr / 197 / Chula Vista, Calif.) - were eliminated after succumbing for a second time at the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championship held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
“We had four athletes who came to the NCAA Championship with high goals and a strong will to compete,” said third-year Navy head coach Joel Sharratt. “I could not be more proud of the effort these men gave in every match they wrestled over the last two days. Going 4-0 on Friday morning sends a strong message to how talented these guys are and what the future of this program looks like. We lost some matches to talented wrestlers, but we never lost the battle of the heart and never conceded in our ‘Expect To Win’ mentality.”
All four wrestlers came into Friday’s second day of competition having suffered an opening-day loss, however, all four survived their opening-round match on Friday before Prince, Coleman and Cervantes bowed out of the tournament in the third round of wrestlebacks. Bernstein would make it to the evening session, but he would fall just one win shy of attaining All-America status.
One of three first-time NCAA qualifiers for the Mids, Prince closed out his season with a 27-9 overall record and an undefeated 7-0 mark in dual competition. The 27 wins are the most by a Navy freshman since Luke Rebertus won 36 matches in 2008-09. Additionally, the 27 wins are tied as the fifth most in program history at 141 pounds and the most since Brad Canterbury won 28 in 2006-07.
Prince opened the second day of competition by jumping out to an 8-1 first-period lead en route to a 10-3 victory over Lock Haven’s Ronald Perry. Prince took Perry down with 36 seconds left in the opening period and nearly scored the pin, but was in turn awarded a four-point near fall in a match he never trailed.
Hoping to change his luck from an earlier meeting against #9 seed Colton McCrystal of Nebraska, Prince fell behind early. He fought his way back and despite knotting the match with 42 seconds to go in the bout, the rookie’s quest to garner All-America honors were dashed in an 8-5 loss to McCrystal.
“As a freshman, Jared Prince made great adjustments in his style to be ready for this moment,” said Sharratt. “He helped the team raise the bar by competing with our top guys, hungry to prove his ability. He is an exciting wrestler and this experience will be a motivator for him for a long long time. This no doubt will hurt, but it’s important he knows he is now a highly-regarded national competitor.”
Coleman, meanwhile, began the day with a rematch of his EIWA semifinal two weeks ago against #15 seed Steve Schneider of Binghamton. The first-time qualifier dealt Schneider a 6-3 loss in that match to earn his first win over a nationally-ranked opponent. On Friday, Coleman won his second match against a nationally-ranked foe as he dominated Schneider, 6-2, in a match he racked up nearly four minutes of riding time.
Meeting for the first time, Coleman face #10 seed Michael Macchiavello of NC State in his ensuing match. After a scoreless opening period, Coleman took a 1-0 lead with an escape. Macchiavello knotted the match at one apiece with his escape just 10 seconds into the final period. The junior member of the Wolfpack went on to claim the match after Coleman was called for his second stall of the match and a point was awarded a point.
“Michael Coleman battled today and helped contribute to our team score,” added Sharratt. “Every wrestler scoring team points is what will put this program back among the top tier of programs. Michael’s performance this weekend was a demonstration of the grit it takes to produce victory at this level.”
Coleman, who bumped up two weight classes and sat our nearly two months with a dislocated elbow, finished his remarkable season with a 22-9 mark overall and a 4-2 dual record.
Cervantes faced a familiar foe in #15 seed Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin to open Friday’s action. The two met in early December at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational where an 8-2 loss to Robertson eliminated Cervantes from the competition. The two spent the first period methodically waiting for their golden opportunity. It didn’t happen in the first period and the second period was highlighted by a Robertson escape. Cervantes scored the match’s only takedown with 46 seconds remaining in the match, but Robertson was able to tie the match just seconds later, sending the match into extra minutes. Robertson looked to have control in overtime, but Cervantes was able to score the defensive fall (7:38) to win the match in sudden victory and advance.
Cervantes met unseeded Daniel Chaid of North Carolina in what was a fast and furious bout. The Navy junior built a 2-1 lead after one and opened the second period with a reversal to take a 4-1 lead. After an escape by Chaid, Cervantes would give up a takedown at the edge of the mat with under 30 seconds to go in the period as Chaid knotted it up at 4-4. Cervantes took a one-point advantage into the final stanza with an escape with just five seconds left in the period. Chaid scored the only point of the third period, an escape just four seconds in, to send the match into bonus minutes. Cervantes got in on a single leg against Chaid in sudden victory, but could not complete the move as the match moved into a tie-breaker. Chaid rode out Cervantes for 30 seconds, but Cervantes was unable to control Chaid and the Tar Heel scored what would be the match-winning point (6-5) on an escape just four seconds into the next tie breaker.
“Steban Cervantes demonstrated why you always need to prepare,” said Sharratt. “As an at-large selection, he won two matches and his aggressive second bout today was decided by inches. He is so powerful and the confidence that comes with winning matches at the NCAAs will be a strong boost for him in off-season training and his expectations for 2018.”
A first-time NCAA qualifier, Cervantes concluded the year with a 24-13 record that featured a 7-2 mark in dual action.
Navy’s final wrestler to bow out of the competition was Bernstein, a three-time NCAA qualifier. He opened the day with an absolutely dominating performance against Rutgers’ Jordan Pagano, who he defeated 8-0 and built more than four minutes of riding time. That victory marked Bernstein’s 30th of the year as he became just the 14th wrestler in school history to win 30 matches multiple times over a four-year career and the first since Bryce Saddoris accomplished the feat all four years (2008-11).
Bernstein drew #13 seed Taylor Lujan of Northern Iowa in his next match. Lugan got the best of Bernstein in early January at the Southern Scuffle where he dealt the Navy junior a 16-9 loss. Tied 2-2 going into the second period of Friday’s match, Bernstein was able to take the lead for good with an escape followed by a takedown in the opening one of action. A cat and mouse game saw Bernstein able to outscore Lujan 6-3 in the final period and a point for riding time gve him the 14-6 major decision.
The blood round featured a matchup against #10 seed Zach Brunson of Illinois. Brunson scored a takedown a minute into the match, but Bernstein was able to counter with a reversal. Brunson quickly got out of the grip of Bernstein to go up by one before taking Bernstein down and using a cradle for the two-point near fall. Brunson held a 7-2 lead going into the second period, but pushed the advantage to 11-2 when he was awarded a four-point near fall. Bernstein was unable to get out of the grasp of Brunson and went on to lose the match, 12-2.
“Jadaen has been a rock this season and his preparation put him on the doorstep of being an All American tonight,” said Sharratt. “He is torn up after his blood round match and my heart goes out to him. He can take solace in knowing he will have another opportunity to achieve his goal. He has 363 days to prepare for that moment and our team, institution and staff will leave no rocks unturned to help him in his quest.”
Although he fell just one win short of earning All-America status, Bernstein was among the final 12 wrestlers at 174 pounds. He closed out the year with a 31-10 record that included a flawless 9-0 mark in dual action. The 31 wins are the fifth most by a Navy wrestler at 174 pounds, joining All-American Matt Stolpinski who owns the top two win totals (44 & 42), along with Luke Rebertus (36). Bernstein will also head into his senior campaign just one win outside of Navy’s all-time top 20 wins list with an 89-37 three-year mark.
This team built a bond this weekend that will never be severed and strong teams are based in strong relationships. It was an honor to share this weekend and this journey with every one of these guys. They are warriors. They are gentlemen. They are Navy wrestlers.”
141 - (16) Jared Prince
• def. Colton Schilling, Cal Poly / Dec / 7-3
• lost to (1) Dean Heil, Oklahoma State / Dec / 8-5
• def. Ronald Perry, Lock Haven / Dec / 10-3
• lost to #9 Colton McCrystal, Nebraska / Dec / 8-5
174 - Jadaen Bernstein
• def. (12) Casey Kent, Penn / Dec / 7-3
• lost to (5) Mark Hall, Penn State / Tech Fall / 16-0
• def. Jordan Pagano, Rutgers / Major / 8-0
• def. #13 Taylor Lujan, Northern Iowa / Major / 14-6
• lost to #10 Zach Brunson, Illinois / Major / 12-2
184 - Michael Coleman
• lost to (1) Gabe Dean, Cornell / Major / 21-12
• def. Christian LaFragola, Brown / Dec / 7-4
• def. #15 Steve Schneider, Binghamton / Dec / 6-2
• lost to #10 Michael Macciavello, NC State / Dec / 2-1
197 - Steban Cervantes
• def. (16) Austin Severn, Central Michigan / Dec / 6-4 SV
• lost to (1) J’den Cox, Missouri / Major / 12-3
• def. #15 Ricky Robertson, Wisconsin / Fall / 7:38 SV
• lost to Daniel Chaid, North Carolina / Dec / 6-5 TB
### Go Navy ###