Seven Mids Place, Mat Miller Crowned 174-pound Champion at Roadrunner Open
Nov. 18, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. — Navy sophomore 174-pound Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.) picked up his fourth career tournament title, while six other Midshipmen placed among the top six at the 2013 Roadrunner Open held Sunday at Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif.
“Overall our guys looked really good and I couldn’t be more pleased about our seniors who are coming through for us with their leadership and the results on the mat,” said interim head coach Brian Antonelli. “We had three seniors place for us, including two who were in the finals of their respective matches. Those wrestlers who we lost to are the guys we are training to beat down the road at Nationals. So while it’s tough to lose, you can always step away with lessons learned and knowledge for the next time you face an opponent.
“Mat Miller wrestled a heck of a tournament and honestly I’m not surprised based upon how he has been practicing. He beat a really talented young man in the semifinals by getting points when he needed them. I’m happy with the progress he continues to make on the mat.”
Miller, who sat out last weekend’s Michigan State Open with an injury, looked nearly flawless en route to his title win. He opened the tournament with back-to-back pins before shutting out Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck, 4-0, in the quarterfinals.
His toughest test of the tournament came in the semis where he met 14th-ranked Bryce Hammond of CSU Bakersfield. Miller, ranked 17th nationally, pulled the upset with a 5-4 victory to punch his ticket to the championship bout. With 32 seconds remaining in his match, Miller could have ridden Hammond out to go into overtime, but instead cut him loose and drove him to the match in just five seconds and rode him out the final 27 seconds to take the win.
Miller went on to score a 6-2 victory over Stanford’s Zach Nevills to earn his second Roadrunner Open title in as many appearances.
Senior Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) also put together a strong effort, taking second at 141 pounds. Locksmith won two of his first three matches by way of fall, while scoring a 16-0 tech fall. CSU Bakersfield’s Timmy Box bowed out of his semifinals match against Locksmith with an injury just 33 seconds into the bout, sending Locksmith to the finals. Looking for his third collegiate crown, Locksmith would be denied as Maryland’s Shyheim Brown edged the Navy veteran, 3-2.
“Joe looked good, but I don’t think he wrestled as well as he could have in the finals and he realizes that,” said Antonelli. “There are a few things he needs to work out this week, but all that said, getting to the finals is pretty darn tough among that competition.”
Also finished second at the Roadrunner Open was Navy senior team captain James Mannier (Troy, Ohio), who turned in a 3-1 record at 184 pounds. Mannier scored early wins over Stanford’s Ryan Davies (5-3), CSU Bakersfield’s Sean Pollock (5-1) and Stanford’s Tommy Kimbrell to set up a championship bout against Maryland’s Jimmy Sheptock. Ranked third in the country, Sheptock dealt Mannier a 20-3 tech fall en route to the title win.
Taking third at 133 pounds was junior Colton Rasche (Plano, Ill.), who was tripped up in the semifinals by fifth-ranked Ryan Mango of Stanford, 7-2. Rasche rallied his way back with a 7-1 victory over Frank Lomas of Cal State Bakersfield, followed by a 6-4 decision over Cal Poly’s Colt Schilling in the third-place match.
Returning NCAA qualifier Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) also picked up a third-place finish thanks to a 3-1 decision over Appalachian State’s Zach Strickland at 165 pounds. Walsh opened up with a hard-fought victory over San Franscisco’s Vince Aboytes in overtime (6-5, TB1), but followed up with back-to-back major decisions. Walsh, however, was eliminated from the championship bracket when he faced CSU Bakersfield’s Adam Fierro in the semis and lost, 9-2.
Senior Zach Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.) finished the tournament with a 4-2 record and in fifth place at 157 pounds. Johnson scored major decisions in his first two bouts, followed by a 7-2 win over Maryland’s Danny Orem to earn his way into the semifinals. Johnson, however, would lose to Stanford’s Bret Baumbach, 11-2, to fall to the consolation bracket. Johnson dropped a second straight match to Stanford’s Peter Gaili, 9-3, but regrouped to take an 11-4 win over Orem for fifth.
Navy’s final placewinner of the tournament was sophomore William Miller (Chinook, Mont.), who showed character after dropping his opening bout of the day and fighting back for a sixth-place finish at 184 pounds. Miller won four in a row following his opening-round loss to Stanford’s Garet Krohn (12-8), before running out of gas in a 7-5 sudden victory loss to Stanford’s Tommy Kimbrell in the consolation semis. Miller again fell in sudden victory in the fifth-place bout to Stanford’s Michael Sojka, 3-1.
While rookie 125-pound Taylor French (Forsyth, Mont.) came up a match short of placing, he put together a 3-2 record. One of his two losses, his opener, was to the eventual champion, Stanford’s Evan Silver, while the other loss was to the third-place finisher, Billy Rappo of Maryland.
In addition to the Roadrunner Open, Navy also sent a team of 11 wrestlers to compete in the East Stroudsburg Open. Freshmen David Borden (Rupert, Idaho) and Alex Bergman (Oak Harbor, Ohio) finished fifth and 7th/8th, respectively.
The Mids will be back in action on Saturday when they play host to the 36th edition of the Navy Classic at Wesley Brown Field House in Annapolis. Joining Navy in the 12-team Navy Classic will be Bucknell, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Franklin & Marshall, George Mason, Kent State, Ohio, Princeton, Tennessee at Chattanooga, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Preliminary rounds are slated to begin at 10:00 am.
### Go Navy ###