Dec. 4, 2005
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Navy freshman Joe Baker (Poway, Calif.), who was wrestling unattached, won his first individual title at 133 pounds to lead a strong Navy showing at the competitive Penn State Open on Sunday afternoon. Baker was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler after knocking off several top wrestlers at 133 pounds en route to the title. Baker was wrestling in his first competition in over a year after suffering a shoulder injury last year.
In all, 10 Navy wrestlers placed in the top eight of their respective weight classes.
"Obviously, it was a great showing by Joe Baker, and we had some other strong performances," said Navy head coach Bruce Burnett. "But we made some mistakes today and with the level of competition we were facing today, the opponents took advantage. A lot of the mistakes got us beat today."
Baker, who is considered a freshman and will join the team during the second semester, steamrolled through the field at 133 pounds. Baker won his first match by a technical fall and his next match by a fall in 41 seconds. In the round of 16, Baker decisioned Jason Cuccolo of Sacred Heart, 11-4, then pulled off the upset of the tournament, defeating No. 5-ranked and 2005 All-American Evan Sola of North Carolina, 7-5. Baker defeated teammate Brad Canterbury (Blue Bell, Pa.), who finished fourth, in the semifinals, 10-5. Lastly, in the finals, Baker knocked off Penn's Matt Eveleth, 7-4.
At heavyweight, sophomore Ed Prendergast (St. Louis, Mo.) placed second with a 5-1 record, falling to North Carolina's Spencer Nadolsky in the finals. Along the way, Prendergast defeated four of his opponents by decision and one by fall.
Junior John Jarred
(Kansas City, Mo.) continued his strong season, finishing third at 157 pounds. Jarred scored a huge victory in the round of 16 over Hofstra's Jon Masa, 17-14. Masa finished third at last year's NCAA Tournament at 149 pounds. Jarred was defeated by Heidelburg College's Joe Pflug, 10-6, in the semifinals, but rebounded with a victory over Jayson Layton of Nassau Community College, in the third-place match. Jarred's record stands at a sparkling 17-2.
"Jarred has really performed well this year, now that he has gotten a chance," said Burnett. "He has had the opportunity to wrestle more matches and has really stepped up and wrestled well."
Senior Chris Pogue (Chesapeake, Va.) secured Navy's other fourth-place showing, coming at 184 pounds. Pogue advanced to the semifinals with an impressive 5-4 victory over Penn State's Chad Unger in the quarterfinals.
Earning fifth-place finishes were senior heavyweight Tanner Garrett (Tulsa, Okla.) and junior 149-pounder John Cox (Grand Haven, Mich.). Garrett fell in the second round to North Carolina's Dan Goetter by a fall with no time left. Garrett was leading 11-5 with 12 seconds left, and went in for a shot on Goetter, but got out of position and Goetter ended with the pin. Garrett, however, would go on to breeze through the consolation bracket, scoring a victory over No. 8-ranked Payam Zarrinpour of Sacred Heart, 5-2, in the fifth-place match.
At 149 pounds, Cox advanced to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Penn's Matt Dragon. Cox would score a 3-2 victory over teammate Matt Gulosh in the fifth-place match. Gulosh wound up sixth.
Other placewinners included freshman Caleb Levee (Mandeville, La.; 7th) and senior Andrew Adams (Dublin, Ohio) at 197 pounds.
"We know that we are going to have to fix the mistakes we have been making or else we will continue to get beat by good wrestlers," said Burnett. "We have a chance to perform against a strong team on Friday and it will be a good challenge for us."
Navy, ranked 21st in the country, will host 13th-ranked Penn State on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., in Halsey Field House. For ticket information, call 1-800-US4-NAVY.
Navy's Placewinners (Tournament record; 2005-06 record)
125 (7th) -- Caleb Levee (5-2; 9-6)
133 (1st) -- Joe Baker (6-0; 6-0)
133 (4th) -- Brad Canterbury (3-2; 11-7)
149 (5th) -- John Cox (6-1; 18-3)
149 (6th) -- Matt Gulosh (7-2; 13-6)
157 (3rd) -- John Jarred (5-1; 17-2)
184 (4th) -- Chris Pogue (4-2; 11-5)
197 (7th) -- Andrew Adams (3-2; 8-7)
HW (2nd) -- Ed Prendergast (5-1; 12-5)
HW (5th) -- Tanner Garrett (7-1; 19-1)
# GO NAVY #