Mannier Takes Eighth at Nittany Lion Open
Dec. 4, 2011
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — The Navy wrestling team closed out a busy weekend of action by sending 15 wrestlers to compete at the Nittany Lion Open on Sunday where sophomore 174-pound James Mannier (Troy, Ohio) placed eighth.
Navy opened the weekend with head coach Bruce Burnett and assistant coach Brian Antonelli traveling out West with the Mids’ top 10 wrestlers to take part in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Friday and Saturday where the Midshipmen placed 18th out of 34 teams and had two top-eight placewinners.
In Sunday’s tournament, only Mannier managed to find his way onto the podium despite a handful of wrestlers coming up just a match short of having the opportunity to place.
Mannier opened Sunday by claiming a 5-1 victory over Virginia Tech’s Austin Gabel, followed by a 5-2 victory over Andre Petroski of North Carolina. Mannier extended his winning streak to three in a row by shutting out Army’s Robert Doyle, 5-0, to earn a spot in the quarterfinals. However, Mannier faced the toughest challenge of his young career when he drew the nation’s second-ranked wrestler on his home turn, Penn State’s Ed Ruth. Ruth, in fact, claimed the win, pinning Mannier at 1:38.
Mannier, however, regrouped and and scored a 12-6 decision over the Nittany Lions’ Andrew Church in the consolation bracket. He came up short in the following match as Columbia’s Stephen West posted a 7-5 win over Mannier, sending him to the seventh-place match. Mannier again lost a close match, this time it was NC State’s Quinton Godley who nipped the second-year Mid, 7-5.
Among those wrestlers performing well but coming up just short of the placement matches were 141-pounders Alex Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.) and Quentin Leadbeter (Owings, Md.). Johnson, a sophomore, began the tournament on a strong note, pinning Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Kyle Sunseri at 4:47. Johnson, however dropped an 11-0 major decision to Penn State’s Luke Frey who was wrestling unattached.
In the consolation bracket, Johnson won three in a row which featured an 11-1 win over Columbia’s Matt Bystol. Johnson was bounced for the tournament a match later by Army junior Casey Smith by a 7-0 count.
Meanwhile, Leadbeter, a rookie followed almost the same roadmap as Johnson, winning his opener before falling in the second round. Leadbeter opened with a 7-4 victory over Pitt’s Ronnie Garbinsky, but was dealt a 9-6 loss by Michael Depalma of Edinboro. The Navy newcomer worked his way back by winning three straight, including a pair of one-point decisions before bowing out of the tournament by way of a fall (1:40) against NC State’s Darius Little.
Meanwhile, sophomore Ben Hunter (Harrisonville, Mo.) also came up just short of placing, as he posted a 4-2 record at 149 pounds. Hunter won his first-two matches of the day before Army’s John Belanger scored a tech fall and sent Hunter to the consolation bracket. Hunter scored a 6-1 victory over his teammate rookie Peyton Walsh and followed up with a 5-3 win over Ryan Bilyeu of Army. Hunter, though, dropped a 3-1 decision to Pitt’s Josh Pascazi to end his day.
Finally, sophomore Johnny Watson (Lexington, N.C.) also turned in a 4-2 record at 157 pounds for the Mids. He received an opening-round bye, but picked up a 9-0 major decision over Cal Stack of Lehigh in the second round. He was sent to the consolation bracket, however, by Columbia’s Eric Fajardo by was of a 5-3 defeat.
Watson rallied and won three in a row, including a 7-4 victory over George Mason’s Jaaziah Bethea. Watson’s streak would be snapped, however, by Lehigh’s Eric Hess, who pinned Watson in 47 seconds.
The Mids will wrestle in their final competition before the close of the calendar year when they travel to Lancaster, Pa. next Friday to face Franklin & Marshall in a dual. Action is slated to begin at 7:30 pm.
### Go Navy ###