Jan. 16, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The 2-0 Navy wrestling team travels to Bethlehem, Pa. on Friday evening in hopes of knocking off 21st-ranked Lehigh and beating the Mountain Hawks on their home mat for the first time since 1995. Action is slated to begin at 7:00 pm at Grace Hall in what will be the 94th meeting between the two programs.
Fans unable to attend Friday's match can follow the action via Lehigh's live video feed for free at http://new.livestream.com/PatriotLeagueNetwork/lehigh or by clicking here
The Midshipmen are coming off a 26-12 victory over unranked Maryland a week ago in Annapolis. The Mids dropped three of their first four matches against the Terps, all three against nationally-ranked wrestlers, but regrouped to win the final six bouts including two extra-point matches.
The match against the Terps marked the return of sophomore 174-pound Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.), who had been out for a month with an injury. Opening the evening at 174 pounds, Miller dismantled Maryland's Tony Gardner and pinned him in just over four minutes.
Senior Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) scored a huge win for the Mids at 141 pounds where he avenged an earlier loss this season to 15th-ranked Shyheim Brown. Brown, who beat Locksmith 3-2 in the championship bout at the Roadrunner Open, led 2-1 early in the dual. Locksmith, however, used an escape at the start of the second to knot the match and a takedown with 29 seconds remaining in the period gave him a 4-2 lead. Brown selected the down position in the third period and Locksmith was able to ride him out and turn his riding time deficit into a point for himself, as he picked up the 5-2 win.
Meanwhile, seniors Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Zach Johnson (Memphis, Tenn.) scored major decisions at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively. Borja continues to get stronger and more comfortable on the mat after missing the entire first half of the season with an injury, while Johnson won his first collegiate dual match.
Lehigh enters Friday night's match against the Mids with a 5-4 dual meet mark and is looking to bounce back from a 33-7 loss to sixth-ranked Cornell last Sunday. The Mountain Hawks wrestled the early part of their season at home, but have not been in front of their hometown crowd since Nov. 22 when they dropped a 16-15 heart breaker to Pitt.
Guided by sixth-year head coach Pat Santoro, the Mountain Hawks have wins over Bloomsburg (22-13), Central Michigan (24-9), Virginia (19-14), Columbia (25-9) and Penn. Their losses have been at the hands of Bucknell (18-17, 2nd criteria), Penn State (22-12), Pitt (16-15) and Cornel (33-7).
There will be five matches featuring nationally-ranked wrestlers on Friday evening, including the 174-pound weight class that pits Navy's 11th-ranked Mathew Miller against 16th-ranked Elliot Riddick of Lehigh. Miller stands 11-3 (1-0), while Riddick owns a 13-7 (6-3) mark.
Sixth-ranked 133-pound Mason Beckman of Lehigh is undefeated in dual action with a 9-0 mark and is 14-2 overall. He will square off against Navy junior Colton Rasche (Plano, Ill.) who is among Navy's most successful wrestlers on the mat this season with a 17-7 mark (2-0).
Lehigh's Laike Gardner is ranked 18th at 141 pounds and holds a 5-3 dual meet mark this winter, while 12th-ranked Mitch Minotti has posted a 5-4 dual record at 149 pounds. Finally, the Mountain Hawks' Joey Napoli has put together a 7-1 record this season at 157 pounds where he is ranked eighth.
The Midshipmen, who have wrestled Lehigh in a dual in each of the last 63 years, hold a slight 47-46 series advantage. The Mountain Hawks have won 15 of the last 17 matches with the Mids earning wins in two of the last seven. Navy's last win in the series came on Jan. 15, 2011, when it took a 19-15 victory in Annapolis. The Mids' last win in Bethlehem, however, was almost two decades ago when Navy routed the Mountain Hawks, 22-9, on Jan. 28, 1995.
In addition to its dual, Navy will send a group of approximately 16 wrestlers to the Shorty Hitchcock Open in Millersville, Pa. on Sunday.
Projected Navy Lineup
125 - Brendon Campbell - Fr, New Castle, Ind. (7-7, 2-0) -OR- Dane Lennon, Fr, California, Md. (0-4, 0-0)
133 - Colton Rasche - Jr, Plano, Ill. (17-7, 2-0) -OR- Jericho Urmenita, Sr, Auburn, Wash. (4-3, 0-0)
141 - Joe Locksmith - Sr, Kissimmee, Fla. (13-9, 2-0)
149 - Raymond Borja - Sr, Virginia Beach, Va. (4-2, 2-0) -OR- Alex Johnson - Sr, Memphis, Tenn. (9-5, 0-0)
157 - Zach Johnson - Sr, Memphis, Tenn. (8-10, 1-1) -OR- Ben Hunter - Sr, Harrisonville, Mo. (7-4, 0-0)
165 - Peyton Walsh - Jr, Glen Allen, Va. (18-10, 1-0)
174 - #11 Mathew Miller - So, Edgewood, Md. (11-3, 1-0) -OR- Johnny Watson - Sr, Lexington, N.C. (10-8, 1-0)
184 - James Mannier - Sr, Troy, Ohio (12-10, 1-1) -OR- William Miller - So, Chinook, Mont. (7-7, 0-0)
197 - Paul Rands - Jr, Cary, Ill. (7-7, 1-1)
285 - Colynn Cook - Jr, Murrysville, Pa. (11-10, 1-1)
Projected Lehigh Lineup
125 - Darian Cruz - Fr, Allentown, Pa. (12-6, 4-4)
133 - #6 Mason Beckman - Jr/So, Greenville, Pa. (14-2, 9-0)
141 - #18 Laike Gardner - So, Biglerville, Pa. (9-5, 5-3) -OR- Jim Carucci - Jr/So, New Hartford, N.Y. (8-10, 0-1)
149 - #12 Mitch Minotti - So/Fr, Easton, Pa. (15-5, 5-4)
157 - #8 Joey Napoli - Sr, Boiling Springs, Pa. (7-1, 7-1)
165 - Brian Brill - So/Fr, Lock Haven, Pa. (9-5, 3-3) -OR- Ben Haas - So, Little Valley, N.Y. (3-5, 0-1)
174 - #16 Elliot Riddick - So/Fr, Allentown, Pa. (13-7, 6-3)
184 - Zach Diekel - So/Fr, Whitehall, N.Y. (13-9, 3-5)
197 - John Bolich - Jr/So, Willow Grove, Pa. (14-8, 3-6)
285 - Doug Vollaro - So/Fr, Oviedo, Fla. (6-5, 4-3) -OR- Max Wessell - Jr/So, Boulder, Colo. (4-2, 0-1)
### Go Navy ###