Mids Begin Quest for EIWA Championship on Friday
March 6, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Navy wrestling team begins its pursuit for the program’s first Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) team title since 1990 when it travels to Piscataway, N.J. this weekend for the 109th EIWA Championship. In addition to the team title and the 10 EIWA individual crowns, 45 automatic berths to the NCAA Championship (March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.) are on the line.
Hosted by Rutgers, the Rutgers Athletic Center will house the two-day, 14-team tournament which is set to begin on Friday with preliminaries starting at 11:00 am. The tournament will proceed through the completion of the semifinals Friday evening. Saturday’s two sessions feature the consolation semifinals and placement matches beginning at 10:00 am and the championship finals at 3:00 pm. In addition to Navy, those teams competing this weekend include American, Army, Brown, Bucknell, Columbia, Cornell, Franklin & Marshall, Harvard, Lehigh, Penn, Princeton, Rutgers and Sacred Heart.
For those fans unable to attend the EIWA Championship, a live video stream (paid subscription) of the entire tournament will be available. Flowrestling will carry Friday’s action, as well as session one on Saturday, while Rutgers will stream the finals via RVision on its web site at www.scarletknights.com(.)
Tickets for the EIWA Championship can be purchased via Rutgers’ web site or by calling the Rutgers ticket office (866-445-4678). Tickets are on sale for $22 per session ($25 for the finals) or $70 for the tournament. Student tickets may be purchased for $12 per session ($14 for finals).
The EIWA was the recipient of 45 automatic bids to the 2013 NCAA Championship when the NCAA announced its qualifier allocations last week. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data including Div. I winning percentage, RPI and a coaches ranking. Under the current system, put in place four years ago, the number of automatic qualifiers varies in each weight class within the EIWA. Wrestlers who fail to qualify this weekend, however, will be eligible for one of 40 at-large berths which will be announced on Wednesday, March 13. Automatic qualifier allocations for the EIWA are as follows: 4 at 125, 2 at 133, 7 at 141, 4 at 149, 5 at 157, 5 at 165, 4 at 174, 5 at 184, 5 at 197, 4 at 285.
The Midshipmen, who placed fifth a year ago, are making their 73rd appearance at the EIWA Championship and have won the team title 13 times. Columbia and Penn have appeared in every EIWA Championship, while Army and Navy both joined the conference in 1941. Navy is one of four teams to win the team title at least 10 times with Lehigh winning it the most - 34 times. Navy has placed 406 wrestlers in past EIWA competitions — 100 champions, 84 in second, 82 in third, 57 in fourth, 48 in fifth and 35 in sixth.
The Mids, who put together a 6-1 dual record, enter this weekend’s EIWA Championship ranked second in the conference behind top-ranked Cornell. Navy was 3-1 in EIWA action this winter, posting wins over Rutgers (19-15), American (32-9) and Army (22-10), while dropping its only dual of the season to Lehigh (19-15) in Annapolis in early January.
With a representative at each weight class, six of the 10 wrestlers in Navy’s lineup have had prior EIWA Championship experience with sophomore 125-pound Patrick Prada (Laurel, Md.) (Laurel, Md.), sophomore 133-pound Colton Rasche (Plano, Ill.), junior 149-pound Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.) and freshman 174-pound Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.) making their debut at the conference championship this weekend.
The following is a weight-by-weight assessment of the 2013 Navy squad.
125 — Patrick Prada, So. (16-9, 1-4 dual)
Patrick Prada is one of four Navy wrestlers who will make their first appearance competing at the EIWA Championship. The second-year wrestler has put together a 16-9 record overall, but struggled in dual competition where he posted a 1-4 record. Prada placed among the top four in three of the four tournaments in which he wrestled this season, including winning the Franklin & Marshall Open. He also took third at the Navy Classic and fourth at the Roadrunner Open. Prada spent roughly a month sidelined with injury but came back two weeks ago against Army to take a 3-1 sudden victory decision over Hunter Wood as the Mids claimed their 13th consecutive win over the Black Knights. Prada is not ranked among the EIWA’s top six, nor is he among the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings, however, he stands 29th in the NCAA RPI Ranking
133 — Colton Rasche, So. (18-10, 4-3 dual)
Ranked 27th in NCAA RPI Ranking and 30th in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings, sophomore Colton Rasche heads into the tournament boasting an 18-10 record that has featured wins in each of his last four matches including a pair over Army’s Jordan Thome. Rasche has a 4-3 dual record this season and has two tournament victories on his resume. He is ranked fourth at 133 pounds according to the EIWA rankings and will make his conference championship debut on Friday.
141 — Joe Locksmith, Jr. (15-13, 2-3 dual) ... 0-2 EIWA Championship record
Making his return to the EIWA Championship after a year away is junior 141-pound Joe Locksmith, who lost both of his matches at 149 pounds in 2011 as a freshman. Locksmith is a weight class lighter and a more experienced wrestler this time around, posting a 15-13 record including a 2-3 dual meet mark. Locksmith, who is ranked sixth in the conference, has placed in three of the six tournaments in which he’s competed including a second-place showing at the Navy Classic where he dropped a decision to nationally-ranked Undrakhbayer Khishgnyam of The Citadel in the finals.
149 — Raymond Borja, Jr. (18-6, 3-2 dual)
While Borja enters the weekend having lost his last two bouts, he has been one of the most consistent wrestlers on the mat. Borja, who stands sixth at 149 pounds in the EIWA Rankings, was sidelined with an injury for nearly the entire month of December before returning on Jan. 19 where his 19-3 tech fall over Maryland’s Shane Arechiga helped propel the Mids over the Terps in their dual. Borja won six straight matches which featured wins in three duals and an individual title at the All-Academy Championship. This will be Borja’s first appearance at the EIWA Championship
157 — Bobby Barnhisel, Sr. (28-5, 4-1 dual) ... 1-2 EIWA Championship record
Ranked 15th nationally and fourth in the EIWA at 157 pounds, senior Bobby Barnhisel is looking not only to add to his six-match winning streak, but seeks a much better outcome than last year’s at the EIWA Championship. Seeded fifth a year ago, Barnhisel was beaten in the quarters by fourth-seeded Daniel Kolodzik of Princeton before being bounced from the tournament in his very next match by unseeded Brian Tanen of Lehigh. Barnhisel has enjoyed his most successful season at Navy this year, putting together a team-best 28-5 record. The second-year starter has claimed individual titles at four tournaments this season and heads into the weekend ranked 20th in the NCAA RPI and 19th in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings.
Barnhisel’s only match against conference competition ranked ahead of him was a controversial 6-2 loss to second-ranked Joey Napoli of Lehigh.
165 — Peyton Walsh, So. (25-9, 6-1 dual) ... 1-2 EIWA Championship record
After putting together a 1-2 record at the EIWA Championship a year ago, sophomore Peyton Walsh returns to the conference championship where he totes with him a 25-9 record and a 6-1 dual meet mark. Walsh has won eight of his last nine matches, including dual victories over conference foes Ben Haas of Lehigh and Nick Visicaro of Rutgers. While he dropped his dual match to Army’s Paul Hancock, 9-5, Walsh pinned Hancock just seven days prior to twin the All-Academy Championship.
Walsh is ranked fourth in the EIWA, stands 28th in the NCAA RPI Ranking and is 21st in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings.
174 — Mathew Miller, Fr. (22-4, 5-2 dual)
Mathew Miller is the lone freshman respresenting the Mids at the 2013 EIWA Championship after putting together a stellar season at 174 pounds. Miller, who has won seven straight matches heading into the weekend, owns a 22-4 overall mark and is the top-ranked wrestler in the EIWA. He is ranked 13th nationally and has won three of the five tournaments in which he has wrestled. One of his two losses in dual action was to Nate Brown of Lehigh, who was ranked ahead of Miller at the time of the match and currently stands 15th in the national rankings. Meanwhile, Miller has a 9-6 win over Rutgers’ Greg Zannetti who is ranked second in the EIWA and is 14th on a national scale.
Ranked ninth in the NCAA RPI, Miller is 13th in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings.
184 — Mason Bailey, Sr. (27-12, 4-3 dual) ... 3-6 EIWA Championship record
Making his final appearance at the EIWA Championship is senior Mason Bailey who placed eight at 165 pounds as a sophomore and sixth a year ago in the same weight class. Ranked fourth in the EIWA, Bailey owns a 27-12 record and has faced one of the most grueling and competitive schedules among his teammates this season. He has faced nine ranked wrestlers in dual action, including Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin and Rutgers’ Dan Rinaldi, both who just clipped Bailey.
Bailey stands 21st in the NCAA RPI and is 19th in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings.
197 — Oscar Huntley, Sr. (26-8, 6-1 dual) ... 4-3 EIWA Championship record
Team captain Oscar Huntley began the year wrestling at 174 pounds and found great success along the way. He had registered a 12-3 record along the way, however, two of his three losses were to teammate Mathew Miller. Instead of continuing the battle at 174 pounds, Huntley pushed up to 197 pounds where Navy had a void to fill with Paul Rands sitting out. The decision worked out well, as Huntley has produced a career-best 26-8 record including a 14-5 mark at 197 pounds. He enters the weekend having won seven straight matches, including a 10-4 dual win over Army’s Collin Wittmeyer two weeks ago.
Huntley, who is 15th in the NCAA RPI Rankings and 26th in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings, has twice placed at the EIWA Championship. As a sophomore he moved up to 197 pounds just two weeks before the conference tournament and placed seventh, while a year ago he dropped a 3-2 decision to Brown’s Dave Foxen in the championship to place second. By way of his second-place finish, Huntley punched his ticket into the NCAA Championship.
285 — Dan Miller, Sr. (18-11, 5-2 dual) ... 5-4 EIWA Championship record
Senior Dan Miller will make his final bid to win an EIWA Championship and earn a chance to compete at the NCAA Championship when he heads to The RAC this weekend to compete as the fourth-ranked EIWA competitor at 285 pounds. Miller owns an 18-11 record, including a 5-2 dual record. He has placed in both previous appearances at the EIWA Championship, posting a seventh-place finish as a sophomore in 2011 and a fourth-place effort a year ago.
Miller stands 23rd in the NCAA RPI, while he is 27th in the NCAA Coaches’ Rankings
### Go Navy ###