Navy Unveils 2014-15 Wrestling Schedule
Senior Colton Rasche is one of four returning NCAA qualifiers for the Mids.
2014-15 Navy Wrestling Schedule
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- First-year Navy wrestling coach Joel Sharratt announced the Mids' 2014-15 schedule on Tuesday which features home duals against Lehigh, American and North Carolina, as well as the 37th edition of the Navy Classic in which the Mids have claimed the team title 19 times.
As in past seasons, the rigors of tournament action against some of the nation's premier wrestling programs is complemented with long-standing rivalries played out in dual meets.
"The team and staff are very excited about the 2014-15 schedule and the balance it offers our Midshipmen in their regular-season competition," said Sharratt, who is the program's eighth head coach in what will be its 107th year of fielding a wrestling team. "November, December and January each feature a large format tournament that provides our guys an opportunity to compete against other top athletes from across the country. These tournament allow our Midshipmen to prepare and compete in a similar format to what they will see at the NCAA Championship in March. The travel and training plan is balanced with a solid dual meet schedule including three home duals plus the annual Navy Classic."
For the second consecutive year, Navy will open its season at the Michigan State Open on Nov. 2 in East Lansing, Mich. Five of Navy's 15 wrestlers who competed at the Michigan State Open a year ago finished among the top eight, including three in the top four.
The Mids will wrestle the first of eight duals on the year when they make the short trip to George Mason to battle the Patriots on Nov. 8. Navy has won each of the previous six duals against the Patriots, including a 33-4 victory in Fairfax in 2012.
"I'm excited to kick off the dual meet schedule with George Mason," added Sharratt. "This will be a great match for wrestling fans within the beltway and for our local alumni and fans to see Navy wrestling in the DC metro area."
Navy returns to dual action the final two weekends in November beginning with the Nov. 16 East Stroudsburg Open, followed by the Navy Classic at Wesley Brown Field House in Annapolis on Nov. 22. A tournament whose roots date back to 1978 and has seen the Midshipmen win 19 of the 36 team titles, the Navy Classic will feature 13 teams including defending Classic champion Wisconsin who placed 16th at the National Championship a year ago. Meanwhile, seven of the teams competing in this year's Navy Classic finished among the top 40 at the NCAA Championship last spring. Ten Navy wrestlers placed in the annual event a year ago, including two-time NCAA qualifier Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) who fell to nationally-ranked Corey Mock of Chattanooga by way of riding time.
With final exams and the holiday season, Navy will be on the mat for just two events during the month of December. The Mids will take part in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 5-6 before closing out the month with a Dec. 13 dual at Drexel set for 7:00 pm. It will be the first dual meet between the Mids and Dragons.
Navy kicks off the new calendar year with its annual trip to the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 1-2. The Mids have placed among the top 10 in six of the last 10 Southern Scuffles.
The Mids play host to the first of their three home duals with a Jan. 10 match against longtime rival Lehigh. Meeting for the 95th time in series history, the two teams will square off at Alumni Hall on Jan. 10 at 7:30 pm. The series is an even heat with both teams winning 47 times, however, the Mids own a 37-21 advantage in matches wrestled in Annapolis.
Navy will have no time to relax, as it will make the 30-minute drive to College Park the following day to face Maryland at 3:00 pm. The Mids own a 51-11-3 series advantage, including wins in each of the last two meetings. Navy claimed a 26-12 victory over the Terps a year ago in Annapolis and in 2012 the match came down to the final bout with the Mids taking a 22-18 win in College Park.
"Wrestling Lehigh and Maryland on back-to-back days is a sequence indicative of what our guys will see and compete with in March at both the EIWA and NCAA Championships," explained Sharratt. "Both of these postseason championships are multiple day tournaments and this two-day format of top level dual meets will prepare our team for the rigors that type of an event format presents."
The Mids return home to wrestle back-to-back weekends when they face EIWA foe American at 7:00 pm on Jan. 16 and close out its home slate on Jan. 24 against North Carolina at 7:00 pm. Navy owns a 9-1 record against American, seeing its lone loss against the Eagles on Jan. 1, 2009, in a two-point decision, while the Mids have won 11 of the last 12 matches against the Tar Heels and hold a 37-17-1 series advantage.
Navy wrestles its final match in the month of January at Rutgers. The two programs stepped away from the annual dual a year ago as Rutgers moved to the Big Ten Conference, however, the two teams resume the series on Jan. 31 in New Brunswick, N.J. with Mids having won 21 of the 27 meetings in the series.
After claiming the All-Academy Championship team title for the sixth consecutive year and 13th overall, the Mids will defend their title on Feb. 7 when the Merchant Marine Academy plays host to the 21st installment of the All-Academy Championship. Navy has been the dominant team in the tournament, winning 13 of the 20 championships including 10 of the last 11. The Mids have won 78 individual crowns in All-Academy Championship history, including 52 of the 110 titles over the last 10 years. The Mids won the team title in 1995, `97, `99, `04, `05, `06, `07, `09, `10, `11, `12, `13 and `14, while they claimed five or more individual titles in 1997, `99, `04, `05, `07, `08, `10, `11 and `13. Last year, Navy sent eight wrestlers to the championship, where they won three individual titles.
Two weeks later, on Feb. 22, Navy will make the trek to West Point to face Army in the annual Star Match. The Mids won eight of the 10 bouts, including the first and last three of the night, to secure a 29-6 victory over the Black Knights a year ago in Annapolis. The Midshipmen have won 14 consecutive matches against the Black Knights, including seven in a row in Annapolis while also boasting a 48-5-5 advantage in the series.
"We will close out the regular season as we have for the last 14 years with our annual Star Match," said Sharratt, who was matside as an assistant at Navy for six seasons (2001-06). "It's always an exciting event that brings out the very best in our Midshipmen."
The month of March is dedicated to a pair of championships, the EIWA Championship and the NCAA Championship. Lehigh will serve as the host institution for this year's EIWA Championship set for March 6-7 in Bethlehem, Pa. Anchored by 2014 EIWA 174-pound Champion Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.), the Mids finished sixth out of 18 teams at the 110th EIWA Championship a year ago.
The 2015 NCAA Championship will be held March 19-21 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Four Navy wrestlers helped lead the Midshipmen to a 40th-place finish at the 2013-14 NCAA Championship at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. and all four wrestlers return to the mat this season.
Fans will get their first glance at this year's Navy squad when the Mids hold their annual Blue/Gold Challenge Matches at Alumni Hall on Oct. 24 at 7:00 pm.
### Go Navy ###