Nov. 4, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Coming off the program's 15th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in which four Midshipmen qualified, the Navy wrestling team will look to build upon the momentum as it opens the 2011-12 campaign Saturday at the 20th Annual Eastern Michigan Open in Ypsilanti, Mich. The double-elimination tournament (no team scoring) is slated to begin at 9:00 am (Eastern) at Bowen Field House.
"This is one of the best tournaments we wrestle at each year because of the quality of competition it attracts, especially this early in the year," said Navy head coach Bruce Burnett, who enters his 12th season with a 101-50 record. "This year there are roughly 500 wrestlers competing in the tournament and some highly-ranked wrestlers will be on the mat for us to face. We have some talent on this team and we've worked hard in the preseason, but now we need to be able to transition our skills and training from the wrestling room into the competition venue."
Last season two Midshipmen qualified for the championship bout in their respective weight classes, including senior Luke Rebertus (Gloucester, Va.), who scored a 3-2 overtime decision over Northwestern's Lee Munster to take the title at 184 pounds. Meanwhile, six Navy wrestlers placed fourth or better among the more than 400 wrestlers entered in the tournament.
Nine of Navy's 12 placewinners from last year's tournament return, however just six of them will be in competition this weekend. Navy is sending 13 wrestlers to this year's open event, including two wrestlers at 165 and 174 pounds and a newcomer at 197 pounds.
Rebertus has been in the finals in all three previous appearances at the Eastern Michigan Open. As a rookie, he dropped a 4-0 decision at 174 pounds to current Navy assistant coach Mike Letts, who wrestled at Maryland. In his sophomore year, he was tripped up by Purdue's Luke Manuel, 8-3, in the championship bout before finally getting his first title last season when he pushed up to 184 pounds.
Ranked 12th by Amateur Wrestling News, he produced a 31-11 record a year ago, including a 6-2 dual meet mark, and competed at the NCAA Championship for the second time in his career.
Fellow senior and two-time NCAA qualifier Aaron Kalil (Salem, N.H.) is making his fourth appearance at the EMU Open. After not placing as a plebe, he wrestled his way into the seventh-eighth place match as a sophomore and scored an 8-2 victory over Central Michigan's Kyle Waldo to take third a year ago. Kalil, who has bulked up to 133 pounds, opens his senior year with a 68-41 career mark and is ranked 15th by Amateur Wrestling News.
Taking fourth at last year's EMU Open was Bobby Barnhisel (River Forest, Ill.), who returns to the mat for his junior year after missing the second half of last season with a broken jaw. Barnhisel, who drops from 165 pounds to 157, turned in a 10-6 record a year ago and wrestled in four tournaments. He opened last season with three big wins at the EMU Open before suffering losses in two of his last three matches, including a 10-4 loss to Virginia's Nick Sulzer in the third-place bout.
Junior Oscar Huntley (Stafford, Va.) returns to his natural 174-pound weight class after bumping up to 197 pounds over the last eight matches of the 2010-11 season. He satisfied the Mids' need at 197 pounds where he posted a 5-3 record, placed second at the All-Academy Championship and seventh at the EIWA Championship. On the year, Huntley produced a 22-14 record and heads into his junior campaign ranked third in the EIWA.
Heavyweight Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) and 165-pound Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.) both finished last season's EMU Open in the seventh-eight place match. Miller will make his third appearance at the tournament after placing fourth his freshman season before struggling through last year's tournament. Miller, however, is coming off an incredible experience where he represented the United States by wrestling abroad over the summer. After winning the 2011 FILA Junior World Team Trials, Miller qualified for the FILA Junior World Championships held in Bucharest, Romania in July where he placed seventh. Last season Miller recorded a 19-11 record in what was his first season as the Mids' starting heavyweight.
Meanwhile, making his debut in a Navy singlet will be freshman 197-pound Paul Rands (Cary, Ill.). Although Rands is a new name to the Navy faithful, he already has a year of collegiate wrestling under his belt. In fact, Rands spent the 2008-09 season at Northwestern where he put together a 5-12 record. Following his freshman year, Rands served a two-year mission among the Spanish-speaking communities of Arizona before coming to the Academy this summer. Classified as a freshman in academic standing at the Academy, Rands will have three years of eligibility remaining including this season.
Also participating this weekend at the Eastern Michigan Open are Patrick Prada (Laurel, Md.) at 125 pounds, Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.) at 141 pounds, Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) at 149 pounds, Mike Brant (Johnstown, Pa.) at 165 pounds and James Mannier (Troy, Ohio) at 174 pounds.
In addition to sending a team to the Eastern Michigan Open, Navy will also compete at the Clarion Open on Saturday where 17 Midshipmen will be in action.
Eastern Michigan Open
125 - Patrick Prada
133 - Aaron Kalil
141 - Raymond Borja
149 - Joe Locksmith
157 - Bobby Barnhisel
165 - Mason Bailey, Mike Brant
174 - Oscar Huntley, James Mannier
184 - Luke Rebertus
197 - Paul Rands
285 - Dan Miller
125 - None
133 - John Coutoumas, Ben Creed
141 - Alex Johnson, Quentin Leadbeter
149 - Collin Leadbeter, Peyton Walsh
157 - Zach Basich, Ben Hunter, Johnny Watson
165 - Jake Schalles
174 - Gary Albright, Colton Van't Hof
184 - James Maxwell
197 - Colynn Cook, Ben Hatef, Matt McVay
285 - Brendan Kahle, Chance Rauscher
### Go Navy ###