Navy Wrestling Tabbed Fifth in Preseason EIWA Rankings
Nov. 6, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Despite finishing second at the 2013 EIWA Championship which featured six Mids finishing among the top five, the Navy wrestling team stands tied with Rutgers for fifth in the EIWA Preseason Rankings released this week. Meanwhile, Cornell, winner of each of the last seven EIWA Championships, stands atop the EIWA standings.
A year ago, nine of Navy’s 10-man lineup placed overall and five of those nine return this season. However, just three of the six NCAA qualifiers return to the lineup, as 157-pound Bobby Barnhisel, 184-pound Mason Bailey and 285-pound Dan Miller graduated from the Academy in May.
One of those three returning NCAA qualifiers is senior 149-pound Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.), who bounced back from an injury in mid-January to provide a spark for the Mids in the latter half of the season. Borja, ranked No. 2 at 149 pounds in the EIWA standings behind Hofstra’s Cam Tessari, took wins in 12 of his last 17 matches that featured a third-place finish at the EIWA Championship and an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship. Borja, who turned in a 24-9 record after having coming into his junior season with just 12 combined wins, turned in a 2-2 mark at the national tournament before bowing out.
Junior Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) won a pair of tournament titles and put together a 28-13 record last year as he, too, earned an opportunity to wrestle in the NCAA Championship. Walsh enters the season ranked No. 2 at 165 pounds behind Columbia’s Josh Houldsworth, who finished as the runner-up at least year’s EIWA Championship. Walsh was Navy’s most reliable wrestler last winter in dual action, taking wins in six of his seven bouts. He won eight of nine matches heading into the EIWA Championship where he placed fourth and punched his ticket to the NCAA Championship.
Standing atop the EIWA rankings at 174 pounds is Navy sophomore Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.), who was spectacular his rookie season. Miller opened his career by winning his first 11 matches and claimed individual titles at his first two tournaments. He went on to claim the All-Academy Championship and nearly picked off top-seeded Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh at the EIWA Championship, but fell short in a 3-2 decision. Miller’s runner-up placement opened the door at the NCAA Championship where he was seeded 10th, but dropped both of his matches in his first appearnce at the national tournament. Miller wrapped up his freshman season with a 24-7 record, including a 5-2 dual mark that included a 9-6 upset over 12th-ranked Greg Zannetti of Rutgers.
While sophomore Bobby Burg (Gasport, N.Y.) was not Navy’s starting 157-pounder a year ago, he served early notice that he would be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Former Navy head coach Bruce Burnett called upon Burg in a pair of duals and he stood the test, scoring a 9-2 upset victory over Rutgers senior Scott Winston and a 13-1 major decision over Mark Cirello of American. Burg posted an 11-7 mark overall and enters his first season as a starter ranked No. 6 in the EIWA rankings.
While juniors Colton Rasche (Plano, Ill.) and Paul Rands (Cary, Ill.) and senior Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) do not appear in the preseason rankings, all three are poised for breakout seasons. Rasche posted a 19-12 record at 133 pounds a year ago, while Rands took the year to wrestle unattached and walked away with two tournament titles and a pair of runner-up performances. Locksmith, who placed eight a year ago at the EIWA Championship, represented the United States at the University World Championships in Kazan, Russia over the summer.
The Mids kick off their season this weekend when they travel to East Lansing, Mich. to take part in the Michigan State Open on Saturday.
### Go Navy ###