ANNAPOLIS, Md. â€” The Navy wrestling team will open the home portion of its 2010-11 schedule on Saturday when it hosts the annual Navy Classic at Halsey Field House beginning at 9:00 am. Having won the team title in 17 of the 32 years the tournament has been held, including last yearâ€™s 10.5-point decision over Virginia Tech, the Mids will battle six teams â€” Bloomsburg, Bucknell, Campbell, Franklin & Marshall, George Mason and West Virginia â€” for the 2010 Navy Classic crown.
Among the field, there are three ranked wrestlers, including Navyâ€™s own Bryce Saddoris (Spring Creek, Nev.) and Luke Rebertus (Gloucester, Va.). Meanwhile, there are 31 returning placewinners from last yearâ€™s Navy Classic, including defending champions Aaron Kalil (Salem, N.H.) (125) from Navy, Oscar Huntley (Stafford, Va.) (165) from Navy who is wrestling up a class this fall and Bucknellâ€™s Jay Hahn (197).
â€œWe are excited to be back home and wrestle in front of a Navy crowd,â€â€ˆsaid 11th-year Navy head coach Bruce Burnett. â€œAlthough we have a smaller tournament this season than in the past, I expect some really exciting matches and in particular against our EIWA opponent Bucknell. There will certainly be some important matches this weekend that no doubt will have some conference implications and could even have some affect on the national rankings.â€
After opening the season the weekend of Nov. 7 at the Eastern Michigan Open and the Clarion Knight Point, the Mids have since used the last two weeks to correct any errors and improve upon their performances leading up to Saturdayâ€™s Navy Classic.
â€œThe Eastern Michigan Open and the Clarion Knight Point gave us a starting point and provided us with a pretty good gauge as to where we are at. Our goal is to get a little bit better each round of each tournament, correcting mistakes as we go along. So this weekend Iâ€™m looking for progression from two weeks ago until now.
â€œIâ€ˆalways say that itâ€™s â€˜practiceâ€™ at this time of the year, but practice counts. I feel like if you are wrestling at Navy, you should feel you are prepared to wrestle anybody. The one thing that Iâ€™ve been impressed with is that our guys have no fear. No matter who they face, they are going to go out and wrestle you if you are the No. 1 guy in the country or not.â€
Twelve Navy wrestlers who placed in last yearâ€™s Navy Classic will be back in action this weekend, including 2009 title winners Kalil and Huntley. Kalil opened the year by placing third at the Eastern Michigan Open, dropping a 4-2 decision to Michiganâ€™s Sean Boyle in the semis. One of five Navy wrestlers who qualified for last spring NCAAâ€ˆChampionship, Kalil is looking to use that experience as a platform as we spring into the fall season. The only other returning placewinner at 125 pounds from last yearâ€™s Navy Classic is teammate Allen Stein (Portland, Maine) who Kalil defeated by major decision in the championship bout.
Huntley, meanwhile, has been eager to get back onto the mat this season after his rookie year was cut abruptly short when he suffered a knee injury at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. The season-ending knee injury was especially cruel having just claimed the Navy Classic title two weeks prior in a sudden victory (2) match against teammate Robby Neill (Brick, N.J.). Up a class from 165 to 174, Huntley had mixed reviews in his first tournament back, placing sixth with a 2-3 record at the Eastern Michigan Open.
Saddoris, who is coming off a title win at the Eastern Michigan Open at 157 pounds, enters the weekend ranked ninth nationally, but two wrestlers who took third and fourth at last yearâ€™s Navy Classic will be primed to challenge the Navy All-American. Boasting a 4-0 mark this season, Saddoris has amassed a 114-32 (.781) record over four seasons and stands tied for fifth on the Midsâ€™ all-time wins list alongside heavyweights Dan Hicks (1992-95) and Tanner Garrett (2003-06).
Meanwhile, Rebertus is also coming off a fine performance at the Eastern Michigan Open where he, too, claimed the individual crown in his weight class. After earning a trip to the NCAAâ€ˆChampionship as a freshman, Rebertus is poised to make a return appearance in his junior season. He wrestled in just eight matches a season ago, but has returned to the mat with great focus and confidence and bumping up a weight class to 184 pounds also seems to agree with his wrestling style. In three seasons, he has put together a stellar 45-13 (.776) record.
Sophomore Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) (HWT) and Andrew Buck (Carson, Wash.) (184) placed second in their respective weight classes a year ago and will have plenty of competition in their quest to win that elusive championship bout. Four of the six placewinners from last yearâ€™s Classic return at heavyweight, including senior Mike Landis (Hershey, Pa.) who finished third. Meanwhile, Buck will move up to 197 pounds this season where he has reigning tournament champion Jay Hahn from Bucknell standing in his path.
Additional Navy placewinners from last yearâ€™s Classic include Eric Filipowicz (Elkridge, Md.) at 141 pounds, Zach Basich (Wheeling, W.Va.) at 157 pounds, Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.) at 165 pounds, Matt DeMichiel (Whitesboro, N.Y.) at 184 pounds and Chance Rauscher (Glasgow, Mont.) at 197 pounds.
Several freshman will also be in action for Burnettâ€™s Midshipmen, including 141-pounder Joe Locksmith (Kissimmee, Fla.) who competed at the Eastern Michigan Open and James Mannier (Troy, Ohio) who placed third at the Clarion Knight Point at 174 pounds.
Nine different teams have claimed the team title in the 32 years the Navy Classic has been held, while 74 different Navy wrestlers have earned individual titles. At least one Navy wrestler has won an individual crown in 30 of the 32 years (2000, â€˜03), while there have been 13 multi-year winners.
2010 Navy Classic
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 20
- Venue: Halsey Field House
- Participating teams: Bloomsburg, Bucknell, Campbell, Franklin & Marshall, George Mason and West Virginia
- Tickets: $6 adults, $3 students (18 years and under)
- Promotions: Fans bringing their game ticket for the Arkansas State-Navy football game will receive free admission to the Navy Classic. â€¢ Giving Thanks – Any fan who brings three can goods will receive a discounted $3 ticket. â€¢ 4-H Day – all 4-H members wearing their 4-H jacket will receive free admission.
Projected session times:
- 9:00 am – preliminary rounds
- 1:00 pm – semifinals
- 4:00 pm – finals
Parking: As a reminder, only those cars that have a Department of Defense sticker will be allowed to drive onto the Naval Academy grounds. Because there is a home football game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday, there will be no shuttle. Fans should park downtown (there is a parking garage) and walk onto the grounds through the main gain (Gate 1) where they will be asked for a valid photo ID.
Participating ranked wrestlers:
â€¢ 125 – None
â€¢ 133 – None
â€¢ 141 – None
â€¢ 149 – None
â€¢ 157 – No. 9 Bryce Saddoris, Navy
â€¢ 165 – None
â€¢ 174 – None
â€¢ 184 – No. 13 Luke Rebertus, Navy
â€¢ 197 – No. 6 Cayle Byers, George Mason
â€¢ HWT – None
Returning placewinners from the 2009 Navy Classic:
- 125 Aaron Kalil (Navy, Champion), Allen Stein (Navy, 2nd)
- 133 Jake Buch (F&M, 4th), Derrik Russel (Bucknell, 6th at 125)
- 141 Zac Hancock (Bucknell, 2nd), Adam Healey (Bucknell, 5th), Denny Herndon (George Mason, 3rd at 133)
- 149 Josh Roosa (Bloomsburg, 3rd), Eric Filipowicz (Navy, 6th at 141), Zach Basich (Navy 6th at 157)
- 157 Bryce Saddoris (Navy, 2nd), Brantley Hooks (Bucknell, 3rd), Bryce Busler (Bloomsburg, 4th)
- 165 Mason Bailey (Navy, 5th), Nic Czapla (Bucknell, 6th)
- 174 Matt Fullowan (F&M, 6th), Oscar Huntley (Navy, Champion at 165), Matt DeMichiel (Navy, 4th at 184)
- 184 Nate Graham (Bucknell, 2nd at 174), Rob Waltko (Bucknell, 5th), Mac Mancuso (West Virginia, 6th), Joe McMullan (Bucknell, 2nd at 197)
- 197 Jay Hahn (Bucknell, Champion), Chance Rauscher (Navy, 5th), Colin Ely (F&M, 6th), Andrew Buck (Navy, 2nd at 184)
- HWT Dan Miller (Navy, 2nd), Mike Landis (Navy, 3rd), Zac Walsh (Bloomsburg, 5th), Daniel Canfield (F&M, 6th), Jake Dabashinsky (Bloomsburg, 4th at 197)
Courtesy of Navy Sports Information