Just two weeks after fellow EIWA school Cornell took first at the Las Vegas Invitational, Navy headed to the state of Nevada on Dec. 19 with similar aspirations at the Reno Tournament of Champions. When the dust settled out West, the Midshipmen came away with a solid seventh-place finish out of a total of 30 programs.
Navy finished with 70.0 points, five less than sixth-place Chattanooga but five points ahead of eighth-place Stanford. Wyoming took first overall with a score of 106.0, edging out Boise State by a total of one and half points.
There was no surprise as to who led the way for the Midshipmen as, like they have all year long, Bryce Saddoris and Luke Rebertus paced the squad with a pair of second-place finishes. Saddoris — wrestling in his home state of Nevada — finished runner up in the 157-pound bracket as Rebertus did the same at 184 pounds. With the strong showing, Rebertus upped his record on the year to 15-3.
Aaron Kalil and Matt DeMichiel rounded out the place finishers for Navy as Kalil took fifth at 125 pounds and DeMichiel finished sixth at 174 pounds.
By the Width of a Hair
A pair of EIWA schools locked horns this past weekend as Princeton and Bucknell took to the mat on Dec. 17. Both teams took five bouts, but bonus points proved crucial, as a Bucknell forfeit at 133 pounds was the difference maker in a tightly contested 18-16 victory for Princeton.
The two schools also faced off against Drexel, with Bucknell winning convincingly by a 34-9 score while Princeton came up short against the Dragons, losing 18-17.
No. 3 Kevin LeValley (149) led the way for Bucknell by going 2-0 on the day including a 17-1 tech fall over Drexel’s Austin Sommer. Corey Lear (165) and Jay Hahn (197) also finished the day 2-0.
Princeton also had three grapplers go undefeated on the day as Zach Bintliff (141) Daniel Kolodzik (157) and Travis Erdman (184) all came away with two victories apiece.
The No. 22-ranked American Eagles kicked off their home dual slate on Dec. 19 when they hosted Old Dominion. A handful of ranked wrestlers took to the mat inside Bender Arena with the Eagles’ ranked horses out-galloping those from ODU as American rolled, 23-15.
Steve Fittery, ranked No. 1 in the nation at 157 pounds, got the ball rolling in the first bout of the day by putting together a 17-1 tech fall over Chad Lowman.
Back to back majors from two ranked wrestlers put the match on ice as No. 19 Danny Mitchell (197) and No. 4 Ryan Flores (Hvy) put big points on the board to the tune of 10-2 and 11-0 scores, respectively.
The Eagles soared to 5-1 on the year with the win.
Back to Business
After a short break for the Holidays, a majority of the EIWA gets right back into action with a variety of tournaments across the country. Most will travel to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships for what is considered to be a barometer for where your team stands one semester before the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers, Lehigh, American, Bucknell, Harvard, and Penn are all listed to have representatives from their respective programs taking to the mat just outside of the Windy City.
Four schools will travel south for the Southern Scuffle as Cornell, Army, Navy, and Princeton are all listed to partake in the tournament in Greensboro, NC.
Wrestler of the Week
In front of his home crowd for the first time this year, American’s Steve Fittery put on a show at 157 pounds. In the first match of the dual against Old Dominion, Fittery notched seven points in the first period en route to a 17-1 technical fall.
The Shippensburg transfer from Denver, Pa., is a perfect 10-0 on the year and is the consensus No. 1 in the country at 157 pounds.