Oh the joys of All Academy Championship wrestling weekend. Where else can you see all three main service academies compete head to head? Wait, Army chose to skip it this year? I reached out for comment but so far I have no information on why this decision was made.
However, Navy and Air Force competed alongside VMI, the Citadel, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and Norwich. Ultimately Navy emerged victorious but it came right down to the wire to decide the team title.
How It Happened
No doubt about it, the All Academy Championships were a two horse race. Navy and Air Force each finished with more than double the number of points that third place VMI earned. The Midshipmen earned three individual championships in a row starting with Logan Treaster at 125 lbs. He recorded two falls in less than three minutes on the mat and then locked up the title with a 2-0 decision over Sidney Flores of Air Force. Casey Cobb (133 lbs.) and Cody Trybus (141 lbs.) kept the wins coming, using first-round byes to stay fresh and top Jared Van Vleet and Lenny Petersen, both of Air Force.
Once the 149 lb. weight class rolled around, the points slowed down a little for Navy. Wyatt Long lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Dylan Martinez of Air Force. Martinez had a first round bye and narrowly avoided sudden victory overtime with a locked hands call over Selwyn Porter of the Citadel. Air Force continued to make up ground at 157 lbs. as Trey Brisker topped Navy’s Jack Stanton-Taddeo 2-0. Randy Meneweather then breezed to victory at 165 lbs. with a medical forfeit from his semifinal opponent and a pin in the championships after just 1:16.
Meneweather would be the Falcon’s last individual champion of the day and Neal Richards of VMI topped the 174 lb. weight class. Paul Detweiler beat Air Force’s Jake Thompson 4-1 to take the 184 lb. crown. The Mids then forced their way back into first place in the final two weight classes with Jacob Koser dominating at 197 lbs. He notched two 16-0 tech falls and a pin to earn the title of Most Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament. John Birchmeier sealed the deal at heavyweight with a 10-4 decision over Kayne Hutchinson of Air Force.
So how close was the title race? The final scores were 117.5 for Navy and 116.5 for Air Force, so it all came down to the heavyweight bout.
What was Army up to?
So as you’ve noticed, Army decided to take a pass on the All Academy Championship on Saturday. Instead, the Black Knights traveled to Lock Haven to take on the Bald Eagles. Army fell behind after decision losses in the 125, 133, and 141 lb. weight classes before rattling off seven straight wins. For Lock Haven to have a hope of winning, they needed bonus points and an upset or two, but it was not to be. Six of Army’s last seven wrestlers were ranked and added a total of five bonus points to cruise to a 26-9 win.
Markus Hartman recorded a 10-0 major at 157 lbs, Noah Stewart racked up a 16-0 tech fall at 184, and JT Brown and Ben Sullivan each contributed major decisions to close out the match.
I’ve been using InterMat rankings all season long to give you an idea of how the wrestlers are stacking up against each other. All of that is out the window now as the first of four coaches panel rankings came out on January 19. The new rankings are as follows:
- 20. Logan Treaster, Navy
- 23. Sidney Flores, Air Force
- 24. (tie) Trey Chalifoux, Army
- 29. Casey Cobb, Navy
- 32. PJ Ogunsanya, Army
- 9. Markus Hartman, Army
- 8. Tanner Skidgel, Navy
- 19. Cael McCormick, Army
- 28. Randy Meneweather, Air Force
- 15. Ben Harvey, Army
- 19. Spencer Carey, Navy
- 12. Noah Stewart, Army
- 22. JT Brown, Army
- 31. Jacob Koser, Navy
- 19. Ben Sullivan, Army
These rankings are ultimately the way the qualifiers for the NCAA championships are decided. The first two rounds of rankings are informational, the third round helps to allocate qualifiers to each conference, and the fourth round provides the most accurate rankings as a portion of the selection process.
Navy faces EIWA foes American and Drexel back to back, taking on American in DC on January 31 and Drexel in Philadelphia the next day. Air Force dives into Big 12 competition away against Utah Valley and Fresno State. The Black Knights round out the upcoming slate with Senior Night against Lehigh on January 31.