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Wrestling Recap: Ringing in 2020 with tourneys

All three service academies are back in competition with the Southern Scuffle and Midlands Championships

Markus Hartman notches another win at the Midlands Championships
Mark Wellman

Happy New Year wrestling fans, and a happy new year it is already proving to be for the academies. All three schools are back in action with Army competing in the Midlands Championships and Navy and Air Force entering the Southern Scuffle. The season finally kicks into high gear now, and all three schools have built up some essential tournament experience as they build towards conference play.

Army Black Knights (4-1)

Army continued their stellar run in the Midlands Championships to end December, placing 7th out of 35 teams and breaking their own scoring record. The Black Knights recorded their highest team finish, their most placers, and their highest individual placer.

Six Knights reached the podium, doubling the previous record of three. Markus Hartmann scored upsets over the tournament’s No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6 wrestlers before falling short of the championship in sudden victory to Kaleb Young of Iowa. Hartmann is the only Army wrestler to ever finish second at the Midlands.

Ben Harvey placed 4th at 171 lbs, Noah Stewart placed 6th overall at 184 lbs, and two cadets placed in the 197 lb. weight class. J.T. Brown and Alex Hopkins finished 7th and 8th, respectively, and Bobby Heald placed 8th in the heavyweight division while notching upsets over the 7th and 10th ranked wrestlers.

Army wrestlers are also starting to fill the Intermat rankings with Markus Hartman ranked 14 at 157 lbs, Cael McCormick at 20 for 165 lbs, Ben Harvey No. 11 at 174, Noah Stewart No. 15 at 184, and an overall team ranking of 15. Army’s hot start to the season makes them the only currently ranked service academy.

Up next, the Black Knights will host the West Point Duals and take on North Carolina, Wyoming, and American University on January 4.

Air Force (0-2)

The Falcons are still chasing their first dual win of the season, but they recorded performances to be proud of at the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga to start the year. Three wrestlers reached the second day of competitions, but all three were knocked off in the Bloodround to finish just shy of the top eight. Overall, Air Force recorded 36.5 points to finish 17th out of 29 teams.

Junior Lenny Petersen reached the second day at the 141 lb. weight class, but was forced to medically forfeit with a 4-1 event record. He now has a record of 16-4 on the year. Randy Meneweather and Cody Surratt also reached the second day, but Meneweather fell to Joe Lee of Penn State and Surratt lost to No. 17 Daniel Bullard of NC State.

Sidney Flores remains the only Air Force wrestler to be ranked by Intermat, sitting at No. 15 in the 125 lb. weight class.

The Falcons will now compete in the Borah Duals in Gunnison, Colorado against Adams State, San Francisco State, and others.

Navy (3-3)

Navy placed three wrestlers at the Southern Scuffle en route to an 11th place team finish. Overall 16 wrestlers competed, with Tanner Skidgel placing 2nd overall at 165 lbs. to lead the way.

Skidgel racked up a 5-1 record in the tournament with his only loss to No. 1 seeded Shane Griffin of Stanford. Logan Treaster placed 4th at 125 with a 6 match win streak to place him in the 3rd-4th match, where he fell to Virginia Tech’s Sam Latona. Casey Cobb was the third Midshipman to place, coming in 8th overall at 133 lbs. He finished the tournament with a 5-3 record.

Spencer Carey came into the tournament with the No. 16 seed and won 3 straight matches before falling to Carter Starocci of Penn State and bowing out with an injury.

Carey is ranked No. 16 at 174 lbs and Tanner Skidgel is ranked No. 10 at 165 as Navy’s only two ranked wrestlers.

Next, the Midshipmen will travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to compete in the Franklin and Marshall Open before facing Bucknell on January 10.

It is good to see all three academies finally back in action, and before long it will be time to look towards the All-Academy Championships that will take place on January 25!