LAS VEGAS, NV — Seniors Bobby Barnhisel (River Forest, Ill.) and Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.), sophomore Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) and freshman Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.) closed out action at the 31st-Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Saturday evening among the top six in their respective weight classes, as the Midshipmen finished the tournament in 10th place.
Ohio State edged out Missouri for the team title by a 124.5-123.5 decision, while Cornell placed third with 104.5 points. Oregon State (98.5) took fourth, while Nebraska (89.5) rounded out the top five. Navy finished just two points (58.0-56.0) behind ninth-place Wyoming, while owning a 2.5 point advantage over 11th-place Air Force (53.5).
"This tournament is always packed with good competition and gives us the opportunity early on to see exactly we are at against some of the nation's best," said Navy head coach Bruce Barnett. "I don't think that we were as physically prepared as we could have been, but given all of the circumstances the performances by our guys weren't too bad.
"The upper weight really did a nice job, while our lower weights really struggled in this tournament. They had some tough matches and some of them had difficult draws, but you will see that when you are at the National Tournament and will have to steal a few of those to get on top of that podium
Ranked 12th nationally at 157 pounds, Barnhisel was forced to fight his way back through the consolation bracket after dropping his first match of the 2012-13 campaign, a second-round bout to Academy rival Gabe Martinez, 6-4. Barnhisel bounced back to win five straight matches, including a15-0 tech fall over 10th-ranked Josh Demas of Ohio State in the fourth round of the consolations. He followed it up with a 12-1 major decision over Boise State's Georgi Ivanov before avenging his earlier loss to Martinez with a 6-0 victory over the Falcon in the consolation semifinals. Barnhisel led 4-2 with riding time midway through the third period, however he would have to settle for fourth after being thrown and subsequently pinned (6:00) by Wyoming's Andy McCulley.
"Bobby looked really good these last two days and got better each match," added Burnett. "He started off a little slow and lost a match on Friday that he probably shouldn't have and ended up coming back and beating the Air Force kid in the consolations.
"He had everything going his way in his final match for third place and just found himself in a bad position, was thrown and pinned. He knows he should have won the match, but we'll use this as a good lesson learned for future matches."
Also placing fourth in the tournament was Miller, who like Barnhisel, came into the event with an undefeated mark. After an opening-round bye, Miller dealt North Dakota State's Kurtis Julson an 11-6 loss and then punched is way into the semifinals after scoring a 7-0 shutout over 15th-ranked Todd Porter of Missouri. Miller, who is ranked 14th nationally at 174 pounds, stumbled for the first time this season with a 17-5 loss to sixth-ranked Robert Kokesh of Nebraska. He regrouped by pinning (5:50) Cal State Bakersfield's Bryce Hammond in the consolation semifinals, but was unable to compete in the third-place match against Arizona State's Blake Stauffer due to injury.
"Matt was wrestling pretty well and then got hurt in his semifinals match," said Burnett. "He wrestled in the consolation semis, but we needed to hold him out of that final match because if his injury."
Walsh won his opening two matches of the tournament at 165 pounds before eighth-ranked Nicholas Sulzer of Virginia sent the second-year standout to the consolation bracket behind a 12-4 major decision. Walsh came back to win two in a row, including a 4-1 effort against Joseph Brewster of South Dakota State in the consolation quarters, but fell short in the semis against 18th-ranked Zach Toal of Missouri, 8-2. Meanwhile, 19th-ranked Taylor Massa of Michigan cruised ast Walsh in the fifth-place match, 19-3.
Bailey finished the tournament with a 5-3 record and a sixth-place finish. Like Barnhisel, Bailey dropped his second-round match and was forced to go through wrestlebacks to find his way onto the podium. Bailey won four in a row, including a 4-1 decision over 19th-ranked Craig Scott of Cornell in the fourth round of consolations. He followed up with a 2-0 victory over Lance Bryson to set up a rematch against 11th-ranked Jacob Swartz of Boise State who beat Bailey by a 4-0 count in the second round. Swartz once again would deal Bailey a loss, this time by fall (4:24). Bailey then lost a hard-fought 6-4 decision in the fifth-place match to 12th-ranked Casey Newburg of Kent State.
Team captain Oscar Huntley (Stafford, Va.) put forth an admirable performance after pushing up from 174 pounds to 197 pounds this week. Huntley survived the opening day's action, but dropped a 15-0 tech fall to 10th-ranked Taylor Meeks of Oregon State in his first match Saturday morning to bow out of the competition.
Meanwhile, heavyweight Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) was still in the competition following Friday evening's report, however, he dropped his final match of the evening, 2-1, to North Dakota State's Evan Knutson to fall out of the tournament.
The Mids will travel to Fairfax, Va. next Saturday to face George Mason in their first dual of the 2012-13 season and their final competition before the turn of the calendar year. Action is slated to begin at 8:00 pm.
Additionally a group of Navy wrestlers are on tap to wrestle in Sunday's Nittany Lion Open held at Penn State's Rec Hall beginning at 8:30 am.
125 - Sam Warne (0-2, DNP)
1R - Bye
2R - lost by fall to David Terso (American), 3:56
C2R - lost by dec to Brock Banta (North Idaho), 7-3
133 - Colton Rasche (0-2, DNP)
1R - lost by dec to #16 Brian Owen (Boise State), 5-1
C1R - lost by dec to Bricker Dixon (Cornell), 1-0
141 - Joe Locksmith (0-2, DNP)
1R - lost by dec to #7 Michael Nevinger (Cornel), 8-2
C1R - lost by dec to McCade Ford (Wyoming), 3-2
149 - Zach Basich (0-1, DNP)
1R - lost by major dec to #11 Derek Valenti (Virginia), 9-0
C1R - lost by medical default to Nick Stahler (Colorado State)
157 - #12 Bobby Barnhisel (6-2, 4th place)
1R - won by dec over Coey Combs (Arizona State), 3-0
2R - lost by dec to Gabe Martinez (Air Force), 6-4
C2R - won by tech fall over Nicholas Morena (North Idaho), 19-2
C3R - won by tech fall over Jason Luster (West Virginia), 17-0
C4R - won by tech fall over #10 Josh Demas (Ohio State), 15-0
CQF - won by major dec over Georgi Ivanov (Boise State), 12-1
CSF - won by dec over Gabe Martinez (Air Force), 6-0
3rd/4th - lost by fall Andy McCulley (Wyoming), 6:00
165 - Peyton Walsh (4-3, 6th place)
1R - won by dec over Caleb Marsh (Kent State), 3-1
2R - won by dec over Austin Wilson (Nebraska), 4-1
QF - lost by major dec to #8 Nicholas Sulzer (Virginia), 12-4
C4R - won by dec over Charlie McMartin (Northern Colorado), 7-3
CQF - won by dec over Joseph Brewster (South Dakota State), 4-1
CSF - lost by dec to #18 Zach Toal (Missouri), 8-2
5th/6th - lost by tech fall to #19 Taylor Massa (Michigan), 19-3
174 - #14 Mathew Miller (3-1, 4th place)
1R - Bye
2R - won by dec over Kurtis Julson (North Dakota State), 11-6
QF - won by dec over #15 Todd Porter (Missouri), 7-0
SF - lost by major dec to #6 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska), 17-5
CSF - won by fall over Bryce Hammond (CSU Bakersfield), 5:50
3rd/4th - lost by medical default to Blake Stauffer (Arizona State)
184 - Mason Bailey (5-3, 6th Place)
1R - won by dec over Jordan Thomas (Michigan), 4-1
2R - lost by dec to #11 Jacob Swartz (Boise State), 4-0
C2R - won by major dec over Hunter Weddington (South Dakota State), 11-0
C3R - won by dec over Sean Dougherty (Cal Poly), 9-5
C4R - won by dec over #19 Craig Scott (Cornell), 4-1
CQF - won by dec over Lance Bryson (West Virginia), 2-0
CSF - lost by fall to #11 Jacob Swartz (Boise State), 4:24
5th/6th - lost by dec to #12 Casey Newburg (Kent State), 6-4
197 - Oscar Huntley (2-2, DNP)
1R - lost by dec to #19 Jackson Hein (Wisconsin), 9-3
C1R - Bye
C2R - won by fall over Zach Nye (Virginia), 2:03
C3R - won by dec over David Prieto (Utah Valley), 5-4 tb
C4R - lost by tech fall to #10 Taylor Meeks (Oregon State), 15-0
285 - Dan Miller (2-2, DNP)
1R - lost by dec to J.T. Felix (Boise State), 8-5
C1R - won by dec over Adam Fager (Utah Valley), 3-1
C2R - won by dec over Michael Williams (Western Wyoming), 4-0
C3R - lost by dec to Evan Knutson (North Dakota State), 2-1