LANCASTER, PA — Eight Navy wrestlers placed fifth or better at the inaugural Franklin & Marshall Open held Saturday at Alumni Sport and Fitness Center's Schnader Fieldhouse, including sophomores Patrick Prada (Laurel, Md.) and Paul Rands (Cary, Ill.) who claimed individual titles at their respective weight classes.
Prada rattled off four consecutive wins, including a 3-2 decision over Virginia's Will Mason in the 125- pound finals to take his first tournament victory of the 2013 campaign. Prada struggled to begin the season, however, he has won 13 of his last 15 matches including eight in a row. Prada, meanwhile, edged out teammate Sam Warne (Dent, Minn.) in the semis, 5-4, to punch his ticket into the finals.
Meanwhile, junior Jericho Urmenita (Auburn, Wash.) placed fourth at 125 pounds after an 8-2 loss to Virginia's Mason in the semis sent him to the consolation bracket. Urmenita knocked off Lock Haven's Kaleb LeMaire, 9-2, before dropping his third-place bout against Nassau Community College's John Pellegrino, 6-3.
Senior Matt Jackson (Rising Sun, Md.) and newcomer John Keck (Wading River, N.Y.) both placed at 165 pounds for the Mids. Jackson won his first two matches of the day, but lost a 7-3 decision to Judd Ziegler of Princeton in the quarters. Jackson came back to win four in a row, including a 6-2 win over Ziegler to take third place. Meanwhile, Kent State's Alex Rice dealt Keck a first-round loss, but the Navy freshman rallied to win five straight including a 4-3 double tie-breaker over Penn State's Rex Lutz. Keck was tripped up by Ziegler in the consolation semis and was awarded fifth place after Rice bowed out with an injury.
Taking fifth place at 174 pounds was rookie William Miller (Chinook, Mont.). Miller turned in three straight wins before suffering a 12-5 loss to Clarion's Steve Nelson in the semis. Miller lost a 7-5 sudden victory heart breaker to Rutgers' Anthony Pafumi, but bounced back to earn a huge 21-5 tech fall over Abe Ayala of Princeton to take fifth.
184-pound James Mannier (Troy, Ohio) continues to flourish in his junior year, placing second at the Franklin & Marshall Open. Mannier pinned F&M's Paul Alessandrini (1:54) in his opener and turned in a 7- decision over Wesley Phipps of Penn State in the quarters. He earned a 4-2 sudden victory over Princeton's Scott Gibbons to punch his ticket into the finals, but came up short against Columbia's Shane Hughes, 8-6.
Rands, too, has enjoyed a solid season wrestling on an unattached basis. He earned his second individual title of the year by defeating Old Dominion's Jacob Henderson, 4-2, in Saturday's 197-pound championship. Among Rands' winning streak, he claimed two victories by way of pins in under three minutes.
Finally, sophomore Brendan Kahle (Abingdon, Md.) put together his best tournament of his young career by posting a 5-2 record and placing fifth at heavyweight. Kahle dropped his opener by major decision, 11-2, to Kutztown's Brandon Clarke, but fought his way back with four straight wins, including an 11-3 major decision over Hofstra's Jimmy Trull. Zeal Mcgrew edged Kahle in the consolation semis, but Kahle outlasted Lock Haven's Cody Mason, 3-2, to earn fifth.
The Mids return to action next Saturday when they play host to long-time rival Lehigh in an EIWA showdown at Alumni Hall. Action is slated for 2:00 pm and will be streamed live via Navy All-Access on Navy's official web site, www.NavySports.com(.) The stream will be available free of charge.