AU wrestling drops 21-17 to Navy
Senior captains John Boyle and David Terao earn major decisions, but two pins in the 184 and 197-pound weight classes cost AU the win.
Wrestling with the athletic intensity that helped him earn the nickname “Diablo” as a young athlete, AU senior captain John Boyle captured a 10-2 major decision against Navy’s Drew Daniels to give AU an 11-6 lead heading into intermission on Jan 16. The Eagles, however, failed to hang on, and after giving up falls in the 184-pound match and the 197-pound match, AU dropped to the Midshipmen 21-17.
"We did not look good tonight," AU head coach Teague Moore said. "It's strange because we had a really good week of training. Everybody looked really solid, everyone was giving 100 percent effort every day. Then we came out tonight, and a lot of our guys looked extremely tired in the first period."
Despite the loss, AU started the match in a dominant fashion, as senior co-captain David Terao racked up a 18-6 major decision against Navy sophomore Brant Leadbeter, and AU junior Esteban Gomez-Rivera earned a 8-6 victory over freshman Zack Davis.
Terao, who has represented AU at the NCAA Tournament three times so far in his career, took to his match like a lion attacking his prey. He captured two points almost immediately with a takedown and earned two more takedowns before the end of the first period. His quick speed and lightning reflexes allowed him to repeatedly twist Leadbeter to the ground and set the pace for the Eagles heading into the remainder of the meet.
“I like it when David starts us off because he usually does a very good job of setting the pace and setting the tempo for the team,” Moore said in a previous interview with The Eagle.
Following Terao, Gomez-Rivera increased the Eagles lead with his victory, but Navy closed the gap with wins in the 141 and 149-pound weight classes. Both senior Tyler Scotton (141) and junior Cole Moseley (149) fought competitively against their opponents, finishing with scores of 3-0 and 6-3, but the prowess of Navy’s Nicholas Gil and Corey Wilding proved too much for the Eagle athletes.
Boyle brought much needed energy to the Eagles after his 10-2 win, and senior Mitchell Wightman built off Boyle’s momentum to secure a comeback victory against Navy senior John Keck. Wightman ran on to the mat with speed for the start of his match, and he carried his aggressive style throughout the final seconds of the third period. After a scoreless first period, Keck recorded the lone point in the second period, and Wightman selected to start down for the final round. With :30 seconds on the clock in the third, Keck led 3-2, but Wightman delivered one final blow. He earned a takedown in the final seconds, bringing the score to 4-3 and giving AU a 14-6 team lead.
Behind the mats where the refs raised Wightman’s arm in victory, Boyle pedaled on a bike and Gomez started running back and forth on the gym floor. The Eagles maintained an eight point lead, but the other two athletes knew they needed to refocus and prepare for their Sunday matches.
AU’s lead dissolved after dropping a 7-3 decision in the 174-pound weight class and allowing two consecutive falls, and Moore expressed exceptional frustration after watching freshman Jeric Kasunic lose to Navy’s Michael Woulfe in 2:40.
“However you want to look at the scoreboard, that may have been the big difference. He was in the lead, he was in the driver seat in that match, and he ended up going back and giving up the fall,” Moore said. “So if we just win that match with a decision, it changes the outcome for the team.”
AU freshman Jake Scanlan earned a final victory for the Eagles in the heavyweight category, but the somber mood still hung over the team as they shook hands with the midshipmen and headed to the locker room. The Eagles face Drexel today in another conference match-up, but Moore said the team will need a different mental approach on the mat if they hope to emerge with a win.
“I think we will come out with a different attitude and with a different fire than we came out with this evening, but we’re going to have to go and we’re going to have to take that win tomorrow," Moore said.