With the Institute putting its first-year students through the Breakout process, VMI’s lineup was without several of its freshman against the other military colleges and academies at Army’s Gillis Field House.
The Keydets, wrestling for the second time this week, saw their 197-pound grappler, Urayoan Garcia, finish in fourth place during the individual tournament, helping VMI collect its 15.5 team points.
For a second year in a row, the Naval Academy took home the top spot, finishing with 128.5 points. The Air Force Academy, last year’s host school, finished second with 92.5 points while VMI’s Southern Conference rival The Citadel rounded out the top three with 72.0 points, edging out Army’s 71.0 points.
Garcia’s day began with a faceoff against the tournament’s second-seed, Joshua Mohr of Air Force, who bested Garcia 14-4. But Garcia took it to his next opponent, sticking Norwich’s Sam Kent in just 4:22. In the consolation semifinals, Garcia collected his second victory of the afternoon with a 5-3 decision over Merchant Marine’s Tyler Russell.
It was a Groundhogs Day kind of afternoon for Garcia, who drew Mohr once again in the third-place bout. Once again, the Falcon grabbed the win 9-1 and Garcia took his second place finish of the year.
At 149 pounds, Zeb Stewart reached the consolation semifinals after falling to second-seeded Raymond Borja of Navy by fall in 4:14. In the consolation first round however, the Keydet exacted revenge and bested Merchant Marine’s Bernard Watson with an 11-0 major decision.
The consolation semifinals proved to be a thriller as Army’s John Belanger, the fourth seed, got all he could handle from Stewart. The match needed over time to decide a winner after finishing 5-5 through the first three rounds. Belanger, the tournament’s eventual third-place finisher, got the win in the end, however, getting a takedown in extra time.
In the 141-pound weight class, Ryan Goodsell fell by a narrow 3-2 margin against the tournament’s four seed, Carter McElhany of Air Force. Goodsell bounced back in the consolations with a 10-2 major decision over Matt Watson of Merchant Marine. In the consolation semifinals, Goodsell fell 5-3 to #3 Joe Locksmith of Navy.
John Dommert represented the Keydets at 174 pounds, drawing the weight class’ top seed, Matthew Miller of Navy. Miller took the win 15-0. In the consolation first round, Dommert’s opponent, #4 Luke Taylor of Coast Guard, took a medical forfeit, advancing Dommert to the semifinals. Dommert squared off with the weight’s #2 seed, Coleman Gracey of Army, but fell by a 7-2 decision.
After falling 8-5 in the first round of the heavyweight division, VMI’s Michael LaPrade bounced back and collected a win by fall against Merchant Marine’s Mason Reed. LaPrade fell in the consolation semifinals however as #3 Bently Alsup of Air Force won by fall in 4:57.
VMI returns to action on Feb. 8 as it heads to Chapel Hill, N.C. to face its second Atlantic Coast Conference foe of the season. The Keydets square off with University of North Carolina at 7 p.m. at Carmichael Auditorium.
Finish) School - Points
1) Navy - 128.5
2) Air Force - 92.5
3) The Citadel - 72.0
4) Army - 71.0
5) Merchant Marine - 17.5
6) VMI - 15.5
7) Coast Guard - 12.5
8) Norwich - 0.0
First Round: #4 Carter McElhany (Air Force) DEC Ryan Goodsell (VMI) 3-2
Consolation First Round: Ryan Goodsell (VMI) MAJ DEC Matt Watson (Merchant Marine) 10-2
Consolation Semifinals: #3 Joe Locksmith (Navy) DEC Ryan Goodsell 5-3
First Round: #2 Raymond Borja (Navy) WBF Zeb Stewart (VMI) 4:14
Consolation First Round: Zeb Stewart (VMI) MAJ DEC Bernard Watson (Merchant Marine) 11-0
Consolation Semifinals: #4 John Belanger (Army) SV-1 Zeb Stewart 7-5
First Round: #1 Matthew Miller (Navy) TECH FALL John Dommert (VMI) 15-0
Consolation First Round: John Dommert (VMI) MED FORFEIT #4 Luke Taylor (Coast Guard) --
Consolation Semifinals: #2 Coleman Gracey (Army) DEC John Dommert (VMI) 7-2
First Round: #2 Joshua Mohr (Air Force) MAJ DEC Urayoan Garcia (VMI) 14-4
Consolation First Round: Urayoan Garcia (VMI) WBF Sam Kent (Norwich) 4:22
Consolation Semifinals: Urayoan Garcia (VMI) DEC Tyler Russell (Merchant Marine) 5-3
Third-Place Bout: #2 Joshua Mohr (Air Force) MAJ DEC Urayoan Garcia (VMI) 9-1
First Round: Mark Howard (Coast Guard) DEC Michael LaPrade (VMI) 8-5
Consolation First Round: Michael LaPrade (VMI) WBF Mason Reed (Merchant Marine) 3:35
Consolation Semifinals: #3 Brently Alsup (Air Force) WBF Michael LaPrade (VMI) 4:57