ANNAPOLIS, Md. - In a thriller that came down to a total match point tiebreaker, the Army West Point wrestling team made it four straight wins over service-academy rival Navy Saturday night, edging out a 16-15 Star-Meet victory.
Combined with Army's two basketball wins, the result cuts Navy's lead in the 2019-20 Star Series presented by USAA to 10-6-1.
"Just really proud of our guys for finding a way in a really hard fought match," said head coach Kevin Ward. "It was anything but pretty but our guys found a way. That's what championship programs do. They find a way and tonight we found a way to grit one out."
The Black Knights' (10-3, 4-1 EIWA) four straight wins over Navy (8-6, 3-2 EIWA) are the most in the series history for Army, surpassing the Cadets' three in-a-row run from 1960-62. The win also moves head coach Kevin Ward's career record against the Mids to 5-1, the most victories by any Army wrestling coach.
The dual was split five matches apiece after Ben Sullivan won a 1-0 decision over Riley Smith in the heavyweight bout to move the team score to 15-15. That's when the judges dove into the tiebreak scenarios, by way of criteria c (total match points scored only from decisions, major decisions and technical falls), which went Army's favor, 29-26.
Senior Trey Chalifoux got Army on the board first with a 5-2 decision over Logan Treaster to make it 3-0. The teams would split the next four matches, with the Black Knights holding on to an 8-6 lead heading into the 165 pound bout. In a high-profile match between two nationally ranked wrestlers, Tanner Skidgel narrowly defeated Cael McCormick 1-0 to push Navy ahead 9-6.
After exchanging wins at 174 and 184 pounds, Navy went ahead 15-12 after Jacob Koser defeated J.T. Brown 6-1, leaving it all up to Sullivan to get Army the win.
Army's 10 dual wins are the most since 2008-09, as the Black Knights now set their sights on postseason competition.
"So happy for our seniors to go undefeated against Navy," said Ward. "They've brought this program to a new level and we are fired up for the post season."
Army 16, Navy 15 | 2,012 attendance
125 | #17 Trey Chalifoux dec Logan Treaster (NAVY), 5-2 // Army 3, Navy 0
133 | Lane Peters dec Casey Cobb (NAVY), 3-1 // Army 6, Navy 0
141 | Cody Trybus (NAVY) def Corey Shie, 3-1 SV // Army 6, Navy 3
149 | Jared Prince (NAVY) dec P.J. Ogunsanya, 7-2 // Army 5, Navy 6
157 | Lucas Weiland dec Val Park (NAVY), 4-0 // Army 8, Navy 6
165 | #9 Tanner Skidgel (NAVY) dec Cael McCormick, 1-0 // Army 8, Navy 9
174 | Spencer Carey (NAVY) dec #11 Ben Harvey dec, 3-1 // Army 8, Navy 12
184 | #18 Noah Stewart dec Dean Caravela (NAVY), 11-3 // Army 12, Navy 12
197 | Jacob Koser (NAVY) dec J.T. Brown, 6-1 // Army 12, Navy 15
285 | #20 Ben Sullivan dec Riley Smith (NAVY), 1-0 // Army 15, Navy 15
* Army was deducted a team point following the 149-pound match for unsportsmanlike conduct
* Army wins tie-breaker by way of criteria c: total match points, 29-26