KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 10, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy wrestling team lost its Superintendents' Trophy matchup to visiting Coast Guard, 19-18, on Wednesday night at the Liebertz Gymnasium. In defeat, the Mariners fall to 10-9 overall, while the Bears improve to 6-5.
Coast Guard also takes an 8-5 lead overall in the chase for the 2015-16 Superintendents' Trophy with the victory in the final winter sport. Six points are still up for grabs between the two schools with the remaining spring sports.
Prior to the match, the wrestling program paid tribute to its five graduating seniors with a special Senior Night Ceremony – John Young (Watchung, N.J.), Matt Hiltz (Woodbine, Md.), Mike Maye (Pearl River, N.Y.), Mike Mui (Hingham, Mass.) and Ricky Fisher (Nashville, Tenn.).
The night started off well for the Mariners, as Mui earned a 13-9 decision at 125 over the Bears' Earl Roberts to put USMMA ahead, 3-0. Sophomore William Hardin (Oxford, Ala.) took six points on a forfeit victory at 133 to bring the home lead to 9-0.
The next two matches were extremely close and proved to be pivotal down the stretch. At 141, freshman Kimo Dial (Poway, Calif.) took Coast Guard's Matt McAllister to sudden victory after the two were tied, 8-8, through three periods. In the first extra session, McAllister earned a takedown to win, 10-8, and put the Bears on the board, 9-3.
The 149 matchup seemed to be heading for a sudden victory period as well, as junior Nathan Twito (Ames, Iowa) and the Bears' Matt Viera were tied at 3-3 when time ran out in the third, however Viera earned an extra point for riding time being just over a minute (1:03) and won the bout, 4-3, to bring the score to 9-6 in favor of the Mariners.
The Bears took the next four matches, earning decisions at 157 (15-12), 165 (5-2) and 184 (6-3), as well as an 11-0 major decision at 174 to take an overall lead of 19-9.
At 197, Coast Guard needed to hold the Mariners below four points to clinch the match and did so, as Fisher won a 6-2 decision over the Bears' Phil Azzari to bring the match score to 19-12.
Freshman Brandon Joest (Kendallville, Ind.) ended the match on a high note at 285 with a pin over Coast Guard's Kevin Painten in 2:24, but the six points earned landed the Mariners just short of the Bears, 19-18.
Up next, the Mariners will take part in the 2016 Centennial Conference Championship this Saturday, Feb. 13. The event will be hosted by McDaniel College in Westminster, Md. A Championship Central Page for more information can be accessed by following this link, and a live video feed of the event will be streamed at this link.
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