May 13, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army wrestling team received national praise when its 2014 recruiting class was named 22nd-best among Division I programs by The Open Mat this past weekend. The national ranking is the first-ever for an Army wrestling recruiting class.
The ranking comes as another highlight for Black Knights under head coach Joe Heskett. Heskett will begin his fifth season at West Point this winter.
“This is a significant honor for our administration, athletes and program,” said Heskett. “We are securing some of the best talent in the United States of America and it is being recognized. We are recruiting a special type of leader, a young man who embodies the West Point qualities, but who also has a gift to wrestle and salivates to get on top of the NCAA podium.”
During Heskett’s time at Army, the Black Knights have improved their finish in the annual Oklahoma-Gold Classic, from sixth place in 2010-11 to third in 2013-14. In the opening match of the 2011-12 campaign, Army defeated 24th-ranked Iowa State, 23-22, before placing first at the New York State Championships on Jan. 22.
The Black Knights have prepared wrestlers for better success in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, after qualifying four in 2012-13 and three in 2013-14. Senior Paul Hancock and sophomores Bryce Barnes and Brian Harvey combined to win four matches at this year’s NCAA Tournament, including Hancock’s 13-4 victory over No. 11 Taylor Walsh of Indiana on March 21.
Army finished the season with an 8-4 overall record, including a 7-4 mark in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA). The Black Knights experienced success down the stretch, as they collected wins in five of their final six dual matches.