Wrestling takes top honors at Patriot Open

By Frank Shala Army Athletic Communications

December 12th, 2019 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 The Army West Point wrestling team returned to competition Saturday at the Patriot Open hosted by George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. The Black Knights earned five individual titles, including sophomore Ben Sullivan at 285 pounds, on their way to the top overall team point total.   Photo by Army Athletic Communications

The Army West Point wrestling team returned to competition Saturday at the Patriot Open hosted by George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. The Black Knights earned five individual titles on their way to the top overall team point total.
“I felt like we performed well,” Head Coach Kevin Ward said. “I was especially proud to see the number of individuals we put into the finals. Sahm (Abdulrazzaq) and (Markus) Hartman both winning their first collegiate tournaments is a big thing for those guys.”
Ten Cadets made it to respective finals matches on the day, with champions coming at 157 lbs. (sophomore Hartman), 165 lbs. (senior Cael McCormick), 184 lbs. (freshman Abdulrazzaq), 197 lbs. (NC between senior Alex Hopkins and sophomore J.T. Brown) and 285 lbs. (sophomore Ben Sullivan).
Army finished the day with an astounding 297.5 total points among the 31 teams at the competition. Columbia was second with 98.5, and American rounded out the top three with 95.5 team points.
Hartman went 5-0 on the day, with a fall and two technical falls for his first collegiate tournament title.
McCormick earned his second tournament title of the season (Black Knight Invite) at 165 pounds. The senior went 4-0—all decision victories throughout the day.
Getting a chance to compete at 184 pounds, Abdulrazzaq took full advantage of the opportunity. The freshman, who went to high school in Virginia, also went 4-0 overall. His finals victory was an extra-time thriller, as he took down Brian Bonino of NYC RTC with a 4-3 decision.
Both Hopkins and Brown advanced for Army into the 197-pound final, but the match was not contested. In Hopkins’ four victories, he earned a fall, tech. fall, major decision, and a decision.
Brown scored a major decision and two decisions on the day.
In the heavyweight division, it was another all-Army final between Sullivan and junior Bobby Heald. Sullivan went 4-0 overall— including earning a fall victory in the round of 16—on the way to his finals victory.
“Overall, I still think we have a lot of room to grow,” Ward said. “We made some mental mistakes in some tough matches that cost us some matches we really wanted. We can’t be satisfied with being close to winning. This is a team that is capable of winning 10 weights at this tournament and we need to keep improving. We can still jump levels.”