Army Head Coach Joe Heskett Inducted into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame

Army head coach Joe Heskett was one of five inductees into the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame over the weekend, joining Dale Brand, Kirk Myers, Troy Steiner and Terry Steiner.

The Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame began in 2002 and recognizes individuals who “have impacted the sport of wrestling on a national level, as well as in the state of Iowa”.

Heskett, a graduate of Iowa State University, was a four-time All-American and three-time finalist, who won an NCAA title in his senior campaign.

In a February article on, Heskett said the following about his selection:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank the selection committee, as well as the Dan Gable Museum and Glen Brand Hall of Fame. I would also like to congratulate my fellow inductees. As I reflect upon my career, I am so grateful for the sport of wrestling and its role in developing my character and mentality. Being recognized in my sport at the highest level is an absolute honor. This humbling honor is an extension of the love and support that I have received throughout my life. This induction directly correlates to the love and sacrifice of the woman who raised, supported and mentored me, my grandmother, Evelyn.

“I am blessed beyond belief, and this induction is shared with all my coaches, specifically Bobby Douglas and my high school coach Bill Barger. This honor is also shared with my family, close friends, the Iowa State community, the Cal Poly and Ohio State communities and the community here at West Point. In closing, this honor is shared with my three gold medals Olivia, Ava and Joey.”

Heskett coached at Cal Poly and Ohio State before becoming the head coach at West Point.

For more, see here.


NY College Updates: Army Hires Francois; Binghamton and Hofstra Wrestle-Offs This Week

With the college season just a few weeks away, teams are getting closer to naming their starting lineups for the early season action.  This week, both Binghamton and Hofstra will hold wrestle-offs.  In other New York college wrestling news, Joe Heskett has added Enock Francois to the Army coaching staff for the upcoming campaign.  See more details on those stories below.

Binghamton Wrestle-Offs to be Held on Saturday

Donnie Vinson, Photo by Boris V

According to assistant coach Jasen Borshoff, Binghamton will be holding wrestle-offs this Saturday, October 27th at 1 p.m. in the West Gym.  The Bearcats open the season on November 8th at Lehigh.

As Borshoff discussed in the Binghamton season preview, there are a number of weights where the battle for the starting job is very competitive, including the first few weight classes (125-141) as well as 174 pounds.

One other important date to keep on the calendar is Sunday, November 11.  That’s when the Binghamton Open will be held, beginning at 9 a.m.  300 wrestlers are already signed up from 16 Division I teams.


Hofstra Wrestle-Offs Beginning on Wednesday

According to assistant coach Zach Tanelli, preliminary wrestle-off bouts will take place on Wednesday, with the finals on Sunday, October 28 at 5 p.m. in the Physical Education Building.  The event is open to the public.

Tentative matchups are as follows:

Wednesday, October 24th at 3:30 p.m.

157: Russell Benner vs. Mike Caputo
Jay Lysne vs. Dalton Ahern
133: Joe Gosinski vs. Jamel Hudson
141: Dan Manley vs. Cody Ruggirello
149: Matt Spataro vs. Cory Goshkagarian
Jahlani Callender vs. Sam Schwartzapfel
165: Nick Terdick vs. Dan Spurgeon
174: Frank Affronti vs. David Heitman
Hwt: Zeal McGrew vs. James Trull
157: Winner of Benner/Caputo vs. Winner of Lysne/Ahern

Sunday, October 28th at 5 p.m.

125: Steve Bonanno vs. Loser of Gosinski/Hudson
133: Jamie Franco vs. Winner of Gosinski/Hudson
141: Luke Vaith vs. Winner of Manley/Ruggirello
149: Winner of Spataro/Goshkagarian vs. Winner of Callender/Schwartzapfel
157: Tyler Banks vs. Winner of 157 Mini-Tournament
165: Jermaine John vs. Winner of Terdick/Spurgeon
174: Winner of Affronti/Heitman vs. Loser of Terdick/Spurgeon
184: Taras Luzhnyy vs. Loser of Affronti/Heitman
197: Tim Murphy vs. Victor Pozsonyi
Hwt: Paul Snyder vs. Winner of McGrew/Trull


Army Adds Enock Francois to Coaching Staff

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army wrestling head coach Joe Heskett has added Enock Francois to his staff for the 2012-13 campaign. Francois, who arrives at West Point after spending the past two seasons as a graduate assistant at University of the Cumberlands, will take over for Terry Madden as the Black Knights’ volunteer coach.

“I am so excited to be here at West Point and look forward to working with these young men,” said Francois. “The wrestlers here are eager to learn and continue to improve as a unit, and that is very exciting to be around.”

During his time at Cumberlands, Francois assisted head coach Matt Lowers in all aspects of the program. He helped coordinate practices, aided with recruiting and assisted with daily strength and conditioning activities.

Francois was a dominant wrestler during his collegiate days at both Northwestern College and California Baptist University, earning three NAIA All-America certificates. He was a two-time All-American at NWC, placing fourth at NAIA Nationals as a sophomore and taking fifth during his junior campaign. Francois, who still holds the Northwestern College single-season records for wins (45) and takedowns (150), piled up more than 100 wins at NWC before transferring to CBU for his final season.

He capped his collegiate career by placing second at the NAIA Nationals en route to his third All-America certificate. Francois, who is still actively wrestling, has World and Olympic Team aspirations. He will continue to train for the 2016 Olympic Games while coaching at the Academy.

“Training for the World and Olympic Teams has always been something that I have wanted to do,” said Francois. “I’m now able to do that through the West Point Wrestling Club, and I am thankful to have that opportunity.”

Francois authored an impressive high school career, posting 124 wins in four years. He was a two-time state qualifier in Florida, placing sixth in the state during as a senior. A three-time all-conference selection, Francois won three district championships and a pair of conference titles.

Francois graduated from California Baptist University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He earned his master’s degree in Teaching from University of the Cumberlands in 2012. (Courtesy of 

Joe Heskett Previews the 2012-2013 Season for the Army Black Knights

Jordan Thome, Photo by Boris V

In Joe Heskett’s second year as the head coach at Army, the Black Knights sent three wrestlers to the NCAA tournament and had six placers at the EIWA championships. Two of last year’s national qualifiers, Jordan Thome and Coleman Gracey, are back and the return of three starters whose seasons ended early due to injury a year ago make Heskett and his staff enthusiastic about a successful 2012-13 campaign. 

Coach Heskett talked to New York Wrestling News about the upcoming season, starting with a weight-by-weight look at the lineup.

125 PoundsHunter Wood will be the starter at this weight for the Black Knights, taking over for Scott Filbert, who won 21 matches and was seventh at EIWAs.  [Filbert won’t be wrestling this year.]

Coach Heskett: “Hunter and Scott went back and forth last year – Hunter was right there.  We think Hunter will step in do a good job.”

133 PoundsJordan Thome returns after winning 28 matches a year ago, including a victory over All-American Chris Dardanes of Minnesota.  Thome won a pair of bouts at the NCAA tournament and led AJ Schopp 5-0 going into the third period of his fourth match at nationals.  However, the Edinboro wrestler turned Thome for back points twice in the final stanza to earn a close decision.  The Ohio native returns, looking to take the next step onto the medal stand.

Coach Heskett: “I think last season was one of gradual growth for Jordan.  He was wrestling as well as he could have at the right time.  I was very proud of his NCAA performance.  His second loss against Schopp was heartbreaking, going into the third with a solid lead, but he has a chance to redeem himself.  The fire that invigorated him after he took seventh at EIWAs led him to have a good NCAA tournament.  Now he’ll use the fire from NCAAs last year to finish up his senior year on the podium.  We’re expecting a lot from him.  He’s definitely looked up to by the guys on the team, especially with the light-hearted, jovial spirit he brings.  He’s fun to be around but he’s also focused on doing great things.”

141 Pounds – A two-man race has emerged between Connor Hanafee and Ryan Bilyeu for the nod at 141.  Hanafee won 12 bouts a year ago before suffering a season-ending injury that required surgery.  Bilyeu is making the move down from 149 pounds.

Coach Heskett:   “This will be an interesting weight.  Connor’s season was cut short – he had to stop wrestling in January.  We’re glad to have him back.  Bilyeu is a grinder who came out of nowhere.  He was fourth on the depth chart last year at 149 at one point, but kept pushing to get on the mat.  He had some very good matches, including a 6-5 loss to Steve Santos of Columbia that was extremely controversial. Those two wrestlers and some others will have the opportunity to shine.”

149 PoundsDaniel Young began last season 11-4, including 5-1 in duals, with a pin over Iowa State’s Trent Weatherman and a major decision against EIWA runner up Kevin Tao.  His season came to an end in December, however, when he required surgery.

Coach Heskett: “Daniel was on pace to be at the national tournament and it looked like he would be doing some damage there before he got hurt.  He took Donnie Vinson down at least four times in their match before losing 16-10.  He’s athletic and looking really strong now.  He’s also one of our team captains.  We’re looking for big things from him.  We’re also excited to see how John Belanger and Javier Rodriguez wrestle.  149 will be a nice, interesting weight class for us.”

157 Pounds – Some young guns, Chandler Smith and Brian Harvey will look to make an impact at this weight after the departure of Jimmy Rafferty.

Coach Heskett: “I’m looking forward to seeing Chandler develop.  He’s done a phenomenal job and is so athletic.  Brian Harvey is another guy to watch.  He went 7-0 at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma City this year.  We have some really young, tough guys scrapping it out.  With the youth we have, we should be solid here for years to come.”

165 Pounds – With NCAA qualifier Cole Gracey likely moving up to 174, Ryan Marble and Patrick Marchetti are looking to step in at 165.

Coach Heskett: “Marble is a freshman who took an Olympic redshirt last year in freestyle.  He spent the year at the Olympic Training Center and is looking really tough.  He’s definitely one of the frontrunners.  We also have Marchetti, who is a seasoned veteran.  Between 157 and 165, we probably have 12 guys trying to win spots, so we feel like we’re in a good place.”

174 PoundsCole Gracey began his freshman year 7-11.  He went 18-4 the rest of the way to take third at the EIWAs, win a match at the NCAAs and capture EIWA Freshman of the Year honors.  Another rookie to look out for is Pennsylvania placer Austin Wilding, who Heskett said has already shown dramatic improvement in his short time at West Point.

Coach Heskett: “Coleman is one of the most enjoyable young men I’ve ever been around.  He is extremely coachable and he has the special ability to learn and be open-minded, on top of being a really hard worker.  Those are strong attributes to succeed on the wrestling mat and in life.  The exciting part is that he’s still finding himself as a wrestler.  He’s unorthodox and is working on solid fundamentals to incorporate into his style.  His upside is huge because he still can become more fundamental in the sport. He has a style that’s entertaining and really fun to watch.  We’re focused on getting him on the podium because he has the ability to get there this year.  He’s a winner and he’s resilient.”

184 PoundsCollin Wittmeyer, the third grappler who had season-ending surgery a year ago, is back.  He’ll battle with freshman Travis Mallo to represent the Black Knights at 184.

Coach Heskett: “Collin had two top 10 wins in the first week of the season – Boston’s Hunter Meys and Rider’s Jim Resnick.  He was looking great but then he was injured.  He’s a team captain and leader.  Mallo is a very tough young man who went to MAPS last year.  We’re really expecting big things out of 184 with those guys.”

197 Pounds – Derek Stanley was an NCAA qualifier a year ago at this weight.  Who will step in?  It looks like it will be Bryce Barnes, who had a very good year at MAPS, according to Heskett.

Coach Heskett: “He has been exceptional in his first few weeks back here at West Point. There’s something different about the way he trains, fights and leads out there.  I’m really excited to see him compete.  He’s very athletic and loves to scramble.”

285 PoundsStephen Snyder saw some time at heavyweight and will try to secure the job, as will Curtis Garner.

Coach Heskett:  “Snyder came to me after last season and told me he was on mission.  He’s been working like an animal.  He had a rough year, but his mentality and his effort were very good.  He’s working to become one of the best conditioned heavyweights in the country to meet his goals.  Garner will fight for the spot as well as a junior.”

A few more questions . . .

You’ll be going into your third year.  Where do you see the program going?

Coach Heskett:  We feel like we’re making a lot of progress.  When I took over the program, we didn’t have returning national qualifiers or high EIWA placers.  Last year we had three qualifiers and we’re in a situation where we have freshmen coming in and taking starting spots away.  That’s something we need to have happen to build a top 15 program.

We also felt we needed some other things to be a top 15 program and there are so many people behind the scenes who are helping us get there.  I can’t thank LTC Todd Messitt and the Staff of the Officer Representatives enough for all they’ve done.  We’re excited about things like the West Point Wrestling Club, money for a volunteer coach and a Regional Training Center.

We also have a coaching staff that I’m really excited about. Paul Young and Danny Mitcheff are outstanding.  They’re all in for what we’re trying to build.  They have a huge impact on the guys and their mentalities.  I can’t thank them or the administration enough for their support.

We’re also happy with what we’re doing off the mat.  We were proud to be honored for our APR scores last year.  [Army was one of eight Division I programs honored by the NCAA for their Academic Progress Rate]. It was awesome for our program and our institution to get recognized because it’s so important for us to enhance these young men in all aspects of life.”

What are your goals for the team this year?

Coach Heskett: “We look for an incremental growth in fight and the rest takes care of itself.  We have to be known as fighters and our Cadets have to know themselves as fighters.  We need to be resilient.  When we do that consistently, we’ll get to the places we need to go.  Our everyday goal is to train with that ferocity and fervor and mindset that I am the guy that is going to be the toughest guy on the planet.”

Army Releases 2012-13 Schedule

Courtesy of

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army wrestling head coach Joe Heskett released the program’s 2012-13 schedule on Monday. The slate, which features a home dual meet versus arch-rival Navy in late February, concludes at the EIWA Championships.

“Our schedule provides an excellent mix of elite tournament action and dual meet competitions,” said Heskett. “The Cliff Keen Invitational and Southern Scuffle are two of the best tournaments in the country, while the Virginia Duals and Northeast Duals are arguably the best dual meet tournaments in the nation outside of the National Duals. Our slate is diversified and focused on continual progress, setting us up for postseason success.”

Army opens its 2012-13 campaign on Nov. 3 when the Black Knights travel to Buffalo, N.Y., for the Buffalo Open. The Black Knights’ New York road trip continues through the month of November as the team travels to the Oklahoma-Gold Classic (Nov. 10) in Brockport, the New York State Championships (Nov. 17) in Ithaca and the Northeast Duals (Nov. 24) in Troy.

After traveling to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational on Dec. 1, Army lifts the lid on the home portion of its schedule with a dual meet versus Drexel on Dec. 8.

After taking a break for term-end exams and the holidays, Army returns to action on Jan. 1, when the Black Knights travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the Southern Scuffle. Army’s southern swing then stops in Charlottesville, Va., for the Virginia Duals on Jan. 11-12.

Road duals versus Bucknell (Jan. 19) and Rider (Jan. 23) cap Army’s road slate and lead into a busy four-week stretch of home competitions for the Black Knights. Army welcomes Brown to West Point for a dual meet on Jan. 27, before hosting the All-Academy Championships on Feb. 2. Then, after facing both Boston University and American University on Feb. 10, the Black Knights have two weeks to prepare for the annual Star meet opposite Navy (Feb. 24).

Less than two weeks later, Army will take part in the 109th annual EIWA Championships March 8-9. The NCAA Championships are schedule for March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

To see the schedule, please go to