Navy is sending six Midshipmen and an "adopted son" to the National Collegiate Boxing Association Championships at the University of Nevada-Reno next weekend.
Some 15 college teams from all over the nation will be represented along with an unlikely school that sits on theSevern.
Six Mids who recently won regional boxing championships, including defending national heavyweight champion Demetrius Maxey, are headedfor Reno along with Brian Good of St. John's College in Annapolis.
Good, who trains with the Middies, is a 34-year-old sophomore from Oakland, Calif., and the first from St. John's to go to the boxing nationals since the mid-1930s when the school produced a couple of champions.
Not known for athletics, least of all boxing, St. John's hasn't had a boxing team for more than 50 years until this year.
"Brian started it, and they had about three to four guys, but he was theonly one who came to the regionals, and he lost a tough 3-2 split decision to our Shane Boudren in the 132-pound final," said Navy boxingcoach Jim McNally.
"But Shane fractured a knuckle and can't fightin the nationals so Brian is taking his place. Brian has been kind of a one-man team and trains with us and is a hard worker. This is kind of like his final hurrah."
McNally says that Good has a solid chance of doing well in the nationals that annually are dominated by the Air Force Academy.
"He's got a good chance of winning it," said the Navy coach.
Good himself is confident and said, "I feel good about the nationals because my heart is really in it and Coach (Ron) Stutzman (assistant to McNally) has me peaked and primed."
While living on the West Coast, Good was a construction worker after high school. He got the urge to get into the ring around 1984. He went to a gym in Oakland and "got pummeled, but I loved being in the ring."
That year he met legendary Navy boxing coach Emerson Smith, who retired in 1985, at the University of California-Berkeley. Smith was out there with his Navy boxing team in the collegiate nationals.
The following year Good came to Annapolis with intentions of attending St. John's, but didn't enroll. Instead, he got a construction job and began working out at Navy. In 1987 he decided to serve a stint in the military and ended up with the 75th Rangers in Fort Benning, Ga.
Last year he enrolled at St. John's to satisfy his fascination with history, philosophy and the words of the likes of Aristotle.
"I can quote Aristotle just like Mike Tyson does, but I bet he doesn't know it's Aristotle," said Good.
"Some of the freshmen heard I boxed before and approached me about starting a team. So we did. We had about 10-12 guys, but they were mostly into the basic conditioning of it. A couple of us went a little farther and got sanctioned by the NCBA andthis past January I was the only one who started training for the regionals."
Good feels that his Southeast finale with Navy's Boudren, a freshman, was close to being a draw, but admits that his foe fought "a smart fight."
"I'm a banger who loves to fight inside and the Navy kid stayed on the run and out-pointed me with a smart fight," Good said.
"I was too willing to take punishment and I'll have to watch that in the nationals, but I wasn't tired because of the way Coach Stutzman prepared me mentally and physically."
Good is aware of the altitude that he will have to adjust to in Reno and knows that gives perennial champion Air Force an edge. The Falcons train at 6,000 feet, and the nationals in Nevada will be at 5,000 feet.
"But Coach Stutzman and Pete Maillet who works my corner will have me ready, and yes, this might be my final hurrah," said Good, who faces a challenging year academically next year and probably will put the gloveson the shelf.
Winning in Reno would be great for Good and for Navy's contingent that hopes to bring back a national title. Defending champion Air Force, Loch Haven (Pa.), Reno and Army figure to be Navy's stiffest competition in the quest for the national championship.
Since 1980, the Air Force has copped the national crown every year with the exception of West Chester College (N.Y.) in 1984 and Navy in 1987.
That was McNally's first season at the academy, but the teamwas a disappointing fifth last year. McNally expects to improve on that with the likes of Maxey in the heavyweight division and Marvin Reed at the light heavyweight 172-pound division.
Maxey, who is justa junior, won it all last year after finishing as a national runner-up his freshman year. He faces a probable matchup in the final against one of those Army guys.
"That's a big thing to beat an Army boxer because we don't get a chance to box them too often," said McNally,whose Middies won the seven-team Southeast Regional two weeks ago atVirginia Military Institute. "Winning a national title over a boxer from Army makes it all the sweeter."
Army's ace heavyweight is Chris Smith and a matchup with Maxey should be a beauty, McNally said.