Alexander, Navy win NCAA title Senior's 4th gold medal helps dethrone Air Force

April 13, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Across the continent, in Las Vegas, Oscar De La Hoya and Pernell Whitaker were engaging in a million-dollar welterweight fight. Unlike those two, however, Todd Alexander, an amateur boxer, competed last night at the Naval Academy's Halsey Field House without benefit of a huge financial payday.

But for Navy's star 165-pounder, who beat Nevada's Matt Maxwell to become first Midshipman to win four national titles, the glory of last night's gold medal and Outstanding Boxer honors are priceless.

Alexander's flurry against Maxwell forced ring official Everett Vandervere to end the bout at 1: 17 of the second round as the Mids' defended their NCAA boxing championship, 44-33, over runner-up Air Force, the 1995 team champion.

Also joining Alexander in victory were teammates Jason Lavarias (119), Jon Bradley (190), Cy Mellet (180) and heavyweight Jarod Donaldson. Bradley's flooring of Santa Clara's Bryan Webster in the second round forced referee Vic Drakulich to stop it at 40 seconds of the round and make Bradley Navy's fifth three-time champion.

Alexander, a 22-year-old history major from Huntington, Pa., floored Maxwell with a body blow before the bell ending the first round. He later received a standing ovation from the crowd of 3,000 after his win made him only the fourth four-time collegiate champ.

"I just feel fortunate to have been here for this. It means everything. You just can't put a price tag on something like this," said Alexander, who won Friday night when his bout was stopped by referee Tom Cleary at 1: 32 of the first round.

"When you're at the Naval Academy, you don't have much extra time or freedom. And being involved in a sport like this takes even more of that away. But I've been fortunate to have developed a great following here in Annapolis, which makes it all worthwhile."

Bradley, of Radcliffe, Ky., savored his win as well.

"Of all the years I've been involved in boxing, this night beats them all," said Bradley, 21, who like Alexander, will become a second leutenant in the Marine Corps when he graduates May 23. "Winning in front of my home crowd, for coach Jim McNally and all of our coaches is just overwhelming. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Mellet's straight right hand dropped Santa Clara's J. D. Testa at 2: 30 of the third round en route to winning a decision in a slugfest.

Lavarias, a 21-year-old second-year boxer and a native of Teaneck, N.J., landed the heavier blows to continually back up Lock Haven's Eric Elmer to get the nod, 5-0, from all five judges. Elmer was runner-up for the second straight year.

Navy's Nic Wisecarver suffered a narrow loss to Nevada's Joey Gilbert in the final at 147 pounds.

Entering the finals, Navy had an 18-12 lead over Air Force, and six finalists to the Falcons' four. Mike Benza (132), Sloan Harris (139), Randall Johnston (156) and Mark Clifford (172) all won decisions for Air Force.

112 -- Andy Nguyen (VMI) dec. Sal Bertuna (Kentucky); 119 -- Jason Lavarias (Navy) dec. Eric Elmer (Lock Haven); 125 -- David Brock (Va. Tech) over David Fields (Lock Haven), RSC, 1: 37, first round; 132 -- Mike Benza (Air Force) dec. Fred Druding (Lock Haven)' 139 -- Sloan Hollis (Air Force) dec. Brian Smith (Army); 147 -- Joey Gilbert (Nevada) dec. Nick Wisecarver (Navy); 156 -- Randall Johnston (Air Force) dec. Jeremy Winston (Kentucky); 165 -- Todd Alexander (Navy) over Matt Maxwell (Nevada), RSC, 1: 17, second round; 172 -- Mark Clifford (Air Force) dec. David Adams (Army); 180 -- Cy Mellet (Navy) dec. J.D. Testa (Santa Clara); 190 -- Jon Bradley (Navy) over Bryan Webster (Santa Clara), RSC, 0: 40, second round; Hwt -- Jarrod Donaldson (Navy) dec. Dennis Maley (Shippensburg).

RSC-Referee stops contest

Pub Date: 4/13/97

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