Army West Point's Bobbly Heald getting ready to wrestle in the EIWA finals (Photo/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Due to an abundance of caution regarding COVID-19 protocols, senior captain Bobbly Heald has withdrawn from competing for Army at the 2021 NCAA DI Wrestling Tournament this upcoming weekend.
Despite an unexpected end to his wrestling career with the Black Knights, Heald has had an immense impact on the Army Wrestling program over his last four years.
The Bedford, N.H. native has played an integral role in Army's success, competing to a 55-32 record overall and 12-8 in dual competition. In his freshman season, he frequented the mat for the Black Knights, moving to a 12-16 record, and most notably defeating Austin Faunce (Navy) 2-1 in the second tiebreak period to clinch the Star Meet victory. He escaped with 17 seconds to give Army its second-ever dual victory in Annapolis, Md., and first since the 1961 season. During his tenor, Heald helped the Black Knights to a 3-1 record against the Mids. He went on to compete to even better records in the following two years, tallying his career best record of 22-8 as a sophomore.
"Obviously, we are gutted for Bobby and he's incredibly disappointed he doesn't have the opportunity to finish his Army Wrestling career on his own terms," said head coach Kevin Ward. "But he has so much to be proud of - he has made an incredible impact on our team and has accomplished so much as an individual. It is unfortunate that circumstances outside of his control close this chapter of his life, but we all know that there are great things in store for him as he looks forward to graduation and commissioning this May."
Heading into the tournament, Heald was ranked 23rd at 285 pounds after posting a second-place finish at the EIWA Tournament on Feb. 26. The senior was expected to face Nathan Traxler of Stanford in the Round of 32.
"To say that it's been the ride of a lifetime would be an understatement," said Heald. "My time with Army Wrestling has brought my family and I some of the greatest moments of our lives. With that has come moments of heartbreak and loss, too. I am so incredibly grateful for both, as they have molded me into who I am today. I came into this program as an 18-year-old kid without a clue of the path that lay ahead. I leave as a 23-year-old man, with a lifetime of lessons learned, relationships forged, and memories made. I will forever be in debt to the coaches who took a chance on me, the ORs and instructors who had my back, and the brothers who loved me enough to push me every step of the way. It has been the greatest honor of my life to toe the line with Army across my chest. Army Wrestling will always be a part of me. BHAW."
Bobby is set to graduate this May and will commission as a 2LT in the United States Army. Post-graduation, Bobby will be branching Infantry and will be stationed in Fort Riley, KS.