A reunion 14 years in the making will take place the 121st Army Navy Game on Saturday at Michie Stadium at West Point.
Former Cortland High varsity wrestlers Capt. Nick Reisweber and Lt. Tyler Narby, now working at West Point and Annapolis respectively, will see each other for the first time since graduating from CHS in 2006.
“Nick was accepted to West Point, and I stayed local and went to TC3 then SUNY Cortland,” Lt. Narby said. “It is tough for active duty personnel to get back home for reunions or other events, but we have stayed in touch over Facebook and other social media.”
It has been so long since Reisweber and Narby have seen each other that Reisweber said he didn’t even know Narby was working at Annapolis until he saw it on social media.
“This is the first time I’ve been on the East Coast in 10 years, so making it home is usually reserved for holidays and big family events,” Reisweber said.
Neither Reisweber nor Narby continued wrestling in college, but they both have fond memories as members of the Purple Tigers wrestling team.
“What I learned more from my time at CHS and the wrestling team was the importance of hard work, dedication, resilience and most importantly teamwork,” Narby said. “Looking back, I was privileged to get to know a lot of very smart, motivated and caring people that helped me along the way and taught me a lot.”
“Like Tyler, what wrestling gave me was the importance of hard work, dedication, resilience and sacrifice,” Reisweber added. “While it was mostly just food being sacrificed, it still taught me quite a bit. What I enjoyed the most about wrestling at Cortland was the team concept of it. Instead of attending individual tournaments, we did many dual tournaments where the team score mattered more than the individual.”
Reisweber continued, “While I wasn’t very good, the lessons that I learned from Coach Dave Darrow and Coach Joe Nicholas transcend the wrestling mat and I owe them both a great deal of gratitude for taking their time to develop and mentor me.”
Reisweber added that Narby “was much stronger than I was, so my goal every time we wrestled was to never actually let him tie up with me. Once he had me locked in, I knew I was in for it.”
In addition to the high school wrestling season in the winter, Reisweber and Narby participated in club wrestling and summer camps at Cornell.
Reisweber is now an instructor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at West Point. This fall he taught freshmen mathematical modeling and introduction to calculus courses, and next semester he will teach multivariable and vector calculus.
“I teach six sections of nine students each, so the small classroom environment has been a great opportunity to really connect with my students,” Reisweber said.
Narby joined the Navy in 2013 and is the 7th Company Officer at Annapolis. He is responsible for the professional development, training and daily oversight of 151 Midshipmen across all four years. He is also a Surface Warfare Officer.
“SWOs are responsible for driving ships and the employment of their weapons systems,” Narby said. “I have done two deployments in the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation (Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf), and have worked in the Operations and Engineering departments. I will be going back to sea-duty in 2022 after about a year long training pipeline. I am hoping to be slated as a Chief Engineer, so I will be responsible for all propulsion, auxiliary, electrical and damage control equipment on the ship.”
It will be a special reunion at a very special setting in an uncertain time for these longtime friends.
“I’m looking forward to being able to connect with an old friend even if its only for a few minutes between his duties and obligations to ensure the Midshipmen can get to West Point safely,” Reisweber said. “Tyler and his wife Cassandra have a beautiful family, I’m sure will swap some terrible dad jokes, reminisce about our time in Cortland, and talk some lighthearted trash about the game. The beauty in this game is that, after all the emotion, after the game and after each side graduates and commissions in May, they will work alongside each other.”
“The one thing I don’t miss is Nick’s low single, as I had no way to defend it,” Narby said. “I do miss the camaraderie of our high school wrestling team; there is something special about getting 30-40 guys together and putting in hard work every day and then going out to compete in a one-on-one event where it is only you and your opponent. It really is a humbling experience.”
As for the game itself, Army (7-2) is hosting the game at West Point for the first time since 1943. The Army Navy game is traditionally the last game of the college football regular season, but with unending schedule shuffling due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Knights have one more regular season game left, hosting Air Force on Dec. 19. If the Black Knights defeat the Midshipmen, that game will determine the winner of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.
The Black Knights have also accepted an invitation to play in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. on Dec. 26. Senior running back Sandon McCoy leads the team with 10 rushing touchdowns.
The Midshipmen (3-6, 3-4 American Athletic Conference) have endured a rough season and will not be playing in a bowl game for the second time in three years. Fullback Nelson Smith leads the team in both rushing yards per game (69.1) and rushing touchdowns (eight).
Both Reisweber and Narby are eager to reunite, and their confidence in their respective teams’ chances at winning are unwavering.
“While COVID has definitely put a huge damper on things, it is still great to catch up with a classmate and old friend in any capacity,” Narby said. “I’m also excited for another Navy win!”
“This has been a year unlike any other, but I too am looking forward to being able to catch up with an old friend,” Reisweber added. “I’m excited for the uniforms, every year both sides pull out all the stops. And I’m excited to see Army beat the hell outta Navy!”