Richards ’19 Named SoCon Wrestler of the Week

wrestlers on mat

Neal Richards ’19, ranked at No. 16 at 174 pounds in the first coaches’ panel of the season, earned the SoCon Wrestler of the Week Award in late January. Photo by Randall K. Wolf Photography.

Neal Richards ’19, VMI red-shirt senior, earned the Southern Conference’s Wrestler of the Week Award for the week of Jan. 29, 2020.

Richards won the title at 174 pounds Saturday at the All-Academy Championships, hosted by Air Force. Richards was 3-0 on the day to repeat as the 174-pound champion, defeating 20th-ranked Spencer Carey of Navy in the finals. Richards pinned his foe from The Citadel in the first round and took down A.J. Aeberli from the Coast Guard 9-3 in the second round.

“Neal is wrestling as good as I’ve ever seen him,” said Jim Gibson, VMI head wrestling coach. “His performance at the All Academy Championship consisted of hard and smart wrestling. If he can stay the course, it should be a very exciting post-season for him.”

Richards ranked at No. 16 at 174 pounds in the first coaches’ panel of the season. He ranks 20th this week by Intermat and Trackwrestling, 18th by the Open Mat and  No. 13 by Wrestlestat. He is 30-6 on the year and has compiled 10 straight wins.

A five-time Southern Conference Wrestler of the Week last season, Richards also was two-time SoCon Wrestler of the Month. He earned the conference’s regular-season Wrestler of the Year and tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler and advanced to NCAA National competition.

Editor’s Note: The article was first published at