Coming off its first win of the season against George Mason last weekend, the Binghamton wrestling team will hope to establish a streak when it hosts Princeton and Rider this weekend.
The Bearcats (1-3) picked up their victory during the Journeymen Duals last weekend, rebounding for a 21-14 win after dropping matches against nationally elite programs North Carolina and NC State. Despite the losses, senior 197-pound Cody Reed and junior heavyweight Tyler Deuel put up strong performances for the Bearcats, with Reed taking each of his three matches in a two-point decision and Deuel earning a tech fall and a pin in his pair of wins.
BU’s first opponent, Princeton (2-0), will make its second trip to Binghamton in the past month coming off a sweep of Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) rivals Drexel and Army. The Tigers’ 21-14 and 21-15 wins were secured by sophomore heavyweight Cole Lampman, who took each of his two matches in a one-point decision.
When the team participated in the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open on Nov. 10, they sported five placewinners to the Bearcats’ three in the non-team scoring event. However, in the teams’ meeting last season, the Bearcats walked away with a 23-12 road victory. This season, Princeton also returns the 141-pound Adam Krop, an All-American hopeful who placed third at the Bearcat Open after missing last season due to a torn ACL.
“We knew it would be a challenge coming in,” BU head coach Matt Dernlan said of joining the EIWA. “We’re making gains. We need to make sure we’re not repeating mistakes … but we’ve gotten better each time out.”
On deck for BU is No. 23 Rider (4-1). Though no longer a conference opponent, after the Colonial Athletic Association cut its wrestling program, the Broncs will be the second national top-25 team the Bearcats compete against this season, with Cornell being the first, at No. 6.
Rider’s sole loss of the season was delivered by No. 1 Penn State, 32-8. Two Broncs did oust their opponents, with sophomore 149-pound Curt Delia taking his match, 6-4, in overtime and junior 184-pound Clint Morrison winning by tech fall, 17-2.
“We will have to be competitive [in both matches],” Dernlan said. “Every guy has to have the attitude to win. We have to match these guys.”
In the last meeting between the Broncs and the Bearcats, Rider came out with a 19-15 win. This time, Binghamton’s looking to cool Rider’s hot start and put the brakes on a team that’s been successful on the road.
Though the matchup between these two squads no longer has conference implications like it has in years past, it will give the Bearcats yet another chance to make a name for themselves in the national polls, a name that would improve the team’s standing as it goes to the Midlands Championships at Northwestern University later this month.
BU’s match against Princeton is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, with the match against Rider directly after, at 3 p.m. Both will take place at the West Gym.