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Lighter weights to face challenge in wrestling’s bout with Buffalo

After taking just two matches in its loss to Hofstra last week, the Binghamton wrestling team heads to Buffalo today hoping to see some different results.

Although the team has won just four dual matches this season, the Bearcats have seen a lot of consistent, individual success in the higher weight classes. Redshirt senior 197-pound Cody Reed and junior heavyweight Tyler Deuel have performed at a high level all season. Reed has come out on top in 22 of 30 matches while Deuel has dominated in 24 of 29.

Junior 125-pound David White, freshman 133-pound Nick Tighe and sophomore 174-pound Jack McKeever also have seen a great deal of success this season. BU’s going to need to rely on them, especially the lighter weights, to perform against a Buffalo team (3-14, 0-6 MAC) that carries most of its weight in the bottom five.

“Buffalo is talented in their lower weight, but we can’t concern ourselves with strengths and weakness’…” BU head coach Matt Dernlan wrote in an email. “Collectively we need to focus on the fight and will from top to bottom on this team… If we sell out, and give max effort at every weight class, we will be pleased with our result.”

The Bulls will enter the matchup coming off of their self-proclaimed “most dominant performance of the season” after stomping out Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 27-12. The win snapped a seven-match skid. The Bulls recorded three victories by fall during the match, a season high.

Redshirt junior 125-pound Max Soria earned his first win by fall of the season 1:56 into the opening period. Redshirt senior 133-pound Justin Farmer kept up the momentum with a 5-1 decision, extending Buffalo’s lead to 9-0. Senior 141-pound Nick Flannery, third on the team in victories (15), followed suit with a fall of his own at 3:53. The Bulls kept the pressure on for the first five matches, building what turned out to be an insuperable 24-0 lead.

“Buffalo is a tough, gritty team,” Dernlan said. “They are well-coached and will look to execute a disciplined game plan every match. They won’t give up any easy points … We will need to fight for every opportunity and capitalize on our opportunities.”

However, of the five upper-weight classes, Buffalo only managed one more win, with a 5-2 decision from sophomore 184-pound Tony Lock. Lock leads the team with 17 wins on the season, and has picked up three of his last four duals.

After facing Buffalo, Binghamton is slated for just two more contests, both of which will be at home, before the EIWA championship on March 8-9. Dernlan said that the matches are certainly viewed with the horizon in mind — every contest gets the team closer to the national tournament.

“Every competition is a peaking point to the end game,” Dernlan said. “And that is no different come Friday night … We want to beat Buffalo, but also want to compete with the mentality that will breed success in the postseason.”

First dual is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Alumni Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.