Coming off an impressive 34-7 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) victory against Sacred Heart University, the Binghamton wrestlers were looking to extend their winning streak to seven against Drexel and Hofstra in back-to-back dual meets in the West Gym. The Bearcats (7-3, 7-2 EIWA) were able to pull off pins, falls and decisions in both meets in order to have a successful day in their own territory.
The Dragons (4-8, 1-4 EIWA) came in taking an early lead, yet still dropped the close conference dual in the end, leaving the Bearcats victorious. Although the Bearcats captured the initial bout at 141 pounds, Drexel started to have an advantage until major decisions were achieved at the 174-pound class by redshirt senior Vincent DePrez against Drexel sophomore Trevor Elfvin and at 184 pounds by No. 9-ranked redshirt freshman Lou DePrez against Drexel freshman Anthony Walters, evening the score. The Bearcats fell at the 197-pound bracket and lost a 2-0 decision at 285, but they found the fight to rally for nine team points during the last two bouts to ultimately triumph.
This comeback was made possible by redshirt sophomore Audey Ashkar against Drexel freshman Antonio Mininno at 125 pounds. The two were competing and tied 2-2 into third period until Ashkar took the reins and secured an escape, takedown and eventually another late takedown for an 8-5 decision. Finally, the Bearcats, needing just one pin to win, had 133-pound redshirt freshman Zack Trampe face Drexel redshirt sophomore Alex Salas. Trampe put on a phenomenal performance, earning four takedowns in the first period while also earning a pin at 4:32 in the second period. He went on to propel the team to a last-second victory over Drexel, 21-20.
“That was the dual, that pin was the dual,” said BU head coach Kyle Borshoff. “He got that fall and got the win for the team against Drexel. Bonus points are something we talk about all the time. It’s something we’ve been getting better at, but we need to continue working on it. That first dual down five points last match of the night, only way we win the dual is by getting a fall. [Trampe] went out there and beat the guy up for a little while, wore him out and chased him and got the pin. So, bonus points are huge. I was happy to see us implementing it.”
The Bearcats saw even more success in their fight against Hofstra (6-11, 2-5 EIWA) immediately following the Drexel meet. Ashkar was able to get a fall over freshman Dylan Ryder of Hofstra. He was able to chase the cradle, get his hands locked, hold on and get the fall, which was a highlighting moment of the match. L. DePrez was also able to get a fall over freshman Trey Rogers of Hofstra, the second impressive fall of this meet. In addition, junior Bearcat Anthony Sparacio was able to win by forfeit.
Perhaps the most atypical bout of the dual meet came at the 165-pound class. Facing some holes in their lineup, the Bearcats put forth redshirt freshman Matt Swanson, a 149-pounder, to take on Hofstra redshirt sophomore Ricky Stamm. Wrestling at 16 pounds over his weight class to avoid this forfeit, he fell to Stamm, but demonstrated the strong, gritty mentality Borshoff has tried to instill in his squad.
“We got a couple guys not in the lineup, so we might have a lineup hole, but at the same time I got guys who are willing to fill that hole and fight for the team,” Borshoff said. “I want to give a big shoutout to Matt Swanson who started the season at 141, moved up to 149 to fill a hole earlier in the season, which is what he weighed in at today and we threw him out there at 165 so we didn’t have to forfeit a match. Seven in a row, we’re looking really good and we found a way to win, which isn’t always about being the better guy but digging deeper, which is what we did tonight.”
The Bearcats will wrestle on their home turf again on Friday, Feb. 15 for Senior Night when they face Bucknell in their final home contest of the regular season. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m. from the West Gym in Vestal, New York.