Ending a successful regular season on a 10-match winning streak, the Binghamton wrestling team collected victories over Cleveland State and Kent State on Saturday. The Bearcats (10-3, 8-2 EIWA) earned their 10th win in a row, an impressive feat after beginning the season 0-3. The Vikings (4-12) and the Golden Flashes (7-15) both led early in their respective duals, but BU ultimately came out on top with scores of 22-13 and 22-15, respectively. The team showed off the mindset it has been working on since early in the year.
“The first part of the season we were just trying to feel it out, what our skill sets were, where we were strong, where we were deficient, the way we were thinking, how we were approaching our matches,” said BU head coach Kyle Borshoff. “Getting the guys thinking the right way and truly believing everyone we competed against we could beat, once we got our wins, it got a bit easier. The guys really started to believe.”
At Cleveland State, the Bearcats fell in their first three bouts, and the Vikings got out to an early 9-0 advantage. However, redshirt senior Vincent DePrez claimed a decisive 18-3 victory in the 174-pound weight class. He was followed by his brother, redshirt freshman Lou DePrez, who downed his 184-pound bout opponent to bring the score to within one, at 9-8. Lou DePrez finished the regular season with a flawless 11-0 record. Despite losing the next bout, BU rattled off four straight victories, crowned with junior Anthony Sparacio’s 9-5 decision over senior Sam Matzek in the final bout.
“Winning in itself is a skill, and the more you do it the easier it gets,” Borshoff said. “The one thing I’m really happy about is not only did we get the 10 straight wins, but we did it without some of the starters in our lineup. I was really proud of the effort.”
The team traveled to nearby Kent State for its second dual of the day. Against the Golden Flashes, Binghamton played spoiler on Kent State’s senior night. After dropping two of their first three bouts, the Bearcats took four straight victories coming from all three DePrez brothers and redshirt freshman Joe Doyle. Sparacio again wrestled last, defeating junior Cory Simpson for his 12th straight win, bringing his record on the season to 12-1.
“Sparacio’s done a great job in his duals, but so have a bunch of the other guys,” Borshoff said. “No matter who we’re wrestling we should be there hanging with them.”
Following a strong finish to the regular season, the Bearcats will look to carry their momentum into the EIWA Championships, hosted at the Events Center in two weeks. The team will battle against some of the top programs in the country, but if their regular season success is any indication, the Bearcats should be able to compete.
“The top four teams in the conference are all top-20 programs in the country, one of them being top-10 in Cornell,” Borshoff said. “It’ll take beating Cornell and Lehigh, one of the teams that have won the EIWA title for the past 16, 17 years. Definitely, quite the mountain to climb. One step at a time.”
Ideally, for the team, its home-field advantage will play a factor at the conference championship, as the Bearcats face very high-quality competition.
“You really just need to show up for two days and wrestle our best, regardless of how we’ve done this season so far,” Borshoff said.
The EIWA Championships will take place on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.