Following a strong regular season, the red-hot Binghamton wrestling team will participate in the 2019 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships. The Bearcats (10-3, 8-2 EIWA) enter the conference championships riding a program-record 10-game win streak, which the team hopes will translate into success this weekend.
“I’m excited to see what all 10 of our guys can bring to the mat this weekend,” said BU head coach Kyle Borshoff. “Hopefully, [we] can punch a few tickets to Pittsburgh.”
Binghamton’s wrestlers will compete within their respective weight classes for a spot in the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in two weeks. The EIWA automatically qualifies 47 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, which is third-most in the nation. Eight total Bearcats were ranked in the tournament pre-seeds of their respective brackets, with redshirt freshman Lou DePrez seeded highest of all his teammates, placed in the No. 2 spot in the 184-pound class.
“We are absolutely one of the premier conferences,” Borshoff said. “For fans that are coming to watch, what you’re going to see when we hit the quarterfinals and semifinals and finals is a number of nationally-ranked guys … they’ll be out there laying on the line. This is a big event for us, and we’ve prepared for it.”
Leading the Bearcats into the EIWA Championships are DePrez and junior Anthony Sparacio. Sparacio and DePrez own the two longest active-win streaks on the team, with spells of 12 and 11 bouts unbeaten, respectively, and DePrez finishing the dual season with a perfect record.
“All the duals that we’ve been wrestling, I try to score as many bonus points as I possibly can for the team,” DePrez said. “Now, coming to the postseason, it’s just me trying to win and get to the finals and go to nationals, so that’s my mentality.”
The season began on a rough note for the team, as it struggled against some of the top wrestling programs in the country. The Bearcats lost their first three duals of the season, including two lopsided defeats at the hands of Cornell and Army, which are both currently ranked in the top 25. It didn’t take long for the team to turn its season around, however. Once the Bearcats got into the heart of their EIWA schedule, they just kept rolling, continuously adding to a win streak that still stands unblemished at 10.
Binghamton has had the benefit of a two-week break between its final regular-season dual and the conference championships, which it used to rest up and prepare. More importantly, the Bearcats have an advantage that none of the other participating programs will have, as the EIWA Championships will be hosted by Binghamton University for the first time ever. The team will wrestle in a familiar environment and won’t have to deal with the added stresses of travel.
“I’ve never had it on my home turf, either as an athlete or coach,” Borshoff said. “I’m excited for it. This is the first time for me, first time for Binghamton University — these guys are extraordinarily lucky that we get to have this event here.”
The EIWA Championships will be taking place over a two-day period at the Events Center in Vestal, New York. The first rounds and quarterfinals will take place on Friday, March 8, while the semifinals and finals will take place the next day. The doors will open Friday at 10 a.m.