For the Binghamton wrestling team, the upcoming season represents a chance to build upon last year’s successful campaign and cement itself as a top program in the nation. After a strong freshman year, one individual on the team, redshirt sophomore Lou DePrez, has the potential to achieve stardom as he looks to become an All-American or national champion this season.

DePrez was the only Bearcat to advance to the second day of the NCAA Championships last March. The then-freshman turned in a 3-2 record and an impressive stint in the consolation rounds after losing to the eventual champion of the 184-pound bracket. However, he said his failure to claim a national championship or All-American title taught him lessons and became motivation during his offseason workouts.

“I didn’t accomplish my goals, as in, becoming a national champion or All-American,” DePrez said. “[Last season’s experience] puts in perspective what I still need to get done this season.”

According to DePrez, he worked on the “small details” of his game that may not seem important but will play a huge role in taking him to the next level. He credits Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff in his detailed approach to training. The Binghamton wrestler also realized he was way too tense and stressed at the NCAA Championships, so he’s learned to stay more relaxed and have fun.

Although there is still plenty of room for improvement, the Hilton, New York native had an outstanding start to his collegiate career. DePrez posted a 33-7 record as a freshman, going an undefeated 11-0 in dual matches and scoring 47 team points.

DePrez came to Binghamton as a three-time New York state champion (2015-17) and was the No. 1 recruit in the nation by InterMat at 182 pounds. However, he has still found ways to improve throughout his time at BU.

“I think I am 10 times the wrestler I was out of high school, but each year I’m working on something different,” DePrez said.

Now, DePrez and the coaching staff must work to ensure his growth continues, starting with this season.

“We just got to make sure we’re training smart throughout the season and that we’re prepared for the end of the year,” Borshoff said. “The sky is the limit for Lou, and I know he’s thinking national championship. That’s really the only way he should be thinking because if you don’t believe it yourself, it’s pretty darn hard to go out there and face another man one on one and beat the defending champion.”

Borshoff added that, when examining his successful history against potential competition this season, DePrez is “right there in the conversation to be a national champion.”

Perhaps the biggest change from last year for DePrez is his role as a leader, especially when it comes to his brothers. DePrez’s two older brothers, Anthony DePrez, ‘19 and Vincent DePrez, ‘19, were his teammates over the past two seasons before graduating. Lou DePrez was able to grow as a wrestler and an athlete by watching, and then matching, his older brothers’ work and intensity in the gym.

“They’re my older brothers, so I’ve always looked up to them,” Lou DePrez said. “They pushed me every day and were always someone to lean on if I needed help.”

Though his older brothers are gone, Lou DePrez’s younger brother, Sam DePrez, is now a freshman for the Bearcats. Lou DePrez’s shift from the youngest to oldest brother on the team has definitely been different, but it is something Lou DePrez enjoys.

“There’s more responsibility because if something happens [to Sam], he’s the baby,” Lou DePrez said. “I like it. I can teach him some stuff I’ve learned.”

With a talented roster and high expectations, Lou DePrez is ready for the season to begin and excited about the team’s potential for success this year.

“I think we have a lot of potential,” he said. “Last year we showed that, and this year we have a better schedule so I think we can take down some of these bigger schools and show that Binghamton means business.”