On Sunday, the Binghamton wrestling team competed in the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open at home in the Events Center. The individual tournament saw competitors from 17 teams across the East Coast show up to the Vestal facility. BU was tied for the most first-place finishes with two.
“[Tournaments are] really important for development,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “I thought we wrestled hard today. I thought we wrestled tough in a lot of positions. I was happy with the overall team effort.”
The tournament was the first competition of the season for redshirt senior Lou DePrez. The eighth-place finisher at last year’s NCAA championships came out strong, winning the 197-pound weight class. DePrez won his first bout by a decision of 6-1 and followed that up with a 17-2 technical fall. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, he grabbed two 6-1 decisions propelling him to the finals. There, he came out victorious with a 3-2 decision giving the Bearcats their first gold position of the day. This was DePrez’s first time competing in the 197-pound weight class.
“It’s nice to see that he made the adjustments to that weight class well and got a couple of nice wins today,” Borshoff said. “And I only expect for him to continue getting better and widening the margins as the season goes on as he continues to get a little bit bigger and stronger and more used to the weight class.”
DePrez was not the only Binghamton wrestler who took first, as sophomore Brevin Cassella was victorious in the 165-pound weight class. After a 1-2 record last week, Cassella bounced back early with a 3-2 decision in round one. After a major decision in the round of 16 and a 3-0 decision in the quarters, the sophomore took another major decision to get to the finals. Cassella added yet another major decision win there to grab his first career tournament win.
“In his tournament today, you saw glimpses of the guy [Cassella] can be and that’s what is exciting,” Borshoff said. “The guy that wrestled today, he’s gonna compete with all the best guys in the country. He’s gonna do really, really well. That’s the [Cassella] we need on the mat.”
The Bearcats had one second-place finisher with redshirt senior Nick Lombard in his first-ever season with the Bearcats. In the 149-pound weight class, Lombard grabbed four decision wins in as many rounds, compiling a point tally of 23-10. In the finals, he was unable to take first, losing in a 4-1 decision to Rutger’s true freshman Anthony White and compiling a 4-1 record.
“[Lombard has] got certain positions that he feels really strongly in,” Borshoff said. “I think we just have to make a couple of adjustments with him to change that from a second-place to a first-place finish. Overall, I thought [Lombard] had a really good effort, he wrestles really hard.”
Three other BU competitors reached the podium with third-place finishes. Juniors Sam DePrez, Jacob Nolan and Christian Gannone each won their bronze bouts. Nolan and Gannone posted 4-1 records while DePrez recorded three wins and one loss. Overall, 21 Binghamton wrestlers took the mat at the Events Center.
Sophomore Micah Roes earned a round one bye in the 125-pound weight class. In the round of 16, he was able to grab a 2-0 fall. However, in the quarterfinals, the sophomore decided to medically forfeit as a precaution. With a 1-1 record, Roes placed fifth.
“[In Roes’] quarterfinals match where I think he had 48 seconds of riding time, and then he let the guy go,” Borshoff said. “We knew that guy was very good on top. If [Roes] had ridden him that one-minute mark, we probably would have been chosen neutral in the third instead of putting [Roes] down. But without that point, we can’t just count on him scoring a takedown.”
The individual tournament does not affect the team’s overall record. Last week at the Rutgers Scarlet Knight Quad, BU posted a 1-2 record. With only two weekends of competition under their belt, Borshoff wants the team to work on technical aspects, and he says that comes with reps.
“There are just specific things that we need to work on from bottom position especially,” Borshoff said. “We need to make some minor tweaks on our top position, a better job with our match management and match management’s the one where we need reps.”
The team will hit the mats next on Sunday, Nov. 21 against Stanford. First bout is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.