Over the weekend, the Binghamton wrestling team made the trip to North Dakota and Minnesota for two dual meets. Despite big wins in both meets from redshirt junior Jacob Nolan and graduate student Lou DePrez to keep it close, the Bearcats were unable to overcome No. 18 North Dakota State nor No. 11 Minnesota, with the meets resulting in 18-13 and 19-15 losses, respectively.
“Every dual meet we’ve lost by one match, and the matches that we’ve lost, we’ve had some one-point losses,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “So at the end of the day we wrestled the [11th] ranked team in the country, we wrestled the 18th ranked team in the country and we were a one-point loss away from winning those duals. So we have a lot to build on, you know, it’s frustrating to lose.”
BU (0-3) first matched up with NDSU (2-0) on Friday in a meet that started off slowly for the Bearcats. Binghamton dropped six of its first seven bouts. A late comeback push from the visitors saw the Bearcats claw back with three straight wins. The late push was not enough for BU as the meet ended in an 18-13 defeat. Redshirt freshman Nate Lucier grabbed a win in his second career dual meet, winning 7-5 after a takedown in the third period in the 141-pound weight class.
The late pressure, however, was helped on by wins from Binghamton’s competitors in the heavier weight classes. Nolan, at 184 pounds, started off his winning weekend with a takedown in the third period to defeat his opponent, ranked No. 29 in the nation, 3-1. L. DePrez and redshirt junior Cory Day also secured their second wins of the season in the 197-pound and heavyweight classes respectively. L. DePrez had three takedowns in his victory. Graduate student Michael Zarif was also among the winners against the Bison, being the only Bearcat in the meet to pick up bonus points in his 13-4 major decision win in the 149-pound class.
“Jacob Nolan had a great weekend,” Borshoff said. “He beat the guys ranked 10th in the country and 29th in the country. [L.] DePrez beat the 28th and 29th ranked guys in the country. Day had two huge wins at heavyweight, beating starters from Minnesota and North Dakota. Those three guys had a great weekend. Nate Lucier got his first dual win for us today against Minnesota. Zarif [was] wrestling hard, got a nice win against North Dakota. So overall, I think we’re wrestling hard, but we’ve lost three dual meets.”
In their second meet of the weekend, the Bearcats once again clawed their way back from an early deficit after going down 6-0 against Minnesota (1-0). With two bouts remaining, however, Binghamton found itself with a 15-12 lead.
The last two bouts were taken by the Gophers, with the home team wrapping up a 19-15 victory in the end. Lucier was a standout performer, winning the first dual match of his career with a 9-7 comeback win after being down 5-2 in the final period. Day and DePrez also won once again, rounding out unbeaten weekends for both wrestlers and improving their records to 3-0 across the board.
Nolan was also once again among the winners, this time taking down No. 10 Isiah Salazar. As Nolan maintained a 4-2 lead with nearly a minute left in the second period, Salazar brought it back to 4-4. Nolan gained a 5-4 lead early in the third period, holding his opponent off for the remaining time to remain undefeated and grab an upset win.
“We’ve always known that [Nolan] is an incredible wrestler, and he’s starting to show it to everyone else,” Borshoff said. “So really happy with how he’s been doing and looking forward to next weekend.”
Despite having to make the long journey home, still winless, Binghamton has kept every matchup tight so far this year. Both meets this weekend saw the Bearcats bring it to a close finish after trailing early. In addition, all of BU’s meets this year so far have been decided by six points or less. Nolan came into the weekend ranked 22nd in the nation with DePrez at seventh within their respective weight classes.
“It’s not what I’m going to do, it’s what the team’s going to do,” Borshoff said. “Someone’s got to figure it out … I don’t have any expectations. We need guys to step up and win matches. Need guys that have been losing to step up and win matches.”
Binghamton will continue its season on Sunday, Nov. 27 against Buffalo. First bout is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Alumni Arena in Buffalo, New York.