After garnering its first win of the season just a week earlier, the Binghamton wrestling team dropped a pair of home matches to Princeton and Rider on Saturday.
Princeton (3-0), Binghamton’s first rival of the day, entered the West Gym as the underdogs. The two programs had met 10 times previously, with Princeton coming up empty each time. Just last season the Tigers fell, 23-13, to the Bearcats (1-5). But on Saturday, Princeton returned with a vengeance, taking nine of 10 bouts for a 27-5 win.
“We’re a completely different team than we were a year ago,” BU head coach Matt Dernlan said. “We had three starters out today. That’s just the reality of it. Three starters and a bunch of freshmen in here that are trying to find their way. And [Princeton is] a good team. They’re strapping hard, they’re off to a good start … they’re undefeated on the season.”
Only junior heavyweight Tyler Deuel found success in his Princeton matchup, which he dominated. He earned an impressive 17-1 first-period technical fall to account for all of Binghamton’s five points. He was also the only Bearcat to win each of his matches, having taken his second bout in an 11-7 decision. Deuel’s success has been consistent this season. He’s currently 12-4 overall, owns the 2014 New York State Intercollegiate Championship’s heavyweight title and leads the team with four pins.
“What that is is two years’ worth of just all-in commitment,” Dernlan said. “And he’s made so much progress and such strides in the two years that I’ve been here, just because he’s been all-in, right from day one when I got here. He’s starting to reap the fruits of his labor, and he’s starting to get confidence in his efforts now.”
Despite the large margin of victory, Princeton’s win didn’t come easily. Senior 197-pound Cody Reed and redshirt freshman 174-pound Jack McKeever suffered close losses, with each falling by just a one-point decision, 3-2, in their respective matches. Redshirt freshman 141-pound Dylan Caruana took on Princeton’s only ranked wrestler in No. 18 Adam Krop, and his match was also a one-point decision, 4-3.
Just 30 minutes later, the Bearcats faced off against the No. 22 team in the country. Rider (5-1), a team whose only loss came at the hands of No. 1 Penn State, took away a dominant 29-6 win over Binghamton.
Statistically, the Bearcats saw more success here than they did earlier in the day, with both Deuel and redshirt junior 184-pound Caleb Wallace taking their matches in decisions of four and three points, respectively. Aside from that, two of Binghamton’s wrestlers narrowly dropped closely contested matches after going into overtime, including junior 125-pound David White (2-1) and Keever (3-1).
“Our efforts are there. If you go back to it, I counted up maybe 10 or 12 one-point matches. So the effort’s there. We’re in the fight. We’re in the mix,” Dernlan said. “Now we have to learn how to finish, how to execute. So we need to combine our effort and our execution. Once we do that, I think we’re going to start seeing some success.”
Rider found its most dominant success with senior 165-pound Ramon Santiago, ranked No. 13. He posted a 15-0 tech fall in 4:14 against Binghamton sophomore Colton Perry.
Next up for Binghamton is Northwestern’s two-day Midlands Championships, scheduled for Dec. 29 and 30. Matches are set to begin at 10 a.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.