At the Events Center on Sunday, the Binghamton wrestling team opened its season by hosting the sixth-annual Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open. With 31 university and club teams represented at the event, the Bearcats found success in the Division I tournament, featuring strong showings from both new and returning wrestlers.
“We came out and competed very strongly,” BU head coach Matt Dernlan said. “A lot of very positive performances and placements from freshmen. And any time you have freshmen breaking into the lineup and competing at a high level in a D-I tournament and placing, I think that’s a big takeaway.”
BU’s biggest takeaway of the day would come by way of its biggest starter, senior Tyler Deuel. Wrestling in the 285-pound bracket, the heavyweight dominated on his way to the title. He registered wins by fall, technical fall and major decision before taking the championship via a 4-1 decision over Old Dominion’s Jake Henderson. The championship at home was especially sweet for Deuel, who saw his junior season end at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament last year.
“You got to give Tyler a lot of credit,” Dernlan said. “He’s earned that. From the disappointment that he experienced at the EIWA tournament last year and the work he’s put in from March until this point, I was really proud of his effort.”
Also impressing Dernlan this weekend was junior Jack McKeever. The 184-pound junior took third in his bracket’s consolation round on Sunday, as did freshman Vincent DePrez, wrestling at 157. Redshirt freshman Thierno Diallo and freshman Steve Schneider captured fourth in each of their brackets to round out the top-five finishers for the Bearcats.
For a Binghamton team that only placed three in last year’s top five, none of whom secured a title, Dernlan was impressed by the overall progress of his team.
“There was a laundry list of takeaways on the positive side that we’re going to build towards in the coming weeks,” Dernlan said. “There were no big, glaring deficiencies that stuck out. It’s a testament to our guys buying into our philosophy and our system, and now they’ve taken ownership of that.”
With the Kaloust Open in the books, Binghamton is set to begin its dual season this Saturday against Arizona State at the Journeymen Tussle. Seeing the Sun Devils for the second time in program history, with the first ending in a victory in 2011, the Bearcats are ready to face off against their Pac-12 opponent. But before they make the trip to the Albany area for the tournament, BU will take a closer look back at its home performance this weekend.
“We got a couple good working days ahead of us … Although I said we didn’t have any glaring deficiencies, we’ve got plenty to work on,” Dernlan said. “And we got a pretty short work week to get prepared for Arizona State, so we really need to make some adjustments, make some corrections and apply those things on Saturday.”
Binghamton is set to square off against Arizona State at 2 p.m. at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park.