In its first weekend back from winter break, the Binghamton wrestling team hosted a pair of conference matches. After winning three of their last four matches, the Bearcats (5-4, 5-2 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) won their first match of the weekend over Drexel before dropping a tight contest to Army.
The Bearcats faced Drexel (8-5, 4-3 EIWA) on Friday night for the first time since last season. Although the Bearcats dropped three straight, they were able to keep their composure. Similar to last season’s match against Drexel, BU won six of its final seven matches, taking down the Dragons, 22-12.
With a 2-0 decision in the fourth match, redshirt senior Dylan Caruana gave the Bearcats the momentum swing they needed, and his teammates soon followed with a series of match victories to provide BU with an edge heading into the closing matchups. A key win came from junior Steve Schneider, who secured a 10-3 match win with four takedowns in the 184-pound weight class.
Schneider is currently ranked 11th in the first NCAA coaches’ poll. Another crucial victory for BU came from redshirt sophomore Mark Tracy, who secured the final win of the night for BU with a win over freshman Joshua Murphy, who is currently ranked No. 33 at 197 by NCAA coaches.
Following its well-earned victory Friday night, BU faced a stacked Army team Sunday afternoon. Coming into Sunday, Army (6-3, 4-1 EIWA) had been on a four-game winning streak and showed no signs of slowing down. The Bearcats fell to an early 5-0 deficit when redshirt freshman Ian Lupole fell with a technical fall against Army sophomore Austin Harry.
Army maintained a strong hand throughout most weight classes, jumping out to an early 22-4 lead. However, Tracy came out strong and took a decision over Army sophomore Rocco Caywood. With his win, Tracy brought the Bearcats to a 22-8 deficit coming into the final two matchups.
Redshirt sophomore Connor Calkins followed in Tracy’s footsteps, and secured a win this time around to narrow the gap to 22-11. Sophomore Steven Bulzomi also secured a win at 125, but it wasn’t enough to offset the previous damage, as BU lost the match 22-14.
“The big win today was Mark Tracy,” said BU head coach Matt Dernlan. “Mark Tracy and heavyweight Connor Calkins. [They faced] two guys that beat us a year ago, and we turned those results around today.”
Despite Sunday’s loss, Dernlan was not discouraged by his wrestlers’ performances.
“You gotta give it to Army,” Dernlan said. “They took the fight to us, really executed, and sometimes when you get beat, you’ve got to tip your hat.”
The Bearcats are set to face Brown on Friday. The first match is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Providence, Rhode Island.