The Binghamton wrestling team went into its matches against Bucknell and Penn riding high on a three-match win streak. But the Bearcats (8-6, 8-4 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) dropped both contests to fall for the first time since Jan. 22.
Sophomore Steven Bulzomi kicked off BU’s match against Bucknell at 125. Bulzomi started off strong against Bucknell’s freshman Jordan Gessner, and finished the first period up, 6-1. Bulzomi kept Gessner’s points limited throughout the match, until Gessner turned a reversal into a pin 5:32 into the match. The next two matches followed a similar script, and Bucknell led BU, 14-0, after three.
In the fourth match, freshman Parker Kropman got the struggling BU squad on the board at 149. Kropman started the match off with a takedown in the first 15 seconds, and finished the first period ahead, 6-1. The freshman maintained a stronghold throughout the rest of the match, and handed the Bearcats a 19-6 major decision win. Kropman is now 10-3 overall and 9-2 in EIWA duals.
Another notable performance came from junior Steve Schneider, who recorded BU’s only other win against Bucknell. In a low-scoring match against Bucknell’s freshman Garrett Hoffman, Schneider earned his fourth consecutive win with a 4-2 decision.
“[Schneider’s performance] was huge,” said BU head coach Matt Dernlan. “Going into the match, we know we have a guy that is going to lead with his actions every time out there. He’s found a way to get the job done.”
Following Schneider’s win, BU dropped the last two matches at 197 and 285 to give the Bison their 10th win of the season, 33-7.
After a tough loss on Friday, the Bearcats returned to home court on Saturday to host Penn (5-6, 3-5 EIWA). The match proved to be very competitive, as both teams went neck-and-neck and headed into the final match tied at 15. In the final match at 165, Penn’s junior Joe Velliquette took an early lead, pinning BU redshirt freshman Jake Einbinder to secure the win for Penn, 21-15.
“We learned the hard way [Saturday],” Dernlan said, “when you get opportunities, you’ve got to convert. You’re not guaranteed you’re going to get that next opportunity.”
Despite the loss, there were many notable performances for BU, including another individual win for Schneider. On Saturday, Schneider earned a 5-4 decision win, and improved to 11-1 in EIWA matchups.
“He’s a great reference point for a lot of our younger guys,” Dernlan said. “How to prepare, how to compete and being consistent with your approach, no matter what the circumstances.”
Some other notable wins came from redshirt sophomore Connor Calkins (285), redshirt senior Dylan Caruana (141), freshman Audey Ashkar (125) and Bulzomi (125). Even with these five winning efforts, the Bearcats were lacking in some tough moments, and finished the weekend with a loss.
BU is set to return to the mat on Friday against Buffalo. The match is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the West Gym in Vestal, New York.