Katherine Scott/Pipe Dream Photographer Redshirt junior Joe Russ posted a 3-5 overall record in the 133-pound weight class for the Bearcats last season as a starter.

Following a season in which the Binghamton wrestling team set multiple program records in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championship matches, BU looks to continue its success as the team progresses into its 2017-18 season. With an incoming class of seven new freshmen, including Lou DePrez and Dane Heberlein, it looks as though the Bearcats will continue to improve.

DePrez, a six-year letter winner at Hilton High School, was ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the country by FloWrestling. He was a New York state champion from 2015 to 2017 and finished his high school career with a 263-25 record. Heberlein also boasted impressive stats in his high school career as a New York state wrestling champion in 2014, 2016 and 2017, in addition to being a two-time all-star in football and three-time all-star in baseball.

Additionally, six Bearcats were ranked in the EIWA preseason rankings. Junior Steven Bulzomi ranks fifth at the 125-pound weight class, and sophomore Parker Kropman came in sixth for the 149-pound weight class. Redshirt juniors Anthony Lombardo and Mark Tracy both placed seventh in the 174-pound and 197-pound weight classes, respectively. Fellow redshirt junior Connor Calkins is ranked fifth at 285-pound weight class and senior Steve Schneider came in second for the 184-pound weight class.

Kropman not only ranks sixth for the 149-pound weight class, but he also competed in the 2017 Maccabiah World Games over the summer, in which he took home a silver medal in the 65-kg freestyle and a bronze in the 71-kg Greco-Roman competition.

The Bearcats got a preview of this year’s competition at the Princeton Open this past Saturday. DePrez started his collegiate career off well with a second-place showing, losing only to the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 184 pounds, Ohio State junior Myles Martin.

“Lou put up a great fight against one of the best wrestlers in the country,” said BU head coach Matt Dernlan for bubearcats.com.

Several other freshmen also placed well at Princeton. Freshmen Joe Doyle, Dane Heberlein and Aidan Monteverdi all finished in the top six in their respective weight classes.

“It can be hard for the young guys to adjust at first,” Dernlan said. “But one thing I can say is that we didn’t get beat on talent today. There were times when we got out executed, but that’s all part of the process. The guys put in outstanding effort and their performances on the mat showed it. It’s a great positive thing to have in our pockets, but now we have to focus on this week. We have to go back to work and be ready for Sunday.”

Up next for the Bearcats will be the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open, which will take place on Nov. 12. It will be an all-day event at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.