The Binghamton wrestling team opened its 2017-18 regular season this past weekend with the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open in the Events Center. The Bearcats hosted wrestlers from 18 different teams, including Ivy League competition from schools such as Harvard, Princeton and Brown.
Faced with stiff competition, the Binghamton squad fared well. In the 125-pound weight class, sophomore Audey Ashkar tied for fifth place with redshirt junior teammate Joe Nelson.
In the 141-pound weight class, freshman Dane Heberlein took fourth place, falling to Penn State freshman Nick Lee on a tech fall in the third-place match. Fellow Bearcat redshirt junior Joe Russ took victory in the fifth-place match over Ohio freshman Alec Hagan and claimed the title for Binghamton.
Sophomore Parker Kropman took sixth place in the 149-pound weight class in a tie with Cornell sophomore Chris Schoenherr. Last year, in his debut season as a Bearcat, Kropman finished with a 19-12 overall record.
Redshirt junior Vincent DePrez, managed a second-place finish in the 165-pound weight class, falling in the championship match to junior Jon Jay Chavez of Cornell. He was joined at the competition for the first time by his brother, freshman Lou DePrez, who made his highly anticipated collegiate debut at the invitational. He also recorded a second-place finish in the 184-pound weight class.
Redshirt junior Anthony Lombardo took fifth place in the 174-pound weight class, overpowering Ohio redshirt freshman Joseph Terry. Fellow classmate redshirt junior Mark Tracy also took fifth place in the 197-pound weight class, taking down Army sophomore Alex Hopkins. BU head coach Matt Dernlan seemed optimistic about Tracy’s potential for the upcoming season in a preseason interview.
“Tracy has been a very consistent performer for us,” Dernlan said, as per bubearcats.com. “Our goal this year is to help get him ready to make a run at postseason and take the next step to get to Cleveland in March.”
Rounding out Binghamton’s top placers was redshirt junior Connor Calkins’ second-place finish in the 285-pound weight class. Calkins was unable to overcome senior Garrett Ryan of Columbia, who won by major decision in the championship round.
“Connor is looking to make that next step as well, not just placing at the [Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association] Tournament but punching a ticket to NCAAs,” Derlan said.
The Bearcats came away from the invitational with 606 match points, only trailing behind Cornell, who racked up 745 points. In terms of winning percentages, Binghamton recorded a 73-46 record on the day, managing a 61.34 winning percentage and beating out tough competition such as Harvard and Columbia in terms of this statistic.
In a preseason interview, Dernlan had a positive outlook on the rest of the season, and with results such as these in the first tournament, he has good reason to be.
“If we can keep a consistent effort and attitude, great things can happen,” Dernlan said. “I’ve been in this too long and I know how difficult it is to produce All-Americans and national champions. So, I’m not going to project what we can do. I believe in what we can do, and I know in my heart and my mind what we’re capable of. Now the challenge is getting these guys excited to go after this goal and set new standards for this program.”
With the season opener under their belt, the Bearcats look ahead to their home match against Penn State on Friday night. Competition is set to begin at 7 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.