Following a disappointing, albeit expected, loss to No. 1 Penn State and a rough showing at the Black Knight Invitational last weekend, the Binghamton wrestling team bounced back to improve its record from 0-1 to 3-1 at the Indiana Duals this past Sunday. With only seven individual match losses, the Bearcats secured wins over Indianapolis University, Indiana University and Eastern Michigan.
In the initial matchup against Indianapolis (0-3), redshirt senior Jacob Nicholson, redshirt sophomore Tristan Rifanburg and redshirt junior Vincent DePrez all secured pins against their opponents and claimed victory definitively. Redshirt juniors Mark Tracy and Anthony Lombardo picked up major decisions to win their matches as well. Their victories helped propel the Bearcats to a 35-7 win over the Greyhounds to start the day.
In the following dual against Indiana (3-1), Lombardo picked up a pin early in the second period against the nation’s No. 25 wrestler in the 174-pound weight class, redshirt sophomore Gabe Koontz. Redshirt junior Connor Calkins picked up a tech fall in the 285-pound weight class to win the match and give the Bearcats a 29-6 win to improve to 2-0 on the day.
In the third and final dual, the Bearcats faced EMU (3-3). Rifanburg picked up his second pin of the day, earning his third victory, and redshirt sophomore Frankie Garcia picked up a major decision to help boost the team to a 28-13 win against the Eagles.
The Bearcats had many solid outings on the day. DePrez secured a pin just 2:35 into his first match of the day against Indianapolis redshirt junior J.D. Waters. He also claimed victory in his other two bouts in the 165-pound weight class, finishing 3-0 on the day.
“He was 3-0 on the day, plus the Indiana guy he wrestled was ranked top-20 in the country,” said BU head coach Matt Dernlan. “Any time you can get a dominant win over a guy that’s ranked top-20 in the country, you know you’re doing a lot of things right.”
Senior Steve Schneider also had a very solid day, winning all three of his matches in the 184-pound weight class. Additionally, Nicholson succeeded in finishing 3-0 in the 133-pound weight class events.
“At 133, Nicholson kind of started hitting his stride today,” Dernlan said. “There were glimpses of it in the past couple of weeks, but today was the first time he was putting complete efforts.”
Lombardo also had a strong showing, earning himself a pin and a major decision to lead the way to his three wins in the 174-pound weight class.
“[Lombardo] was another outstanding performance today,” Dernlan said.
Rifanburg had two pins on the day but lost his other match in sudden victory. Overall, Binghamton had a notable afternoon picking up victories in every weight class except 141 pounds.
“When you win 23 of 30 matches across three dual meets, there’s a lot of good outcomes,” Dernlan said.
Up next for the Bearcats is the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, and the competition they face there may require a bit of preparation.
“The Las Vegas Invitational is hands down the toughest tournament outside the NCAA Tournament,” Dernlan said.
The tournament will take place all day on both Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2 from the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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