Jonathan Flores/Pipe Dream Photographer Redshirt junior Joe Russ went 2-0 on Sunday during the wrestling team’s matches against Columbia and Hofstra.

The Binghamton wrestling team kicked off the semester early, taking down Columbia and Hofstra in two matches this past Sunday. Under the direction of acting head coach Kyle Borshoff, the former assistant coach, the Bearcats were able to record consecutive victories against both the Lions, 20-14, and the Pride, 27-9.

BU’s day began in New York City, where Binghamton (6-4) claimed victory in six of the 10 matches. Redshirt junior Joe Nelson set the pace of the match, claiming the first victory in the 125-pound weight class in over four minutes of ride time in the 16-5 major win. Redshirt junior Joe Russ also put up a notable victory, earning four takedowns in what appeared to be a lost match, to come back for a win against Columbia (2-7) junior JP Ascolese, 8-7. In the 149-pound weight class, redshirt sophomore Frankie Garcia claimed a 3-1 victory against his opponent in a match that was scoreless for the first period.

“Garcia got a great win over Columbia,” Borshoff said. “If there was one match of the week that I would say exceeded expectations, it was when [Garcia] beat his opponent from Columbia. That was a highlight for us.”

After taking the win at Columbia, the squad ventured to Long Island to compete against Hofstra (7-6). The Bearcats were able to capture eight straight matches against the pride, posting a 27-9 victory.

Nelson secured his second victory of the day and the first of the match, versus sophomore Jacob Martin. Teammates redshirt senior Jacob Nicholson, Garcia, Russ, redshirt junior Vincent DePrez and senior Steve Schneider all followed suit, each claiming their second wins of the day as well.

Following the South Beach Duals in late December, the matches over the weekend marked Borshoff’s second and third as acting head wrestling coach. As the team faces new leadership, he asserts that only small changes have been made to the team’s day-to-day activities.

“We’ve made some small changes, our goal hasn’t changed, and the way that we’ve been training is the way that we believe in and that’s how we’re going to have success at the end of the year,” Borshoff said. “So, in general, things haven’t changed drastically, but there have been small changes that we’ve made and a couple of areas we’ve tweaked. But we just wanted to stay comfortable with our training methods as we moved through the season.”

Despite former head coach Matt Dernlan’s resignation, the team’s long-term goal also remains the same.

“Our long-term goal is absolutely to be a national power in wrestling,” Borshoff said. “We’re trying to bring in the best and brightest students in the state and from surrounding states. The talent in the Northeast is top-notch and that’s where we’re recruiting from, and we believe that with the guys we’re recruiting, we can make a push at being a top-20 team, maybe a top-10 team and just continue to work our way up.”

Borshoff also made clear that the contests this weekend marked an important shift in the mentality of the wrestlers.

“The guys are starting to really believe in themselves,” Borshoff said. “In wrestling, confidence is so important and that’s where we’re starting to get better. The guys are starting to really believe and buy into what we’re doing. They’re believing that we can compete with the best guys in the country and I think we’re seeing direct results of that belief when we go out and wrestle.”

The Binghamton wrestling team is set to return to the mats on Jan. 27, facing off against the University of Pennsylvania at 2 p.m. and Drexel University at 7 p.m. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.