BU acting head coach Kyle Borshoff sung high praise for the Binghamton wrestling team following an impressive day of performances across the board. Continuing its undefeated start to Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association play, the Bearcats (8-4, 5-0 EIWA) recorded two victories on Saturday in Philadelphia. BU defeated Penn, 19-18, and Drexel, 21-12.
“This was, since I’ve been here, probably the best team effort I’ve seen,” Borshoff said.
The first match of the day was against the Quakers (7-4, 4-2 EIWA) in the Palestra, a historic venue known as the Cathedral of College Basketball. Binghamton was victorious in six out of 10 decisions during the highly contested match.
With Penn holding an 18-16 lead heading into the final decision of the day, it all came down to the 157-pound weight class. Redshirt sophomore Tristan Rifanburg overcame the pressure and won his match 8-4, giving the Bearcats a narrow 19-18 victory over the Quakers.
“We made a lot of mistakes and left a lot of points on the board,” Borshoff said. “But at the end of the day, we got the job done, and we were able to make some tweaks between our two matches today.”
After its victory, the team headed to the nearby Daskalakis Athletic Center to wrestle against the Dragons (8-3, 3-3 EIWA). The Bearcats took seven of the 10 decisions.
Binghamton entered the final 285-pound weight class decision with an 18-12 advantage, and Drexel needed a win by fall in order to tie the match. The battle between the two heavyweights was competitive, taking two overtimes and two tiebreakers. Ultimately, redshirt sophomore Sean Dee emerged victorious, giving Binghamton a 21-12 win over a talented EIWA opponent and closing out the day with a second consecutive victory.
Borshoff was impressed by redshirt junior Anthony Lombardo in the 174-pound weight class. He recorded a 14-2 decision over Penn senior Quinton Hiles and a 6-1 win over No. 30 redshirt senior Austin Rose of Drexel.
“Lombardo, at 174 pounds, picked up an amazing decision against Pennsylvania, and then he beat a nationally ranked opponent against Drexel, which was the first time in his career that he’s beaten a nationally ranked opponent,” Borshoff said. “He made a huge leap today by beating a ranked guy.”
Borshoff said his wrestlers performing well as a team has led to the string of recent victories.
“I think right now it’s just about our team coming together and really starting to believe in each other,” Borshoff said. “In wrestling, so much of it is about believing you’re better than the person you’re setting on the mat against. At the beginning of the match, both guys go out thinking they’re going to win. Our guys have proven right now that they want it a little bit more — you can tell they’re really fighting for each other, and they really want to make their name. These guys are excited about putting Binghamton on the map.”
The Bearcats will attempt to remain perfect in EIWA play at home on Friday, Feb. 2 during a matchup against American University. The start of the match is set for 7 p.m. from the West Gym in Vestal, New York.