The Binghamton wrestling team capped off an impressive regular season with a road victory over Buffalo on Thursday, Feb. 15. The Bearcats (12-5, 6-1 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) defeated the Bulls 22-14 in a nonconference matchup at the Alumni Arena in Amherst, New York.
“I was most happy with us coming in here, to Buffalo, and overturning a result from the past two years,” said BU acting head coach Kyle Borshoff. “They had beaten us the last two seasons, and we came away with a win tonight. Overall, it was a great team effort.”
Binghamton was crushed 31-9 by Buffalo (5-11, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) last season, losing eight matches to two. The Bearcats fell 24-12 the year before. This year, the tables turned, and BU came away with a strong victory, beating Buffalo in six of the 10 matches. Thursday’s defeat marked Buffalo’s sixth straight loss in dual play.
The match began with an 8-5 decision in favor of BU redshirt junior Joe Nelson of the 125-pound weight class. He defeated No. 20 redshirt junior Kyle Akins of Buffalo.
“Nelson came out right away and got a win over a nationally ranked opponent, so great performance on his part,” Borshoff said. “And the rest of the guys that came away with wins put in workman-like performances. They went out and did what they had to do.”
The Bearcats won five straight matches from the 149-pound weight class to the 184-pound weight class, with continued notable performances by their middleweights.
The match was noteworthy for senior Steven Schneider, who participated in his final career dual at Binghamton. In Thursday’s dual, he defeated redshirt junior Brett Perry, 8-6. Last year, while ranked No. 15 in the country, Schneider was upset by Perry, 7-6. Schneider finished his senior season with a 15-6 record and ranked No. 13 in the 184-pound weight class. For his career, Schneider was 95-41 in dual matches during his time as a Bearcat.
“I do want to mention [Schneider], just because it was his last career dual for this program, and he’s just done a fantastic job all year,” Borshoff said. “He overturned a result from our dual meet last year, he lost to the guy he beat tonight, so he finishes his career with a dual win.”
Binghamton finished the season with 12 victories in dual play, its most since the 2011-12 season. With the regular season over, the Bearcats now look ahead toward postseason play. BU will be competing in the EIWA Tournament in early March, and then the NCAA Championships a few weeks later. Borshoff’s focus now shifts to preparing for the most important wrestling events of the year.
“We’re going to take a few days off here, I want to make sure everyone gets rested up, relaxed, recovered,” Borshoff said. “They’re going to get some downtime here, and then we’re going to pick it up with our training and make sure we’re peaking for the conference tournament and rolling that into nationals.”
Last season, two wrestlers, Schneider and Dylan Caruana, ‘17, who is now the assistant coach, advanced from the EIWA Championships to the NCAA Championships. After one of the team’s best seasons in recent years, Borshoff is optimistic that his team will have similar success this season in postseason play.
“These dual performances have prepared us, we’ve wrestled a lot of really tough opponents and we’re winning the close matches now,” Borshoff said. “And that’s what’s going to help us in the conference tournament.”
The Bearcats will begin postseason play at the EIWA Championships on Saturday, Mar. 3 and Sunday, Mar. 4. This year, the championship will take place at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.