The Binghamton wrestling team will send two wrestlers to the NCAA Championship after placing five at the 2018 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships last weekend.
“Overall, I think we wrestled well,” said BU head coach Kyle Borshoff. “There were some matches I would have liked to have won. There were some matches that we did win that people were counting as upsets, so there were a lot of ups and downs, but overall as a team performance I think we wrestled well and competed hard.”
Two Bearcats locked up bids to the NCAA Tournament during the event, including senior Steven Schneider. Now ranked No. 11 nationally in the 184-pound weight class, Schneider will represent BU at nationals to finish out his illustrious tenure as a Binghamton wrestler.
“It’s [Schneider’s] third trip to the NCAA Tournament,” Borshoff said. “He went into the tournament seeded third, and he ended up finishing third, so he had some good wins, beat a lot of top conference guys, and it’s helping him prepare for nationals.”
In addition to Schneider, redshirt sophomore Frankie Garcia of the 149-pound weight class will be making his first career appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
“Frankie did an unbelievable job,” Borshoff said. “He was the talk of the tournament for a while. People were coming up to me and mentioning him. He just did an unbelievable job.”
While Schneider was widely expected make his way to the NCAA Tournament once again, Garcia, now ranked No. 22 nationally, certainly surprised many by upsetting the field in order to punch his ticket to nationals.
“Going in seeded tenth, he was certainly an underdog,” Borshoff said. “And he definitely earned his way to the NCAA Tournament by knocking off the seventh seed, then the two seed, and then the three seed. There’s no one out there that can say he doesn’t deserve to be at the tournament because he, maybe more than anyone in the country, just earned his spot there this past weekend.”
In total, Binghamton placed five wrestlers, including Schneider and Garcia. Redshirt junior Joe Nelson placed fifth in the 125-pound weight class, redshirt senior Jake Nicholson placed sixth in the 133-pound weight class and redshirt sophomore Tristan Rifanburg took eighth place in the 157-pound class.
“I was really impressed with the guys that were placing,” Borshoff said. “Joe Nelson did a great job, competing hard, getting on the podium. Jake Nicholson, in his last appearance at the conference tournament, was able to get himself on the podium for the first time and be all-conference. And Tristan Rifanburg, coming in and placing again. Tristan was unseeded and came into the tournament and earned his place on the podium again. I think all of those guys fought hard and wrestled well.”
The Bearcats will finish their season with Schneider and Garcia’s appearances at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship. The tournament will be held March 15-17 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.