In his final season for Binghamton wrestling, Lou DePrez secured Bearcat records and ended his career as the winningest wrestler in program history with 156 career victories and a fifth NCAA tournament appearance. Coming off an injury, DePrez tallied 25 wins on the season, eventually taking home third place at the EIWA Championships before finishing his season in the NCAA quarterfinals. In recognition of his accomplishments on the mat this past season, DePrez has been selected as the Pipe Dream Male Athlete of the Year.

“It’s a great accomplishment,” DePrez said. “There are a lot of great athletes [at Binghamton]. I’ve really had great support that I’ve been able to lean on over the years with the coaching staff and as a team. Ending my career wearing the green and black singlets is something I’ve always wanted to do. There wouldn’t be any other place I’d want to go wrestling-wise than [Binghamton].”

DePrez began the season as an assistant on head coach Kyle Borshoff’s staff as he rehabbed an injury that ended his previous season. He returned to action by securing first place in the 197-pound bracket at the Sheridan Tournament, followed by another first place at the Franklin & Marshall Open. DePrez would go on to win 10 of his 11 dual matches for the season, defeating opponents from EIWA rivals including nationally ranked Cornell and Navy.

“At the end of the day [this season] is not exactly what I wanted goal-wise at the end of the year, falling short with a couple matches,” DePrez said. “I’m a little disappointed with the end of the year result but getting back from a 10-month injury and doing what I did — there’s something to look back at and feel proud of.”

DePrez entered the EIWA tournament as the third seed, collecting wins over opponents from American University and Franklin & Marshall before a matchup with a Cornell opponent in the semifinals. Though he had defeated his Cornell opponent in the regular season, DePrez suffered a 4-1 decision loss that forced him into the consolation bracket. DePrez got back to work, knocking out his opponents from Penn and Columbia to earn third place in the 197-pound bracket.

“My goal was to win it, but I lost a close match to [Cornell opponent] that I beat earlier in the year,” DePrez said. “I was dealing with some injuries, but wrestling back for third was definitely something that I’ll look back and say I’m glad I did. Qualifying for [the NCAA tournament] was the big takeaway from the [EIWA] conference tournament.”

As the sixth seed in the NCAA tournament, DePrez defeated his opponents from Oklahoma State and Minnesota to earn his ninth and 10th career victories at an NCAA event. DePrez then fell to his opponent from South Dakota State before an overtime loss to his Little Rock opponent ended his storied career as a Bearcat.

“I thought I wrestled pretty well, but I gave up a lot of points in my quarterfinal match and didn’t wrestle exactly how I wanted to [in the quarterfinals],” DePrez said. “I’ve seen some success and a bunch of others have seen success, and I think that’s something to be proud of and show other guys coming onto the team or who are interested in [Binghamton] that we can succeed and win important matches.”

For his career, DePrez is the only two-time All-American in Binghamton wrestling history, while also becoming the first three-time EIWA individual champion. He also garnered the Academic Achievement Award from the conference this past season for his work in the classroom. Reflecting on his career, DePrez — whose three brothers also wrestled for Binghamton — described the significance of his time as a Bearcat.

“Over the seven years I’ve been wrestling for [Binghamton] I’ve really tried to improve the team culturally, but also as a coach last year getting the guys to improve on their skill set,” DePrez said. “That was always something I wanted to do when I committed to [Binghamton]. I believe that’s something me and my brothers have done as we’ve all wrestled for [Binghamton]. We’re always on the cusp of top 20 [in the country], or right in the top 25. That wasn’t always the case, so that speaks to what we’ve been able to accomplish and what [Borshoff] has brought to the table.”

With his career on the mat coming to a close this past season, DePrez will return to Binghamton as an assistant coach, looking to continue making a difference within the wrestling program he made a profound impact on during his career.

“Right now, I’m on staff as an assistant coach and just getting ready for the incoming freshman,” DePrez said. “Getting ready for summer training, recruiting and finding guys that are a good fit for our team while getting the guys ready for accomplishing their goals now.”