This week, four Binghamton wrestlers traveled to Detroit, Michigan to compete in the 2022 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Redshirt senior Lou DePrez was the only athlete to advance to the quarterfinals, but each Bearcat earned at least one win at the tournament. This is the first time in Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff’s tenure that three Bearcats have advanced to day two.

“Overall, we’re seeing progress,” Borshoff said. “I think that we’d still like to finish higher, continue getting better. As a team, I don’t think we reached our goal so that’s something that should drive us forward in the future.”

Day one began as 165-pound sophomore Brevin Cassella competed in his first NCAA Championship bout. The sophomore was seeded 25th and fell in a 6-4 decision to Harvard sophomore 2022 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) champion Philip Conigliaro. Cassella returned in the consolation bracket to face Cleveland State redshirt sophomore Riley Smucker. Earlier this year, Cassella fell to Smucker, but on Thursday, he flipped the script and came away with a 7-0 decision to earn his first-ever win at the NCAA Championships. This win also advanced him to day two.

“Definitely seen progress out of [Cassella], just gotta continue growing,” Borshoff said. “[Cassella’s] got a lot of talent, looking forward to what he can do the next three years.”

Next on the mat was junior Jacob Nolan competing in the 174-pound weight class. Nolan lost to the No. 3 wrestler by a 12-4 major decision. The Bearcat bounced back, however, taking his second bout by a 3-1 decision. In the consolation bracket, Nolan then took on the No. 14 competitor out of Cornell, sophomore Chris Foca. This is the third time the two have been slotted to face off with one another. Nolan defeated Foca in the first two bouts by way of a medical forfeit and decision. However, the Bearcat was pinned in the rubber match, ending his season.

“[Nolan] also ended up in a tough spot in the bracket,” Borshoff said. “No. 3 right off the bat from Michigan. I think we were a bit overwhelmed in that bout, then came away with a nice win over his opponent from Maryland. It’s just strides of the program, going to the NCAA tournament and winning matches, and beating Big 10 guys to do it. That just proves you belong there, proves that he’s in that conversation among the best guys in the country.”

In the 197-pound class, DePrez was seeded eighth and went 2-0 on day one. In his first bout, he beat the No. 25 wrestler in an 8-2 decision. Next, he faced off with the No. 9 athlete and came away with a 5-4 decision where his opponent earned a takedown in the waning seconds, advancing DePrez to the quarterfinals on day two.

“[DePrez] just gave up a takedown to avoid any dangerous positions knowing that he was going to win the bout,” Borshoff said. “It was actually a really smart way for him to finish that.”

To cap off day one, heavyweight redshirt senior Joe Doyle went 1-1. The 285-pounder was seeded at 20th and lost his first bout in a 10-2 major decision. Doyle rebounded and grabbed a 6-0 decision to advance in the consolation bracket.

“I love the way [Doyle] wrestles,” Borshoff said. “A lot of coaches asked me about [Doyle] and obviously he turned some heads within the arena.”

In session three, Cassella started the action for Binghamton. The sophomore only competed in one bout, losing in a 2-0 decision and concluding his first-ever competition at the NCAA Championships.

Next, DePrez took on the top-seeded athlete. The Bearcat opened with a takedown, but ultimately fell in a 4-3 decision. DePrez’s opponent was awarded a takedown late in the bout after an official review and went on to win the tournament. Doyle was the lone Bearcat to win during the third session as he dominated his opponent from Illinois with a 14-4 major decision.

“It was a frustrating match, especially with the controversial overturning of a non-takedown for his opponent that really gave the match away,” Borshoff said. “Nobody in the country could watch that match and say that [DePrez] is not right there in the conversation to be a national champion.”

In session four, DePrez needed a win to earn All-American honors. He competed against the 14th-seeded competitor, and the Bearcat led 2-1 late in the bout. However, a final reversal ended DePrez’s run at the tournament.

Doyle concluded his season as he lost in a 7-4 decision and remains undecided as to whether or not he will return next season. DePrez, however, is set to return to the mats for BU next year.

“The program is getting better, but no one on the team or myself is satisfied with where we finished,” Borshoff said. “We look forward to getting better in the future.”