Over the weekend, the Binghamton wrestling team competed in the long-awaited Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships. BU entered with three wrestlers seeded top five in their weight classes, all looking to secure spots in the upcoming NCAA Championships as well. Overall, Binghamton dropped from their sixth-place finish last year, ending in 11th on Sunday, and will send three Bearcats to nationals.
“I’m really happy that all three of them were able to qualify their spots at the NCAA championships,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “Our program continues to have a presence at the national level. All three of our NCAA qualifiers have the ability to make noise in Tulsa. I was hoping to score some more team points other weights, but at the end of the day the whole purpose of this weekend is to get to the national championship and [redshirt junior Cory Day], [sophomore Brevin Cassella] and [redshirt junior Jacob Nolan] all fight tirelessly to secure their spots.”
Day one of the two-day tournament consisted of the round of 16 and quarterfinals, however, the Bearcats (5-13, 4-5 EIWA) had one competitor in the round of 32, as redshirt senior Anthony Sobotker swiftly took the victory in the 133-pound match, joining his teammates in the next round. Sobotker would go on to lose his round of 16 bout on a technical fall.
In the round of 16, Binghamton had several qualifiers, the first of which was another simple win through the efforts of sophomore Micah Roes — who took the 125-pound bout 6-0. BU’s second advancement to the next round came in the 165-pound match, as Cassella also won 6-0. The final two Bearcats to move on to the quarterfinals came in the higher weight classes, as Nolan and Day won their 184 and heavyweight bouts, respectively. Nolan got a reversal on his opponent to secure a 10-0 victory, and Day achieved a victory on a fall with two and a half minutes left.
In the last eight, Roes took an early exit in a 5-0 decision defeat, yet things looked up after when the 165-pound match came around. Cassella took on an opponent who had previously defeated him in the regular season, getting revenge on the Drexler wrestler by utilizing a late six-point move to win 7-0. In the 184-pound class, Nolan also found victory, albeit at a tighter 4-2 margin. Joining Casella and Nolan in the semis was heavyweight wrestler Day, overcoming his Bucknell opponent 3-2 with an early takedown — narrowly securing his advancement. This win ultimately qualified Day for the NCAA tournament in Tulsa.
First up in the semis was Cassella, who fought a close match against his No. 8 ranked Cornell opponent, holding it to sudden victory. A takedown decision, which was initially challenged by Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff, lost it for the Bearcat and sent Cassella to the consolation semis. Nolan followed him, also pushing his bout to overtime. This time he was able to secure the win and join Day in qualifying for the NCAA tournament with a 3-1 victory. In his consolation match, Cassella joined his fellow semifinalist Bearcats in qualifying for Tulsa as well, giving Binghamton three competitors in the upcoming tournament. Cassella’s win also gave him a spot in the third-place matchup for his class. Binghamton’s only finalist of the day would be Nolan in the 184, as Day left him the last Bearcat standing after losing in the heavyweight semifinals bout.
Cassella would finish fourth overall in the 165-pound class on the day, his opponent securing two points through escapes to win the third-place matchup. In Nolan’s final bout, despite scoring an early point, a series of takedowns would ensure Nolan’s second-place finish in the 184-pound class. After dropping the semifinal consolation bout, Day ended the day in the fifth place heavyweight bout. After going up 1-0 early, a takedown with 52 seconds left gave Day the two points needed to secure a 3-0 victory and fifth place finish.
BU’s qualifying wrestlers will compete in the NCAA Championships on Thursday, March 16 through Saturday, March 18. The bouts will take place all day at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.