The Binghamton wrestling team wrapped up regular season competition on Friday with two dual meets on the road. BU traveled to face American University in its final Eastern Collegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) matchup and took on Maryland later that day. Despite dropping their final match to the Terps, the Bearcats downed the Eagles in a 19-13 victory.
“We wrestled well [against American],” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. ”We won most of the close matches. We didn’t win them all. A lot of times in our sport you end up in tight matches, and we were able to gut them out and come away with wins in a lot of those weights.”
BU (5-13, 4-5 EIWA) got its start early on in the action as sophomore Micah Roes took a victory in the first bout of the day. The sophomore earned a 3-2 decision in the 125-pound match over his Eagle (8-12, 3-5 EIWA) opponent, giving the Bearcats a 3-0 lead. Despite dropping the following 133-pound bout, Binghamton posted victories in two straight to jump out to a 9-3 advantage. Redshirt freshman Nate Lucier and graduate student Michael Zarif earned back-to-back wins in the 141 and 149, respectively. The hosts earned a major decision in the 157-pound match, however, and closed in on the gap, trailing 9-7 heading into intermission.
Borshoff was honored at the intermission of the meet as the BU coach was inducted into the American University’s Stafford H. “Pop” Cassell Hall of Fame on Saturday. Borshoff wrestled for the Eagles and was a two-time All-American during his tenure there.
“The goals are simple, accomplishing them is what’s hard,” Borshoff said. “We have 17 teams in our conference. We have some very good wrestlers in our conference. Everyone knows what it means when you go to the conference championship. Everyone knows what’s on the line and everyone competes a little bit harder than they did during the season.”
Binghamton exited the break and quickly expanded its lead in the meet. The visitors took the next three bouts and held a commanding 19-7 lead heading into the final stretch. Sophomore Brevin Cassella and redshirt junior Sam DePrez picked up the first two victories in the 165 and 174-pound bouts, respectively. The 184-pound matchup followed and redshirt junior Jacob Nolan cleaned up his American opponent with a 13-3 major decision. The victory sealed the meet’s results as the hosts trailed by 12 with just two bouts to go.
“[Nolan] wrestled great,” Borshoff said. “He got back to his top position where he’s effective at scoring. Something that we talk about all the time with him is putting himself into wrestling situations [and] putting himself into positions where he could get turns … When he’s engaged and he’s wrestling, he scores a lot of points, and that’s what he did today.”
The final two grapples saw victories in favor of the hosts, although the meet was out of their reach by then, and BU left with a 19-13 win in its final EIWA matchup. In the meet’s final bout, freshman Charlie Tibbitts made his first career dual start, stepping into the heavyweight match for a resting redshirt junior Cory Day.
“I was happy with how the team wrestled,” Borshoff said. “I thought we had a good team effort. We got pretty far out in the lead there toward the end of the dual, so I was able to get Day some rest and let one of our freshmen get out there and get a little bit of experience.”
As the Bearcats’ regular season came to a close on Friday, they will look ahead to the next time they take to the mat during the EIWA championships. In the previous season, BU placed sixth in the conference championships and sent four athletes to the NCAA championships. Binghamton assistant coach Lou DePrez shined in the team’s 2022 campaign, earning the EIWA individual title at the event.
“The whole point of the conference championships is to get to nationals,” Borshoff said. “The goal is to get guys in the NCAAs, and once you’re there the goal is All-Americans [and] National Champions.”
The EIWA Championships begin on Saturday, March 4 and will conclude the following day. The championship will be held all day at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.