Photo provided by Binghamton athletics Junior 149-pound Joe Bonaldi earned a pair of victories on Saturday.

After facing two of the country’s top wrestling programs in North Carolina and NC State at the Journeymen/ASICS Northeast Collegiate Duals on Saturday and dropping those matches, 22-14 and 23-9, respectively, the Binghamton wrestling team bested George Mason, 21-14, to wrap up its competition on a high note at Hudson Valley Community College.

BU head coach Matt Dernlan pulled some positives from the Bearcats’ first two contests, which, though not successful overall, did see some key wins from individuals. Senior 197-pound Cody Reed won both of his matches against those opponents and his final one against George Mason, distinguishing him as the only Bearcat to go 3-0 on the day. He took each of his matches in a decision by two points.

“I think the move back to [1]97, after being at 184 last year, is a much more natural weight class for [Reed],” Dernlan said. “He’s feeling a lot more comfortable, and the results are showing it.”

More broadly than individual successes, one of the greatest benefits of facing these leading programs is the experience that a young team like BU can gain from them, and the growth it incites.

“It’s a great opportunity when you get those chances to see some of the top programs in the country, to see how you’re going to match up and compete,” Dernlan said, “and we had some very positive performances. We just need to grow on those. That’s what we’re looking to do early on in the season, is to grow and make gains.”

Aside from Reed, several other individuals measured well against some of the country’s best. Junior heavyweight Tyler Deuel followed up his title-winning performance last week at the 2014 New York State Intercollegiate Championship with two wins, one on a technical fall against North Carolina in just 2:48 and the other on a pin against George Mason.

“Even in his defeat yesterday against the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the country from NC State [sophomore Nick Gwiazdowski], [Deuel] really showed that he’s capable and ready to battle against the best guys in the country,” Dernlan said. “When he’s going out there, he’s not just looking to win, he’s looking to dominate. And he did that with a tech fall and a pin in his two wins yesterday. Everything that he’s doing, every time he steps out there, he’s growing in his confidence and growing in his belief that he can be one of the best heavyweights in the country.”

Initially, however, things seemed ill-fated for Binghamton in its matchup against George Mason. The team surrendered four of the first six matches, putting it behind 14-6 at the get-go. But four consecutive wins from the heavier weight classes earned the Bearcats their sole victory of the duals, capped off by Deuel’s pin at the 2:58 mark — his team-high fourth pin of the season.

“I think [the Patriots are] similar to us; they’ve got a very young team, their head coach has been there two years just like me, so, they’re very much in the same process as we are,” Dernlan said. “Getting a win against a team that’s going through the same growing levels as we are, to get the outcome and get the win definitely set the day on a positive note.”

Junior 125-pound David White, redshirt freshman 174-pound Jack McKeever, junior 184-pound Caleb Wallace and junior 149-pound Joe Bonaldi also completed a 2-1 record on the day.

Next up on Binghamton’s schedule are bouts with Princeton and Rider on Dec. 7. The matchups will be held at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, at the West Gym.