On Saturday afternoon, the Binghamton wrestling team traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to face Harvard while still looking for its first win of 2023. Six of 10 competing Bearcats won their bouts to secure BU’s second Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) win of the season, overcoming the Crimson 19-13.

“I thought we were tough today,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “I think we had a good team effort across the board. We had some guys step up and win matches, so I think if we continue to have that same effort and get a little bit better, we’re going to be in a good position come the end of February. I always talk about being ready for the EIWA [championships], and today was a step in the right direction.”

After falling at the first hurdle in the 125-pound class, the Bearcats (3-9, 2-2 EIWA) found their first win of the meet after sophomore Ivan Garcia bested his Harvard (0-2, 0-1 EIWA) opponent by an 8-1 decision in the 133-pound bout. Graduate student Michael Zarif also found a win early on for Binghamton in the 149-pound weight class, scoring a takedown in the process. The graduate student accumulated 1:22 of riding time in the bout to earn an 8-3 decision. Despite this, the hosts kept pace with BU, taking the 141 and 157-pound matches for themselves.

“Really good effort across the board,” Borshoff said. “Even at 149 [pounds] Zarif got a nice win. Ivan Garcia is obviously at [133 pounds] as well. And those upper-weight guys did a great job.”

Going into the 165-pound matchup, the visitors trailed the Crimson 10-6. Sophomore Brevin Cassella’s 3-2 decision victory, however, was able to shift the momentum of the meet in BU’s favor. Then at 174 pounds, redshirt junior Sam DePrez gave Binghamton its first lead of the meet with a 10-2 major decision victory. DePrez’s win gave the Bearcats a 13-10 advantage and not long after, fellow redshirt junior Jacob Nolan extended that lead by another three points with a 7-2 decision. Both Bearcats secured takedowns in their respective bouts.

Binghamton’s victory, however, was sealed by sophomore Dimitri Gamkrelidze, who battled at 197 pounds against his Harvard opponent. Tied at 1-1 after regulation, the Bearcat secured a hard-fought win in overtime for BU.

“Getting that lead back going into 197 [pounds], we were at a point where if [Gamkrelidze] won his match it kind of closed out the duel and put us in a position where we couldn’t lose,” Borshoff said. “It was really encouraging to watch him go out there and gut out a win in overtime. He wrestled 167 pounds for us a couple weeks ago, so to be wrestling 197 right now and getting wins is big for our team.”

The meet was rounded out by the heavyweight bout, as No. 18 ranked redshirt junior Cory Day fought at 285 pounds against a fellow ranked opponent. Although a Harvard decision victory closed out the day, BU had already secured the match victory, leaving the final score at 19-13.

“It’s always nice to come off a win,” Borshoff said. “We have a short turnaround — we have Hofstra coming to Binghamton on Thursday this week. We need to keep momentum rolling, but every match that’s wrestled is independent of every other result. It’s great to get the win, but we’ve got to stay focused on continuing to improve in certain areas. Hofstra has got a good team so we’re going to have to compete hard, and we’re going to have to gut through a lot of matches and find a way to win that duel too.”

Binghamton will return home for its next dual meet as they face Hofstra University on Thursday, Jan. 26. First bout is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.