The Binghamton wrestling team opened its season with a dual meet against No. 2 NC State and an Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) meet against LIU on Friday at the Armbar at the Armory in Albany, New York. After an opening 35-9 loss to the Wildcats, the Bearcats bounced back with a 31-7 win over the Sharks. Junior Brevin Cassella collected two wins in his 165-pound duals to begin his season, while redshirt senior Cory Day closed out both of his matches with wins by pin.
“It was a good start for us,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “Our guys wrestled hard, [and] they competed well. It’s a tough task to go up against the number two-ranked team in the country right out of the gate, so I was proud of the way our guys went out and fought in some of those matches. Then to bounce back and have to win a dual immediately after was good to see. It shows fight, and it’s something we can build off of.”
The Bearcats (1-1) started their action on Friday against NC State (7-0), falling in eight of their 10 matchups against the Wolfpack. In the 133-pound matchup, junior Micah Roes kept things close, going into overtime against his opponent before falling in a close decision. Cassella gave BU its first win against the Wolfpack with a win-by decision in the 165-pound matchup. Redshirt senior Jacob Nolan took a close loss by decision in his matchup before Day bounced back with a closing win by pin for Binghamton in his 285-pound dual.
“Across the board we gave effort,” Borshoff said. “Coming right out of the gate with our first couple guys taking the fight to NC State. It was encouraging to see [Roes] have a tight overtime bout with the guy ranked sixth in the country, [at 133 pounds], he competed really well. The matches didn’t go our way, but it’s definitely something we can build off of.”
BU got back to work quickly after the opening loss, taking eight of its 10 duals against LIU (2-2) to earn its first win of the season. Freshman Carson Wagner opened things up with a win by technical fall in his 125-pound dual. Roes and Nolan bounced back from their close defeats against NC State opponents, both earning wins by decision in their respective duals. Cassella earned a win by technical fall for his second victory Friday night, while Day closed out the Bearcat’s 31-7 victory with his second pin of the evening.
“You go out, you lose a match, then you’re asked to go win a match immediately afterward, and most of our guys did that against LIU,” Borshoff said. “In our sport at this level, you don’t see a ton of true freshmen starting for their teams. [Wagner] going out and wrestling one of the best guys in the country, then bouncing back and dominating his opponent from LIU as a true freshman at his first event is a big deal.”
Cassella and Day led the way for the Bearcats, starting their seasons off with two wins. Graduate student Michael Zarif won his dual at 149 pounds in a close decision over LIU, while sophomore Carter Baer and junior Dimitri Gamkrelidze collected wins over LIU in their 157 and 174-pound matchups, respectively.
“[Cassella’s] a soldier — we count on [him] to win,” Borshoff said. “The guys that he wrestled tried to do entirely different things, and [Cassella] was able to deal with both of their strategies effectively. [Day] wrestled great, took on a very good wrestler from NC State and went out and got it done. And then [Zarif] got a win over a guy he lost to last year, which is always something we like to see against LIU. [Roes] was able to get that match back for a really nice win.”
Early season action for the Bearcats continued on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Black Knight Invite tournament. First bout was at 10 a.m. Sunday at Christl Arena in West Point, New York.