A disappointing home loss to American on Feb. 2 has lit a fire under the Binghamton wrestling team, as the team has now won three duals in a row. BU took down Northern Illinois and Bloomsburg University in a couple of nonconference matches this weekend to improve its record to 11-5 overall while maintaining its stellar 6-1 record in Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association play.
Binghamton headed into its match against Northern Illinois (3-9, 1-5 Mid-American Conference) on Friday riding the momentum from its recent 38-6 victory over Sacred Heart. The match marked Binghamton’s senior night, in which three wrestlers were honored as BU dominated NIU, 35-0.
“Being at home helps our preparation, not having to worry about being on the road in an unfamiliar school,” said BU acting head coach Kyle Borshoff. “The guys are comfortable here and we had a pretty good turnout which is always exciting for the guys on the team.”
Redshirt junior Joe Nelson started off the bout at the 125-pound weight class against NIU sophomore Brock Hudkins, who had advanced to the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships last year. Nelson pulled out a 3-0 win to get the ball rolling for Binghamton in its emphatic victory.
At the 184-pound weight class, senior Steve Schneider had about as perfect a senior night as possible. Winning his individual match in convincing fashion, 3-0, Schneider extended his career win total to 100. Schneider is ranked nationally at No. 13 on The Open Mat, and the excitement in the West Gym was palpable following his achievement.
“He got a really good win against a guy that wrestles a lot of close matches,” Borshoff said. “The crowd was pumped for that, he got an ovation and I think there was a lot of energy in the room.”
Binghamton’s shutout was most threatened when heavyweight redshirt sophomore Sean Dee hit the mat to cap off the night. Down 6-2 heading into the third period, BU chose top and Dee came away with a pin to complete the shutout.
“Taking a 6-2 deficit and coming away with a pin to close the dual meet out was unbelievable,” Borshoff said.
The NIU match started the weekend off strong and the Bearcats continued their success with a 21-12 win over Bloomsburg (5-9, 2-4 Eastern Wrestling League) on Sunday. Nelson and redshirt senior Jacob Nicholson each fell by a score of 3-0 at the 125-pound and 133-pound weight classes respectively, but Binghamton rebounded.
Despite the slow start, BU’s middleweights carried the team, winning every weight class from 141 to 184. In the final home match of his career, Schneider came out on top, 5-0, at the 184-pound weight class on a tech fall.
“To be honest I wish I would have gotten the pin, but that’s just my personality — always looking to get a little more,” Schneider said.
Binghamton lost at the 197-pound and 285-pound weight classes as well, but the strong performances from the middleweights eliminated any question of defeat.
“We like to win every match, but we’ve been able to count on our middleweight guys basically every time we step on the mat,” Borshoff said. “Those guys are anchoring the team down right now and that’s a really important thing for us.”
While not as overwhelming as the NIU matchup, Binghamton still capped off its weekend victoriously as the team prepares for the NCAA Wrestling Championships. With only one outing remaining before the EIWA Championships and NCAA Championships, Borshoff is confident in his team.
“We don’t need to change many things, there’s always an area or two you could tweak but we’re wrestling really hard right now,” Borshoff said. “We’re fighting for victories in close matches and those are things you need to be doing in the postseason to come away with wins.”
Up next for the Bearcats is an away matchup with the Buffalo. The match will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 from the Alumni Arena in Buffalo, New York.