After placing sixth at the Black Knight Invite, the Binghamton wrestling team traveled to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania to compete in the Mat-Town Open I tournament on Sunday, placing second out of 15 teams. BU scored 82.5 points at the tournament, second behind in-state rivals Cornell. Sophomore Carter Baer earned a victory in the 157-pound bracket, while freshman Carson Wagner and junior Dimitri Gamkrelidze earned second-place finishes in their respective weight classes.
“We had a bunch of guys wrestle really well,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “That’s the whole reason we go to these open events, to get a lot of good matchups. We had three guys in the finals, one champ and a bunch of other guy’s place. I think it was a step in the right direction.”
The top performer for BU [1-1, 1-0 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA)] was Baer, who started his run through the 157-pound bracket with two shutout victories, followed by a win over his opponent from Cornell in the semi-final. Baer would finish his day with a pin in the finals matchup to earn a first-place finish in the 157-pound bracket.
“[Baer] did a great job,” Borshoff said. “He wrestled a handful of Cornell guys, and he’ll get a number of chances to wrestle some more of those guys as the season goes on. He’s a tough guy to wrestle. He’s strong, powerful and explosive. I think we saw a lot of that today.”
Wagner earned a second-place finish after earning three individual victories in the 125-pound bracket en route to his finals appearance. Gamkrelidze also earned three individual victories, making his way through the 174-pound bracket before falling in his finals matchup 8-3.
“The guy [Wagner] beat from Penn State has been a world-class wrestler for a long time,” Borshoff said. “It was impressive to see [Wagner] come away with that win in overtime, and was a really nice win for him to get into the finals. [Gamkrelidze] did a great job. Every guy he wrestled was from Cornell. It was nice to see him go out there, be on the offensive and score a lot of points.”
Sophomore Charlie Tibbitts earned a third-place finish in the 285-pound bracket, taking an individual win in the champions bracket over his opponent from Cornell. After falling to his opponent from Lock Haven, Tibbitts bounced back to earn two individual victories in the consolation bracket, including a 9-1 win in the third-place matchup by way of fall.
“That was the best I’ve ever seen [Tibbitts] wrestle,” Borshoff said. “The guy he wrestled in the semi-finals from Lock Haven is a very good wrestler who’s been around a few years. [Tibbitts] wore the guy out. The match today was very close. The guy defaulted out of the finals because of how much [Tibbitts] took out of him. Was really happy for him — it’s the best he’s wrestled since he’s been here.”
The open tournament also saw the Bearcats earn a victory in the 141-pound third-place contest, with redshirt sophomore Nathan Lucier earning a 7-3 decision over junior Ivan Garcia in a matchup between BU teammates.
“[Lucier] dropped a close 9-8 match in the semi-finals to a very good wrestler, but I was glad to see him and [Garcia] get a win on the backside to put themselves in the third-place match,” Borshoff said. “They wrestle all the time in the room. They both did some good things and a lot of stuff to build off of.”
The Bearcat’s strong placings continued throughout, as freshman Ryan Hartung earned a fourth-place finish in the 133-pound bracket after reaching the third-place matchup finals. Sophomore Will Ebert also earned a fourth-place finish in his respective 174-pound bracket after his appearance in the third-place matchup to add to BU’s strong showing.
“We brought a lot of our young guys today,” Borshoff said. “It was exciting to watch our younger generation compete. It was good to see. I think we competed well. Everyone that wrestled went out, and they were attacking and aggressive. I’m looking forward to Las Vegas. It’s the best in-season tournament of the year.”
Next up for the Bearcats is the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational which will run from Friday, Dec. 1 to Saturday, Dec. 2. First bout is set for a time to be decided at the Westgate Paradise Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.