After placing second at the Mat Town Open I last weekend, the Binghamton wrestling team traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada and finished 19th at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. In one of BU’s toughest events of the year, two Bearcats made it to the podium.
“It’s not easy to place in that event,” said Binghamton head coach Kyle Borshoff. “There were 136 ranked wrestlers in it so I was glad that we got to compete with some of the best guys in the country.”
The top performers for BU included redshirt senior Cory Day who captured seventh place in the 285-pound weight class and junior Brevin Cassella placed eighth in the 165-pound weight class. On day one, Cassella took on a No.16 ranked Northwestern opponent at 165 pounds in the round of 16. After battling to a 1-1 tie, Cassella defeated his Northwestern opponent in overtime by recording 30 more seconds of riding time.
“They wrestled a lot of very highly ranked opponents and that’s going to help us here and in the rest of the season,” Borshoff said.
In the quarterfinals, Cassella nearly came back from a 3-0 deficit against his No. 3 ranked opponent from Michigan, but was defeated in a 4-2 decision. Cassella ended day one with a 2-1 decision over his No. 31 ranked opponent from Appalachian State.
Meanwhile, Day garnered his fifth pin in his first bout against an opponent from Morgan State. He would ultimately fall to his No. 15 ranked Campbell opponent in a 17-6 major decision. However, Day bounced back in his next bout against his North Carolina opponent where he won while garnering his sixth pin of the season.
Day gave the Bearcats their second win of the season against a ranked opponent after defeating his No. 30 ranked opponent from Rider in an 11-10 decision during the consolation round of 8. After a bout with No. 16 from Oklahoma State ended in a medical forfeit, Day advanced further in the tournament. Both Bearcats finished the first day with three wins under their belt.
“I thought they did a good job,” Borshoff said. “There’s areas that they need to improve on if they want to get on the podium and see championships, but they did a lot of really good things.”
On day two, Day faced a No.17 ranked opponent from Ohio State, who he eventually succumbed to in a 14-3 major decision. However, after a bout against the No. 16 opponent from Cornell ended in a medical forfeit, Day placed seventh overall.
Cassella’s opening bout on day two against his No. 29 opponent from Stanford resulted in a 2-1 loss by decision. After falling to his No. 8 opponent from Oregon State, Cassella would finish the tournament in eighth place.
“[Cassella] and [Day] had a good tournament,” Borshoff said. “There’s some things to improve on but they both got some really nice wins against some really good guys and the rest of our guys got a lot of great experience.”
Nine Bearcats competed in the meet and, ultimately, Binghamton secured 19th place with 30 points. No. 8 Iowa State won the gold with 130.5 points. Out of the 35 teams present at the tournament, BU finished ahead of three nationally ranked teams — No. 18 Cal Poly, No. 19 Air Force and No. 22 Purdue.
“We finished ahead of three nationally ranked teams at the event so that’s nice, but we were also missing two of our best guys,” Borshoff said. “They both would have scored. Had they wrestled, we were likely to finish much higher.”
Binghamton will return to action on Friday, Dec. 22 to compete at the Wilkes Open. First bout is set for 9:30 a.m. at the Marts Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.