The edge: Buffalo vs Binghamton
Previewing the wrestling team’s final home dual
The wrestling team’s season is coming to a close and it will host its final home dual of the year.
The Bulls (5-10, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) will face off with the Binghamton Bearcats (11-5, 6-1 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) Thursday at 7 p.m. in their final match in Alumni Arena this season. Buffalo is coming off a 19-16 loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies (3-9, 1-5 MAC), while the Bearcats beat the Huskies 35-0 this past Friday.
Here is The Spectrum’s breakdown of the matchup.
Redshirt sophomore Kyle Akins enters Thursday on a four-match winning streak. He is also tied for the most dual wins of the season for the Bulls with 10 wins. Binghamton’s redshirt junior Joe Nelson is 2-2 in his last four. But he also scored a victory when the Bearcats faced Penn State to open their season.
Akins has been one of Buffalo’s most consistent wrestlers and he should continue on Thursday.
This match should be all Buffalo. The Bearcats have used three different wrestlers at this weight class in their last four matches. Redshirt junior Bryan Lantry starts all but two matches at this weight for the Bulls.
He has been dealing with an injured shoulder and it seemed to slow him down against the Huskies but expect him to pick up the fall Thursday for his second in three matches.
The middle six weight classes have been an inconsistent area for the Bulls all season. Redshirt senior Jason Estevez is .500 in dual meets this season. He is coming off a decisive victory against the Huskies where he secured an 11-4 victory, but he was 1-3 heading into the match with the Huskies.
Redshirt senior Jacob Nicholson has been having a good season with the Bearcats with a 9-3 record. He has two pins, a major decision and a technical fall. Estevez should put up a good fight but I expect Nicholson to pull out the decision.
Freshman Nick Palumbo has started the last eight matches for the Bulls at 149 with a 3-5 record since taking over at the weight. The freshman showed his heart last match as he fought to come back from an 8-1 deficit but fell just short.
Redshirt sophomore Frankie Garcia has been rolling for the Bearcats and is 4-1 in his last five. He recorded victories in Binghamton’s matchups with nationally ranked teams, Minnesota and Drexel.
Palumbo has been growing, but Garcia will likely pull out the win in this match.
This weight starts the run of the three most inconsistent weights for the Bulls. Buffalo is 2-13 in the season at 157, including losing the last five. Redshirt freshman Eric Fasnacht will be starting Thursday and is 0-5 in duals this season. Redshirt sophomore Tristan Rifanburg is 6-6 for the Bearcats in duals which isn’t great, but he should be able to beat Fasnacht.
The Bulls have a 2-13 record with 11 straight losses. Freshman Noah Grover has started the last 10 of them. Redshirt junior Vincent DePrez is 9-3 in duals for the year with four major decisions and two pins. DePrez takes this one.
At 174, Buffalo is 3-12 on the year with five straight losses. Sophomore Christian Dietrich started his first dual of the year against the Huskies where he fell 3-0.
The Bearcats have redshirt junior Anthony Lombardo who is 9-3, with four major decisions, two technical falls and a pin. Dietrich’s sample size in duals is too small so the pick has to be Lombardo.
Things start to get better for Buffalo with redshirt junior Brett Perry starting all but one match this season. He’s 7-7 on the year but only 1-5 in the last six. He will also be facing the highest ranked wrestler on either team. Senior Steven Schneider is 7-1 in duals on the year and should be able to lock this one up for the Bearcats.
Buffalo should be able to pick up a win in this matchup. Senior Joe Ariola is 7-6 in duals this year and won his last two by a combined 30-9, both major decision wins.
The Bearcats’ redshirt freshman Alex Melikian has been wrestling up from 184 and is 2-2 in his last four. Ariola is big for 197 and he should be able to outpower Melikian and pick up the win.
This has been the most consistent weight class for Buffalo. Redshirt junior Jake Gunning missed four matches due to injury this year, with his replacement losing three of them. Gunning is 10-1 in duals and his only loss came in controversial fashion to the seventh ranked heavyweight in the nation during Buffalo’s second meet of the year.
The Bulls have redshirt freshman Sean Dee who is 2-10 on the year in duals. Gunning should lock this one up.
Dual winner: Binghamton.
Daniel Petruccelli is a sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com.