Bulls take third in home meet
Twelve wrestling teams assembled in Alumni Arena as the wrestling season kicked off Sunday with The Buffalo Brawl.
Despite key injuries and an inexperienced lineup, the Bulls held their own against some national powerhouses and finished third.
"What I saw was a lot of good," said head coach Jim Beichner. "And I saw some bad, some bad that we need to correct. This team is good. It's a very good team with a lot of talent. I think we were shooting for second place, but third place is pretty productive for our first time out with all these freshmen in the lineup."
The event hosted teams from the Northeast and Midwest.
In the 125-pound bracket, redshirt sophomore Max Soria moved on easily into the semifinals. In his semifinal match, Soria took down Army's Hunter Wood. In the finals, Soria got out to a quick lead and used the momentum to take home the 125-pound championship.
"It feels good," Soria said. "My freshman year, I didn't do so hot, so it feels good to win that finals match."
Top-seeded redshirt senior Mark Lewandowski also did not disappoint, as he made his way through the bracket and into the finals. Though Lewandowski faced a tougher match in the finals - against Johnny Greisheimer of Edinboro - Lewandowski prevailed in the end, winning the match 6-3 and taking home the 165-pound title.
"It feels pretty good," Lewandowski said. "I hadn't won it yet and wrestled the same guy [Greisheimer] five times now. So to go out dominate him in the finals feels good."
Sophomore 174-pounder Jake Waste also performed well for the Bulls. He found the podium with a second-place finish.
"It's nice for the guys to know we can wrestle with anybody," Lewandowski said. "A lot of our younger guys coming in, it's their first time wrestling. It's nice for them to get out and scrap with some of the bigger teams in the country."
Redshirt sophomore Mike Soria (Max's brother), redshirt sophomore Erik Galloway and sophomore Justin Lozano all found the podium as well for Buffalo, finishing third in their respective weight classes.
"As a team, we have to get everyone rolling," Max Soria said. "They have to jump on board and keep their heads up if they didn't have such a good day."
Redshirt senior John-Martin Cannon did not wrestle. He was out due to injury.
"You're talking about the No. 1 seed not scoring points, and he can score up to 15-16 points for your team," Beichner said. "And he's also preventing somebody else from scoring points by wrestling. But no one person is a team. He's a significant guy, somebody we count on to score lots of points and win."
Buffalo took third in the tournament behind Mid-American Conference foe Kent State, which finished second ahead of the Bulls by just three points, and No. 5-ranked Ohio State, which took home first place.
"I think there were some good people here, some good teams," Max Soria said. "We have some things we have to fix. We had a couple guys wrestle hard. We have to get back to the drawing board and fix some things up."
The Bulls will now have a short week to prepare for their next tournament. Buffalo will travel to SUNY Brockport to take part in the Oklahoma Gold Classic on Saturday.
"We start right in with trying to correct errors that we made in the opening tournament," Beichner said. "We are going to take a lot of positives out of this."
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