Shot from a Cannon
Impressive veteran, wrestling team return for 2012-13 season
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Last season, the wrestling team had only one senior in its lineup. With nine freshmen on board and many veterans battling injuries and redshirt eligibility, the squad learned on the job.
Now, one year later, they’re back. And they’re hungry. The Bulls, who finished in fifth in the Mid-American Conference, are ready to compete with a more experienced lineup.
Senior John Martin-Cannon, who redshirted last year –meaning he could compete in open tournaments but not team play –, is returning this season as arguably the team’s best wrestler. Cannon was ranked second in the nation among redshirt wrestlers in the 174-pound weight class last season, according toopenmat.com. He posted a record of 21-4.
Cannon enters this season ranked No. 1 in the MAC preseason rankings and will look to become a member of the 100-win club at Buffalo. He is currently at 72. However, he won’t be participating as the team opens play in the UB Invite this weekend, due to injury.
“John Martin is one of best wrestlers and one of our best leaders,” said head coach Jim Beichner. “We expect his recovery to be 100 percent. He probably won’t compete for the first two weekends.”
Redshirt junior Andrew Schutt, who is already gaining national attention, will provide help this season. He is ranked No. 2 in MAC in his weight class of 141 pounds.
Schutt will replace the lone graduated senior, Kevin Smith, in the Bulls’ lineup. Smith finished as one of the Bulls’ most decorated wrestlers of all time with 121 wins.
Schutt’s quickness and athleticism will provide the Bulls with strength at a position that has previously been most viable to their success.
“He’s really worked hard and he’s at the weight class that we think he can get on the stand at the end of the year as an All-American,” Beichner said. “You can see how hard he’s worked by looking at him. He’s an athlete; he’s lean; he’s real tough. It’s not an accident that he looks like that. He looks like that because he trains [really] hard.”
Like Cannon, senior Mark Lewandowski is approaching the 100-win milestone, which would help strengthen his already-impressive résumé. Last season, he led the Bulls with 33 overall wins and 21 two-point near falls, and he earned his second NCAA Tournament berth.
Lewandoski’s highlight moment came last season when he defeated Ohio’s Miles Chapman 15-0 at the Virginia Duals.
“He’s as good as anybody else in the country and he can compete with anybody in the country,” Beichner said. “This year, he is starting off at 165 [pounds]. He started off at 157 last season. We believe he is bigger and stronger and better prepared for 165.” The Bulls had a tough time in the 197-pound weight class last season.
Sophomore Justin Heiserman, who was a true freshman last season, provided glimpses of success last season, but he is moving up a weight class to heavyweight. Redshirt sophomore Angelo Malvestuto, a transfer from Virginia Tech, will look to add explosiveness to the 197-pound slot.
“It’s been a real struggle,” Beichner said. “We were looking for a difference maker, and we believe Angelo is that difference maker.”
Malvestuto is not the only transfer on the Bulls’ roster who’s looking to make an impact.
Redshirt junior Justin Farmer was slated as the starter last season at the 133- pound weight class, but he will have to out battle redshirt sophomore Erik Galloway and junior Sean Walton.
Galloway, who transferred from Pittsburgh, will have a fair chance to prove his talent.
“We don’t know who the starter will be,” Beichner said. “This weekend will determine a lot. [Galloway] is … extremely talented. We will see how he fairs this weekend.”
Sophomore Max Soria and freshman Tony Lock aim to provide the Bulls with more consistency this season.
Last season, Soria qualified for the National Championships and finished with an overall record of 21-17 and a dual-meet record of 9-5. As for the freshman Lock, the 184-pound prospect will look to make the jump to the next level.
Lock’s 51-0 record last year as a senior in high school helped propel him to a New York State title at the 182-pound weight class.
“He is extremely talented and finds ways to win,” Beichner said. “He goes out there sometimes and may not show the most athleticism of the team, but he really knows how to win.”