The Cannon show
In sports, it's more difficult to defend a title than to win it. Buffalo learned that lesson this past weekend when the wrestling team traveled to Newman Arena on the campus of Cornell to wrestle in the 41st Annual New York State Intercollegiate Wrestling Championships.
Buffalo managed to score just 149.5 points as the defending champions finished third against Army and No. 6 nationally-ranked Cornell. Host Cornell won the tournament with 194 points, while Army took the second spot with 158 points.
Sophomore John-Martin Cannon led the way for the Bulls as he captured Buffalo's lone individual crown at the 165-pound weight class.
On day one of the championships, Cannon eased his way into the semifinals after scoring a fall and a major decision. Cannon then earned his first trip to a New York State final after a grueling 6-4 decision in double-overtime over Binghamton's Matt Kaylor.
Cannon was once again taken to the brink of overtime in the finals. In the biggest match of his young career, Cannon defeated No. 16 nationally-ranked Justin Kerber of Cornell, 3-1.
Sophomore Desi Green continued to add to his career accomplishments as he reached his second-consecutive tournament final for the Bulls.
The 17th nationally-ranked Green began the second day of competition with a 12-4 decision over Ithaca's Blaine Woszczak for his third consecutive major decision of the weekend to advance to the finals.
In a rematch of last year's 149-pound final, Green met No. 7 ranked Matt Kyler of Army. It took two overtimes before Kyler proved to be too much as he defeated Green, 2-1.
Sophomore Kevin Smith was unable to defend his 133-pound state title from last year. Smith reached the final with ease but fell short in the championship bout, losing to No 6. nationally-ranked Mike Grey of Cornell, 5-2.
Junior Jimmy Hamel got a taste of redemption for Buffalo in the 197-pound weight class. In a rematch of last year's championship, Hamel defeated Richard Starks of Army in the semifinals. While Starks got the best of Hamel last year, Hamel prevailed in double-overtime, 4-2. Hamel advanced to the finals but fell to Cornell's Cam Simaz, 14-2.
Two freshmen made first-time appearances at the New York State Championships. Freshman Andrew Schutt earned a respectable fourth place finish in the 141-pound weight class, while redshirt-freshman Josh Peters finished third in the 184-pound weight class. Senior Dan Bishop managed to finish in third place in the 125-pound weight class.
Buffalo returns home on Saturday as it hosts Ohio in the conference home opener. During the meet, the Bulls and the Division of Athletics will host 'Takedown Cancer,' a benefit to honor former Buffalo wrestling captain Jeff Parker. Proceeds will be donated to Carly's Club of Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Parker's hometown of Boston, Mass. The meet is set to begin at 1 p.m.