"Bye, bye seniors"
Everyone's college career comes to an end at some point, and one of the toughest things to do is let go and say goodbye. For two Buffalo wrestlers, the end of the collegiate journey arrived this past weekend as seniors Dan Bishop and Andrew Stella wrestled in their last regular-season meet as Bulls.
Behind the emotions of their graduating teammates, the Bulls (9-7-1, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) collected their second conference win of the season, defeating Northern Illinois (9-10, 1-4 MAC), 25-8. By getting the win, Buffalo earned its first dual-meet victory over the Huskies since the '00-'01 season.
Bishop saved arguably one of his best performances for last.
After two periods, Bishop faced a 1-0 deficit against the Huskies' Izzy Montemayor. Just when it looked like Bishop was down and defeated, he recorded a reversal in the third period and held on to collect riding time for a 3-1 win.
Another comeback on the afternoon was needed for Stella to close out his collegiate career on a good note. Facing the No. 2 wrestler of the monthly MAC individual rankings, Stella found himself in a quick 4-0 deficit to Northern Illinois' Bryan Deutsch.
In the first period, Deutsch dominated Stella with an early takedown and a two-point nearfall. But just like Bishop, Stella left all of his emotion on the mat and came back to pull off a reversal in the second period to put Deutsch on his back at 2:43. Stella's last win marked his 70th career victory for the Bulls.
The Bulls also managed to collect wins from their group of nationally ranked wrestlers.
In the 165-pound weight class, No. 19 nationally ranked sophomore John-Martin Cannon improved his MAC record to 4-1 with an 11-5 decision over the Huskies' Joe Clothier. Cannon managed to take down Clothier four times to record nine of his 11 points off of takedowns.
At 133, No. 17 Kevin Smith won his fifth MAC dual bout of the season. Smith beat Northern Illinois' Tristen DeShazer rather easily, as he possessed a 3-1 lead after two periods and concluded with a 10-3 win.
After starting 0-3 in MAC competition, redshirt-freshmen Josh Peters ended his season the right way. Looking for his second consecutive MAC win, Peters faced off with Northern Illinois' Zach Benzio. In the second round, Peters took command of the match with a reversal and two-point near fall. Peters went on to win the 184-pound bout, 10-4, improving his conference record to 2-3.
History was made in the 197-pound weight class when junior Jimmy Hamel earned a 14-4 major decision over the Huskies' Scott Penny.
The win marked Hamel's 85th career victory and 40th career dual meet victory. Hamel's win moved him into a three-way tie for ninth place in overall career victories at Buffalo. Hamel is now tied with Josh States, who wrestled for the Bulls from 1997-2001, on the Buffalo all-time dual-meet victory list.
The Bulls now turn their attention to the MAC Championships. They will be held on March 6 and March 7 at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich.