UB wrestling falls in final match of the season

Soria and Maziarz lose in final matches of UB careers


On Friday night, an era of Buffalo wrestling came to a close.

Seniors Max Soria and Wally Maziarz – the last two remaining wrestlers from the 12-member 2011 freshman class – wrestled their last matches in a Bulls singlet. But the competitors, who combined for over 130 victories, lost their final matches as Bulls.

Soria, Maziarz and the rest of the Bulls (5-14, 0-8 Mid-American Conference) were defeated by Northern Illinois (10-11, 2-5 MAC) 26-10 in the final match of the season on Friday night in DeKalb, Illinois. Buffalo has now failed to win a conference dual meet for the second straight year and has yet to win one under head coach John Stutzman.

“We competed really hard tonight as a team,” Stutzman said. “We outwrestled them at a lot of weights but we just need to learn how to win. I am pleased with the progress we made this season with a very young team that had eight freshman/sophomores in the lineup. We are not far off as a program and I know we are headed in the right direction.”

The Bulls are not eligible to compete in the MAC or the NCAA tournament due to NCAA sanctions for low Academic Progress Rate scores from the four years before Stutzman took over as head coach.

Soria and Maziarz were both defeated in their final matches in a Bulls singlet. The Huskies’ Derek Elmore defeated Soria by fall in the first match of the day. Soria finishes his career with more than 100 takedowns, 81 victories and was a national qualifier twice in his four years.

Trace Engelkes of Northern Illinois defeated Maziarz in the 174-pound weight class. Maziarz finished his Bulls career with over 55 wins.

Soria’s defeat initiated the night and was followed by freshman Sean Peacock losing by major decision, putting the Bulls in an early 10-0 deficit.

Freshman Colt Cotten was the first Bull to put up points. He entered the second period down 2-1 against Northern Illinois’ Tyler Argue, but was able to score a takedown to establish the lead.

His relentlessness gained an additional three points in the third period to secure the win 9-4. Cotten endured a knee injury earlier in the year, which nearly ended his season, but he was able to bounce back and finish his first year with a 19-12 record, including 4-3 in the conference.

“Colt was unbelievable tonight,” Stutzman said. “Beating the guy he beat, with one leg, is hard. If he can have confidence in his leg and in his beliefs, he’s going to be in the mix. We’re excited.”

Sophomore Jason Estevez continued the winning streak and won at the 149-pound weight class over Huskies’ Austin Culton. Both wrestlers had two points entering the third period, but Estavez was able to power through and capture the win.

Buffalo lost the next three matches, but were picked up by Joe Ariola’s victory at the 184-pound matchup. Ariola scored a takedown in the second period and proceeded to finish strong to secure a 13-5 major decision, giving the Bulls their final four points of the night.

The Bulls are not eligible for a postseason appearance this season, but Stutzman said he is focused on the future of the program. With the team composed of 27 underclassmen, Stutzman said he is eager to continue to develop the team into a contender for a national title.

Buffalo’s five wins this season were the most they’ve had since their 2011-12 campaign. Although this season has concluded, Stutzman said he is convinced the team will make a major turnaround next year when the sanctions are lifted. He said to expect national contenders on the team next season.

“Something about them right now shows me that they can compete,” Stutzman said. “We could have All-Americans next year. We’ve found the talent, we’ve found the guys, now it’s just a matter of getting them on the mat at the same time to fight for the common goal of winning a national championship.”

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