Wrestling is back in action
UB starts 2019-20 season after last year’s success
The Bulls wrestling team was back on the mat this weekend.
Coming off one of their best seasons in recent program history, the Bulls have high hopes for the 2019 campaign. Last year, the senior-heavy team consistently put up strong performances, earning a second-place finish in the Mid-American Conference.
On Saturday, Buffalo finished second in the freshman/sophomore 197-pound weight class and fourth in the freshman/sophomore 157- and 174-pound weight classes. The Bulls’ freshmen showed out in East Lansing, MI, for the Michigan State Open.
Freshman Sam Mitchell earned a second-place finish in the 197-pound bracket after defeating competitors from Rochester University and Central Michigan.
Freshman Hunter Shaut finished fourth in the 157-pound bracket, after beating opponents from Northern Illinois, Ohio, Michigan State and Tiffin University.
And freshman Bryson Alsteen placed fourth in the 174-pound bracket, after defeating opponents from Ohio and Rochester.
Seventh-year head coach John Stutzman was excited heading into the Michigan State tournament.
“It’s a new team so it’s always interesting to see how we start out,” said Stutzman. “It’s a nerve-wracking time because I don’t know what we have yet. Saturday will be a test for us.”
Stutzman was named the 2019 MAC Coach of the Year.
He knows that the Bulls have a good product.
Now, he wants people to take notice.
“We’ve always had success, it’s just a matter of people paying attention,” he said.
Last year, the Bulls more than doubled their winning percentage from the previous season, finishing second in the MAC with 113.5 team points. Buffalo also brought home two individual championships.
Senior Troy Keller defeated Ohio wrestler Colt Yinger in the 165-pound finals.
Redshirt senior Brett Perry earned the 197-pound title after beating Old Dominion’s Timothy Young in the finals.
The Bulls’ experience showed last season, but that dynamic has changed this year. While Buffalo welcomes back two returning national qualifiers and one MAC champion, they graduated eight seniors — six of them starters — and enter the 2019 campaign with a younger roster.
True to form, the Bulls had four freshmen place at Saturday’s tournament.
“I think we’re going to be pretty good this year,” says Stutzman. “It’s just a matter of getting to the end.”
The Bulls return to the Center for the Arts for their first home match of the 2019 season Thursday. There, they will take on the favored Wisconsin Badgers.
Myah Gonzalez is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @myahgabriela.