Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
In front of a boisterous West Gym crowd estimated at 800 plus, No. 24 Binghamton wrestling (8-1) split 10 bouts with No. 12 Oklahoma but the Sooners earned bonus points from a pin and two major decisions to pull out a 20-15 win Tuesday night.
The Bearcats trailed 17-12 with two bouts to go and 20th-ranked heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski waiting in the wings for the final match. Sophomore 197-pound Cody Reed was in a tight battle with Keldrick Hall and the match and the team outcome rested on the closing 10 seconds when Reed came within a whisker of finishing a single-leg takedown on the edge of the mat. Hall, who led 4-0 early but was wearing down in the final minute, nursed a 7-5 lead and scrambled off the mat with time winding down. Reed had the leg and was awarded a stall point in the final few seconds but ran out of time in a bitter 7-6 loss. The win clinched the match for Oklahoma (5-2), which snapped BU’s 13-match win streak dating back to last season.
Binghamton came out on top of the two other dramatic matches at 157 and 184. In a bruising battle between eighth-ranked senior Justin Lister and 14th-ranked Matt Lester at 157, Lester led 5-4 and had riding time in the third period before Lister rallied. He scored a reversal with 20 seconds left and earned two back points in the final dozen seconds to secure an 8-6 win. With the win, Lister improved to 17-2 overall, 9-0 in duals.
Junior 184-pound Nate Schiedel provided the other exhilarating moment of the night with a come-from-behind 9-8 win over 20th-ranked Erich Schmidtke. Schiedel stormed out to a 4-1 lead in the first period before Schmidtke countered. The reigning Sooners NCAA qualifier knotted the score at 4-4 before a Schiedel escape gave him a 5-4 lead going into the second period. Another Schiedel takedown stretched the lead to 7-4 but Schmidtke got two escapes and then scored a takedown with 30 seconds remaining in the match to forge ahead 8-7. On bottom with 25 seconds left and looking exhausted, Schiedel worked for a reversal with just seven seconds left and the 9-8 decision sent the crowd into an uproar. Schiedel, on the cusp of national rankings all season, improved to 19-5 overall, 7-1 in duals.
In the other matchup between two ranked foes, junior 149-pound Donnie Vinson posted a 7-2 decision over No. 7 Nick Lester to remain unbeaten in duals (9-0, 21-3 overall). Vinson, 45-7 all-time in duals, raced out to a 4-1 lead after one and quickly built riding time. He picked up another takedown in the third period and accumulated more than two minutes of riding time in the solid win.
Senior 165-pound Matt Kaylor bumped up to 174 and earned a 13-7 decision over Marcus Armato, narrowly missing out on the major decision. Kaylor raised his record to 15-5 overall, 7-2 in duals.
Gwiazdowski, ranked 20th in the latest InterMat poll, held off Kyle Colling, 7-6, in the anticlimactic final match of the evening. Gwiazdowski is 16-4 overall, 6-1 in duals.
“This will hurt for a while,” head coach Pat Popolizio said of the narrow defeat. “We know we can hang with these teams and we are right there, knocking on the door. We came up one match short tonight. I’m proud of our guys though ... they are a hard-working and dedicated group. The crowd gave us energy tonight. This environment is exactly what we want.”
The Sooners, coached by Binghamton native Mark Cody, featured six ranked wrestlers and eight returning NCAA qualifiers. Oklahoma crowned three All-Americans last winter and placed 16th at the NCAA Championship. They were the highest-ranked visiting opponent since BU hosted No. 2 Iowa State in the 2007-08 season (a 30-15 loss).
The competition doesn’t get any easier for Binghamton after tonight as the Bearcats will host No. 5 Cornell at 5 p.m. Sunday in an historic dual. It will be the program’s first-ever televised home match (Time Warner Cable) and its first in the Events Center.