Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
No. 19 Binghamton wrestling celebrated its Senior Night in grand style with a commanding 29-9 win over CAA rival and No. 23 Old Dominion Friday at West Gym.
The Bearcats (15-4) won seven of the 10 bouts and with the victory in their final dual, BU broke the program’s Division I-era record for highest win percentage in a season (.789), set by last year’s team (16-6, .727). Two pins and two major decisions allowed Binghamton to rack up the points against a strong Monarchs squad that entered the match with five ranked individuals.
“This is an important win for team momentum heading into the conference tournament,” head coach Pat Popolizio said. “Old Dominion has had our number over the years so it’s great to turn the tide over a conference rival. Our mindset and focus now has to shift to getting our guys peaking at the right time as we go into the CAA Championship in two weeks.”
Before the match, BU honored its three outgoing seniors - Matt Kaylor, Justin Lister and Mike McKeever. Then the Bearcats got rolling with a key win in the opening match. Junior 125-pound Derek Steeley hit a reversal with 1:20 remaining in his match against No. 29 Jerome Robinson. Already holding riding time, Steeley gave up a reversal but earned the escape with 28 seconds left and then fought off a late takedown attempt from Robinson to secure a 7-5 win.
After ODU countered with back-to-back wins at 133 (9-4) and 141 (11-4), BU rode the strength of its middle weights to the tune of five straight wins - including two pins and a major - to seal the lopsided win.
Junior No. 4 Donnie Vinson began the run with a 15-5 major decision at 149 pounds. Vinson led 12-2 after the first period and compiled five takedowns to lift his record to 30-4, 18-1 in duals. Vinson has lost just twice in 41 duals over the last two seasons (39-2).
Lister, ranked No. 9 at 157 pounds in the latest NCAA Coaches’ Panel, recorded his historic 100th win in style with a first-period pin of Jacob Kingett. Lister put Kingett to his back just 20 seconds into the match and ended it shortly thereafter with his 13th pin of the season and 36th career fall. Lister, a 2010 All-American, is now 100-36 in his career, including a 23-5 mark this season.
Kaylor, No. 25, continued the run with a solid 8-2 win over No. 21 Tristan Warner at 165 pounds. Kaylor, ranked No. 4 in the CAA, was aggressive from the opening whistle against No. 2 Warner, and built a 5-0 first-period lead thanks to a takedown and back points. He added a third-period takedown and riding time to notch his 110th career win. Kaylor is 22-8 overall.
After a decision by freshman 174-pound Caleb Wallace, junior 184-pound Nate Schiedel, No. 20, notched a takedown just over one minute into his match with Billy Curling and ended it with his seventh pin of the season in 1:28. Schiedel improved to 26-7 overall, 14-3 in duals.
Freshman heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski, No. 18, trailed Grant Chapman 2-1 after one before a second-period takedown and subsequent back points gave him control. The true freshman then rattled off five takedowns in the third period to produce the 19-6 major decision.
Binghamton now sets its focus on the postseason and its host role for the upcoming CAA Championship on March 3. The event will serve as the NCAA qualifier with numerous Bearcats eying a trip to St. Louis for the NCAA Championship on March 15-17.