The Buffalo Bulls, along with 30 other teams from around New York, descended upon Cornell University Sunday for the New York State Intercollegiate Championships. The tournament is broken into two separate brackets: the "A" bracket, and "B" bracket, which is open to any wrestlers.
In the "A" bracket, leading the way for the Bulls yet again was redshirt-Senior Max Soria, claiming the championship at 125 pounds. Soria dominated the competition yet again, with a 19-6 major decision over Wayne Yuan of NYU, a pinfall victory over Dom DeGraba of Oneonta, and a 15-0 technical fall victory over James Kaishian of Ithaca College leading up to his finals matchup against Asher Kramer of Brockport.
In a rematch of last year's 125 pound 5th place match, Soria was in total control en route to a 11-0 major decision victory. With the title, Soria also improved his season record to 11-0 and will likely improve upon his #28 national ranking.
Also reaching the finals for the Bulls was redshirt-freshman Jason Estevez at 141 pounds who took down opponents from Oswego, LIU-Post, and Army en route to a battle with #17 Jamel Hudson of Hofstra. Estevez fought hard against a nationally ranked opponent, but ultimately fell in a 7-2 decision.
The third Bull to reach the finals was senior Wally Maziarz at 157 pounds. After eking out two straight 1-0 decisions, Maziarz ultimately fell to Russell Parsons of Army in a 6-2 decision.
The final Bull in action in the finals was redshirt-freshman Joe Ariola who fell late to #14 ranked Jace Bennett of Cornell in a 5-2 decision. Ariola paced the match early with a quick takedown, but was outscored 3-0 by his opponent in the third round.
The four finalists for the Bulls was the most since the 2009-2010 season, a huge positive for the program. Also, Max Soria's title was the first since Mark Lewandowski's two years ago.
Also placing for the Bulls in the "A" bracket: Sean Peacock, 7th at 133 pounds, Justin Cooksey, 7th at 149 pounds, Ryan Therrien, 8th at 165 pounds, Muhamid McBryde, 6th at 174 pounds, and Tony Lock, who was 6th at 184 pounds. Lock had reached the semifinals in the 184 pound bracket and would have likely been the 5th finalist for the Bulls, but he had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury. Stay tuned for updates.
Leading the way in the "B" bracket for the Bulls were true freshman Jake Gunning and sophomore James Benjamin, who claimed individual championships at 285 pounds and 197 pounds respectively. Benjamin dominated with a 13-second (!) pinfall of Brian Curless of the Cornell Wrestling club to claim the 197 pound championship. Meanwhile, Gunning posted a 14-5 major decision over Joseph Sprung of Ithaca College to claim the championship in the heavyweight bracket.
Also placing for the Bulls in the "B" bracket were: Blake Retell, 5th at 133 pounds, Brandon Lapi, 3rd at 141 pounds, and Austin Weigel, 2nd at 184 pounds.
One of the most exciting matches of the day was when freshman Brandon Lapi took on Nick Tighe of Binghamton, in a showdown of two former New York State High School champions. Tighe emerged victorious after he took Lapi down in sudden death overtime.
UB placed 4th in the 31-team field with 121.5 team points in the "A" bracket, while host Cornell claimed the team championship with 194.0 points. UB also led all participating schools with 24 pinfall victories, a very impressive all around day from the Bulls.
UB will take to the mats again this Saturday, November, 29th as they head to Troy, NY to participate in the Northeast Duals where they will take on Rutgers, Sacred Heart, and Wyoming.