It was the first time I had been in Alumni to watch the Buffalo Bulls (5-11, 0-6 MAC) wrestling team live in several months, and it just so happened to be against one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the nation in the #2 Missouri TIgers (18-0, 6-0 MAC).
Coming in I knew that the Bulls were going to have a tough go of it from start to finish, and they fought and clawed in each match, but ultimately the experience of Missouri reigned supreme. In the first bout of the night senior Max Soria looked to pull the upset of a lifetime by beating #2 Alan Waters but couldn't overcome a 7-0 deficit entering the 3rd period. Soria earned a takedown but Waters stalled out the rest of the match and won 8-2.
Then, at 133 Sean Peacock collected a forfeit to collect the only points of the night for the Bulls and extend his current winning streak to 5, which pulls him to one win behind Max Soria for the team lead.
And that brings us to the most frustrating match of the night, UB's Colt Cotten vs. Cole Baumgartner.
Cotten has been wrestling lights-out since he was thrust into the lineup after coming back from a serious knee injury and I would be lying if I said I didn't expect him to go out and beat his guy. Two minutes later myself, the coaching staff, Baumgartner, the Missouri coaching staff and everyone in Alumni Arena thought Cotten had pinned Baumgartner after a quick reversal put the Tiger to his back.
Except for one guy. The referee raised Baumgartner's hand and declared him the victor due to a "defensive pin". It was a bogus call, plain and simple, Cotten had Baumgartner pinned and the referee botched the call big time. See if you can see in these stills the look of surprise on Baumgartner's face:
Beyond the shower of boos raining down from the crowd and the look of disbelief on Cotten's face, I was surprised Coach John Stutzman didn't go ballistic on the referee. To give you an idea of how angry Stutzman was, take a look at the picture at the top of the article and this one:
He was angry, and rightly so, and he is a man that I would not want to be on the bad side of. I was amazed that he kept his composure after storming towards the ref, hearing whatever two words the official gave him, and ultimately backing away to the Bulls' bench to stew in anger, all without a word. I don't blame him at all.
Seriously, for the rest of the match I was just hung up on the fact that the ref bungled that call. I give Coach Stutzman all the credit in the world for not losing it on the ref. I know I would've blown my top in that situation.
The Cotten non-pin really sucked the momentum out of the Bulls and it showed the rest of the match, as Rrok Ndokaj had the closest bout of the night dropping a 5-3 decision to Mikey England. James Benjamin also had the pleasure of taking on the reigning national champion at 197 pounds in J'Den Cox. This was the first time I've seen Cox live in action and he is something else; the way he wrestles just grinds down his opponent that they would need to have superhuman stamina to stand a chance.
In all, a frustrating bout for the Bulls, but it is important to remember that it's a team full of underclassmen taking on arguably the best team in the nation. The team came out and wrestled hard, and in my own experience, getting beat is one of the best motivators and I have no doubt that this team will come out with a purpose against Binghamton next Friday.
I would also like to take some time to acknowledge the awful Missouri fans that sat near me in Alumni Arena. I know that a few bad apples aren't representative of the whole bunch, but openly mocking the UB student-athletes and mocking the city of Buffalo by calling it "One of the worst dumps in the northeast" is inexcusable. The student-athletes on the mat are my peers and the city of Buffalo is my home, and the home to some of the best people on the face of the Earth, and you have no right to talk down my city or my peers. I didn't respond openly to your misguided comments because it wasn't worth an argument and a waste of my breath, but you don't come into our arena and our city and disrespect us.
UB is on the mat next Friday as they look to avenge a close loss from last year to the Binghamton Bearcats, wrestling will begin at 7 PM.
125: #2 Alan Waters (MIZZ) dec. Max Soria (UB), 8-2
133: Sean Peacock (UB) wins by forfeit
141: Cole Baumgartner (MIZZ) pins* Colt Cotten (UB) at 2:06
149: Le'Roy Barnes (MIZZ) pins Rocco Russo (UB) at 2:25
157: #9 Joey Lavallee (MIZZ) maj. dec. Danny Graham (UB), 18-4
165: Mikey England (MIZZ) dec. Rrok Ndokaj (UB), 5-3
174: Cody Johnston (MIZZ) pins Wally Maziarz (UB) at 5:29
184: #14 Willie Miklus (MIZZ) pins Austin Weigel (UB) at 2:29
197: #1 J'den Cox (MIZZ) tech. fall James Benjamin (UB), 16-0 at 6:35
HWT: #16 Devin Mellon (MIZZ) maj. Ian James (UB), 9-1
Updated Season Records:
|Max Soria (125)||19-7|
|Sean Peacock (133)||18-11|
|Colt Cotten (141)||2-2|
|Rocco Russo (149)||10-8|
|Danny Graham (157)||6-9|
|Rrok Ndokaj (165)||8-14|
|Wally Maziarz (174)||6-14|
|Austin Weigel (184)||13-14|
|James Benjamin (197)||10-11|
|Ian James (HWT)||5-10|