Troy Keller and Brett Perry each won individual MAC titles at 165 and 197 pounds, respectively to lead the UB Wrestling team to their first ever runner-up finish at the MAC Wrestling tournament. The runner-up finish, along with two individual champions and 5 national qualifiers capped off one of the best regular seasons in Buffalo history.
Keller, a JUCO National Champion last year for Niagara County Community College, entered the tournament as a 2 seed and earned wins over Shane Jones of Old Dominion and Nate Higgins of SIU-Edwardsville to earn a berth in the title bout against Colt Yinger of Ohio. Yinger came out aggresive in the first period and built a 4-2 lead following two takedowns. Keller, however, maintained his composure and struck in the final stanza with a 4-point nearfall to earn a 7-4 win after the riding time point was tacked on.
Perry, the 3 seed, earned victories over Derek Hillman of Ohio, and 2 seed Christian DuLaney of SIU-Edwardsville to advance to the championship round. Perry then cruised to a 6-3 victory over Tim Young of host Old Dominion to earn his first MAC title and earn his first trip to the national tournament.
Bryan Lantry and Derek Spann also earned berths in the championship round for Coach Stutzman, setting a new high in finalists for the Buffalo mat boss. Lantry and Spann both lost to nationally ranked opponents from Missouri, however, both will be joining Perry and Keller in Pittsburgh for the national tournament.
Elsewhere, Alex Smythe earned an auto-bid to the national tournament after a 5th place finish in the 157 pound bracket.
Jake Gunning, however, will need to wait for the selection committee to determine his fate. He lost in the true 4th place match to Zack Parker of Ohio as he was taken down with less than 15 seconds remaining in the match and lost 6-4.
Kyle Akins placed 5th at 125 pounds, Jason Estevez placed 7th at 149 pounds, Jake Lanning placed 4th at 174 pounds and Logan Rill placed 8th at 184 pounds to round out the Buffalo lineup.
The Bulls’ runner-up finish in the team points race with 113.5 points was the first time Buffalo has finished second in their time in the MAC. Their previous best was 3rd place in 05-06 and 10-11.
The five national qualifiers also sets a new best for Coach John Stutzman at UB.
Missouri won the team title with 180 points, and Central Michigan and Old Dominion finished 3rd and 4th with 112.5 and 111 points, respectively.
The remaining Bulls will train for two weeks before making the quick jaunt down to Pittsburgh for the NCAA Tournament starting March 21st.