For the first time since the 2003-2004 season the University at Buffalo wrestling team has earned more than 10 dual meet wins in a season. They did it, fittingly enough, against in state rival Binghamton with a dominant 31-9 final score. Brett Perry and Bryan Lantry led the way in the win with Perry’s upset of nationally ranked Steve Schneider and Lantry’s 5th pin of the season. The win marks the second win in a row over the Bearcats for UB.
Justin Patrick earned a hard fought 7-6 decision at 125 pounds over Steve Bulzomi. Patrick was ahead 4-2 in the third period but was turned for 4 nearfall points and was suddenly down two with less than a minute remaining. Realizing the danger he was in, Patrick scurried to his feet and executed a beautiful takedown with less than 30 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Fifteenth ranked Bryan Lantry continued his hot streak, earning his 18th win of the season with his 5th pin of the year. Lantry had a major decision victory all but wrapped up but in the final seconds of the third period managed to stick Audey Ashkar to the mat to give the Bulls a commanding 9-0 lead after two bouts.
Jason Estevez earned his 10th win of the season eking out a 3-2 decision over Buffalo native Dylan Caruana. Estevez is now on a three match winning streak and appears to be hitting his stride heading into the postseason.
Binghamton got on the board when Parker Kropman earned a second period pin over Colt Cotten. The match was tied at three when Cotten shot in from distance and was nearly immediately taken to his back and pinned. Cotten is now on a 7 match losing streak and hasn’t won since the beginning of January.
Alex Smythe nearly had a major decision of his own over Tristan Rifanburg but he couldn’t complete a double-leg takedown in the closing seconds. Tyler Rill followed that up with an 11-1 major decision to bring the UB lead to 18-6.
Muhamed McBryde lead 2-1 into the final period but his opponent chose top and took advantage of McBryde’s inexperience wrestling on the mat itself. McBryde was turned for back points and ultimately lost the bout 5-2.
Brett Perry wrestled the finest match of his career so far against #15 Steve Schneider. Heading into the final stanza Perry was down by a single point with less than a minute to go. Schneider shot in on Perry’s leg, and being the escape artist that he is, flung his weight around Schneider’s body enough to get him off balance and earn the match winning takedown. The victory was the first win over a nationally ranked opponent for Perry.
After a forfeit at 197 pounds sealed the win for the Bulls, Jake Gunning beat Binghamton’s Connor Calkins for the second straight year to put the cherry on top of a historic win for the program.
Since he took over as head coach in the 2013 season John Stutzman has improved the dual meet record in every single season he has been with the program - going from 3 to 5 to 10 and now 11 wins. The Bulls’ .647 win percentage is also the highest the program has seen since the Bulls went 11-6 in the 2000-2001 season.
I’ve written ad nauseum about it, but Stutzman has taken a broken program that was floating dead in the water and in only a few short years has a competitive team from top-to-bottom.
Now, the Bulls will look to take the next step at the MAC Championships being held by Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls March 3rd and 4th. The Bulls will be looking to improve on the three grapplers that they sent to the national tournament last season and possibly earning their first individual MAC Championship.
Buffalo 31, Binghamton 9
125: Justin Patrick (UB) dec. Steve Bulzomi (BU), 7-6
133: #15 Bryan Lantry (UB) pinned Audey Ashkar (BU), 6:53
141: Jason Estevez (UB) dec. Dylan Caruana (BU), 3-2
149: Parker Kropman (BU) pinned Colt Cotten (UB)
157: Alex Smythe (UB) dec. Tristan Rifanburg (BU), 7-1
165: Tyler Rill (UB) maj. dec. Jake Einbinder (BU), 11-1
174: Tony Lombardo (BU) dec. Muhamed McBryde (UB), 5-2
184: Brett Perry (UB) dec. #15 Steve Schneider (BU), 7-6
197: Nate Rose wins by forfeit
285: Jake Gunning (UB) dec. Connor Calkins (BU), 6-2