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Wrestling vaults up to No. 20 in NWCA/USA Today Poll
After pair of narrow defeats, Bearcats (8-2) rewarded with jump of four spots
January 17, 2012Tweet
Contact: John Hartrick (email@example.com)
VESTAL, N.Y.—After coming excruciatingly close to defeating two high-ranking opponents last week, Binghamton wrestling (8-2) was rewarded in the polls on Tuesday. The latest NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll had the Bearcats at No. 20 - a four-spot jump from the previous week. It’s the highest Binghamton has been ranked in its 10-year Division I wrestling history.
“There are a lot of positives happening within our program right now,” head coach Pat Popolizio said. “The guys are very excited but there is a lot of wrestling still to come this season. We need to continue to improve. It’s rewarding to be recognized as a top 20 team but we ultimately want to finish higher than that at the NCAA Championship. I’m very proud of this team and the progress these guys have made thus far this season.”
On Tuesday, BU hosted No. 12 Oklahoma and gave the Sooners all they could handle in a 20-15 loss. The match drew more than 800 spectators to the West Gym and the teams split the 10 bouts before Oklahoma gained the win on bonus points.
Five days later, the margin was even more narrow when No. 5 Cornell visited the Events Center for an historic match. In front of approximately 1,200 fans and a television audience for the first-ever dual held at the Events Center, Binghamton tied the 2011 NCAA runnersup after 10 bouts before Cornell was awarded the 22-21 win on tiebreaker criteria. Like they did against Oklahoma, the Bearcats won five matches against the unbeaten Big Red and succumbed only after the third tiebreak was utilized. Cornell held a 44-41 edge in points scored during the six matches that didn’t end by pin or tech fall.
Binghamton had jumped into the rankings after it rattled off eight straight dual wins to start the season. The Bearcats have nine duals remaining, including a January 29 encounter with No. 1 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla.
Individually, BU placed four wrestlers in this week’s InterMat Rankings. Junior 149-pound Donnie Vinson (22-3, 10-0 duals) held his spot at No. 4 in the country. Vinson scored a decision over the No. 7 wrestler from Oklahoma before igniting the Events Center crowd with a 16-0 technical fall over Cornell on Sunday. He has won 31 of his last 32 dual matches dating back to last season.
Senior 157-pound Justin Lister (18-2, 10-0 duals), BU’s Athlete of the Week, moved up a spot to No. 7. Lister posted a dramatic win over his No. 14 foe from Oklahoma in the closing seconds before recording his team-high 11th pin of the season in the Cornell match.
Freshman heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski (17-4, 7-1 duals) bumped up two spots to No. 18. Junior 184-pound Nate Schiedel (19-6, 7-2 duals) earned his way into the rankings with a victory over Oklahoma’s 20th-ranked wrestler. Schiedel came in at No. 19 this week.
Binghamton heads to Fairfax, Va. for the CAA Duals this Saturday. The Bearcats will face Rider, Boston University and Drexel