Releases

For Immediate Release: November 3 2005
Contact: John Hartrick (hartrick@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6800

Binghamton wrestling program begins new chapter in 2005-06
Bearcats face uphill battle with all-freshmen lineup

VESTAL, N.Y. - Binghamton University head wrestling coach Tony Robie will usher in a new era of Bearcats wrestling on November 5. After a year's hiatus, a storied BU program returns to the mat and Robie is excited about the long term potential of his squad.

"When I look down the road at the direction and potential of the program it’s something that excites me," Robie said. "I think we’ve laid a solid foundation in the last six months. With a new facility, a promising recruiting class and the young men we have in the room presently there is no question that we’ve got this thing heading in the right direction."

Robie also knows that the individual and team development will take time.

"This year will have its ups and downs but we will be very realistic with our expectations," he said. "We want to teach these guys what it takes to be successful. Success in the sport of wrestling requires a tremendous amount of hard work, time and effort. In many cases it takes two or three years of this type of dedication for an athlete to reach his potential."

After arriving at Binghamton in January, Robie had a short recruiting calendar to work with, and his young team (all first-year collegiate wrestlers) will no doubt face some obstacles as they work their way through the 2005-06 schedule, which culminates at the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship in March.

"We're looking for our guys to show improvement throughout the season," Robie said. "We're not looking at it from a wins and losses standpoint. The main objective with all true freshmen is to see improvement and see the kids compete hard. If they train and compete hard the rest will take care of itself. They’ve come along way in the last two months and I expect the same type of improvement through out the year."

The lineup will be a dangerously thin one that can't afford to be depleted by injuries. Robie won't have a body at 197 pounds, and has just one entry at several other weights. But he does have four scholastic state champions and a solid nucleus of athletes on the roster.

"We're pretty solid at the lower and middle weights," he said. "We get little thin in the upper weights, but in dual matches, we'll finish strong at heavyweight."

Here is a capsule look at each weight class.

Lower Weights
Freshman Steven Gurien (North Bellmore, N.Y.) will hold down the 125-pound weight class. He was a two-time captain and four-year letterwinner at Mepham High School, and placed third at the sectional meet as a senior.

Freshman Errick Cholewa (North Tonawanda, N.Y.) is the likely starter at 133. He was a five-year letterwinner and state placewinner for Starpoint High School. Cholewa captured the Section 6 130-pound championship and has impressed Robie with his hard work and rapid improvement.

Freshmen Bryan Ellis (Potsdam, N.Y.) and Patrick Sandberg (Staten Island, N.Y.) will also see action at 133 and/or 141. Ellis was a sectional champion for Potsdam-Canton High and Sandberg won two New York City championships wrestling for Msgr. Farrell High.

Another talented freshman, T.J. Maroney (Bennington, Vt.), will be forced to sit out the 2005-06 season with an injury.

Freshman Nate Patterson (Ontario, N.Y.) brings a lot of talent to the 149 weight and Robie is looking for big things from him. A six-year letterwinner at Wayne Central High, Patterson placed third at the state championship as a junior.

"Nate is a gifted wrestler with a tremendous feel for the sport," Robie said. "He's got cat-like quickness and can get to almost anybody's legs. He's got the ability to wrestle in all three positions, which will make him a force at 149 for us this year."

Robie has two more options at 149 - freshmen Kevin Sincerbox (Goshen, N.Y.) and Aaron Stayer (Lowman, N.Y.). Sincerbox was a sectional finalist and three-time sectional placewinner for Goshen Central High. Stayer placed fourth at the sectional meet for Horseheads High

Middle Weights
Freshman co-captain Chris Wade (Islip, N.Y.) begins a promising collegiate career as the starter at 157. He captured the state scholastic title at 140 pounds for Islip High last winter, and was a two-time sectional finalist.

"Chris comes from very good high school program on Long Island," Robie said. "He is a hard working kid who will be extremely dedicated and a good team leader. As a wrestler, he is strong and explosive and can score from any position. Even as a true freshman, I see him having a lot of success for us."

Freshman Chris Klucka (Vestal, N.Y.) is slated as the starter at 165. He was a two-time sectional runnerup for nearby Vestal High.

At 174, freshman Kevin Owen (Polson, Mont.) will be one of the team's top performers. A four-time state placewinner from Polson High, Owen captured the 2005 Montana state championship at 171 pounds and graduated as the school's career wins leader. He also was a first team all-state running back for the football team.

"Kevin is a very good athlete and I definitely think he's the type of kid who will excel at Binghamton," Robie said. "He's an extremely hard worker and a quality person. In a very short time he's established himself as a team leader. I'm real happy to have him in our program."

Upper Weights
Sophomore Jim Tretter (Sanborn, N.Y.) will occupy the 184-pound weight class in his first collegiate season. He was a sectional champion and team MVP for Niagara Wheatfield High, serving as captain during his final two scholastic years.

At heavyweight, Ed Bordas (Montgomery, N.Y.) provides Robie with a talented and driven athlete who can produce team points and turn a dual match in BU's favor. A three-time sectional champion, Bordas won the state heavyweight championship for Valley Central last season. He was selected as the heavyweight choice on the CAA Preseason All-Freshman Team.

"I like his style of wrestling," Robie said of Bordas. "He's dangerous from the top position, which will be an asset in college, especially wrestling at heavyweight. Ed comes from a very good high school program and has a good foundation of wrestling. He has a bright future here."

Schedule is blend of duals, invitationals leading up to conference championship
The unattached competition at Slippery Rock on November 5 is the first of 16 dates spanning five months.

The schedule features challenging duals at Lock Haven (Dec. 3) and Army (Jan. 15) along with the Colonial Athletic Association Duals (Jan. 20-21) and an open tournament hosted by a Penn State program that is ranked No. 10 in the nation. The Bearcats will conclude the regular season at the CAA Championship, which will be hosted by Drexel on March 3-4. The top two finishers at each weight class plus several wild cards will advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be held March 16-18 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

"In the Colonial, Hofstra has definitely estalbished itself as the premier team and really, one of top programs in the country," Robie said. "Old Dominion is on the move and getting a lot better, and Drexel, Rider, and Boston University are also very good programs."

Coming to the West Gym for home matches are Columbia (Feb. 4), East Stroudsburg (Feb. 8), Boston University (Feb. 12) and Franklin & Marshall (Feb. 18).

“The thing that excites me most about the schedule is the fact that there is a lot of balance," Robie said. "Being that our team will be made up of primarily true freshman, I think it’s important that we see some tough competition but at the same time we put ourselves in a position where we can experience some success. Wrestling at Lock Haven, an established program and then the following day at the Penn State Open will be a difficult challenge for our young team. With six home meets this season, people will have plenty of opportunities to get out and watch us wrestle.”

Gaining NCAA qualifiers a goal, but individual improvement is most important
Robie can point to a few individuals as potential NCAA qualifiers (Patterson, Wade, Owen, Bordas), but also wants to see the entire team show the improvement that is crucial for young wrestlers.

"One of my goals as coach is to get some guys to the NCAA Championship," Robie said. "If we can do that it would be a great experience for these young guys - to get there and see what it's all about. But our basic goal is to teach these guys what it takes to be successful. We're looking for guys who work hard on a daily basis and are committed to getting better."

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