Release: March 30, 2010
VESTAL, N.Y. -- After producing the finest season in the program's eight-year Division I tenure, Binghamton wrestling swept the Colonial Athletic Association postseason awards, voted on by the CAA's eight head coaches. It is the first time that any BU wrestler or coach has earned top conference honors and underscores the rapid ascent of the program on the regional and national level.
Head coach Pat Popolizio was named Coach of the Year, sophomore 157-pound Justin Lister was voted Wrestler of the Year and freshman 149-pound Donnie Vinson earned co-Rookie of the Year honors with Joe Booth of Drexel. Freshman 184-pound Nate Schiedel also earned All-Rookie honors.
Popolizio and his staff orchestrated a storybook season from start to finish in 2009-10. The Bearcats went 14-7-2 during the regular season - the highest dual meet win percentage (65.2%) in 26 years. Binghamton then produced four CAA champions en route to the first conference title at any level in the program's 40-year history. Six NCAA qualifiers and one shining All-American (Lister) then produced BU's best national finish (Division I) with a 21st-place showing.
"This award is a reflection of the guys on the team and the staff I have assembled," Popolizio said. "We would not have accomplished our goals without all their hard work and dedication. I am particularly pleased to be honored in a conference with so many great coaches with so many years of experience. I looked up to many of these guys at the start of my career and am thrilled to be able to continue to compete against them in the years to come."
After going a solid 13-7 in duals during the regular season, Lister's confidence soared at the CAA and NCAA Championships. At the CAA event, he went 3-0 as the top seed to capture the crown. At the NCAAs, an unseeded Lister's two pins over top-4 opponents, fourth place finish and All-America honors was the talk of the tournament in Omaha.
His four victories - especially his pins over fourth-seeded Cyler Sanderson of Penn State and third-seeded Jesse Dong of Virginia Tech - generated substantial buzz throughout the venue. His shocking pin of Dong - in just 1:18 - was one of only two pins earned in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of all the weight classes (70 matches). That fall clinched All-America honors for Lister, who later dropped Sanderson, a former All-American, three-time NCAA qualifier and Big 12 champion for Iowa State, in the consolation semifinals.
"Justins season is a testament to a lot of hard work and a newfound belief in his abilities," Popolizio said. "He is a physically gifted athlete who has proven he has the ability to score points in every position on anyone. His run at the CAA and the NCAA was a result of his belief that he could compete at this level."
Lister finished his second collegiate season with a 32-10 record, including 10 pins.
Vinson earned runnerup honors at the CAA Championship and advanced to the NCAAs, where he eliminated 12th-seeded Mario Mason of Minnesota, 5-2, before bowing out. Vinson went 15-6 in duals and won the season-opening BU/Brute Open and was fifth at both the Cornell Body Bar and Penn State Open. He completed his first official collegiate season with a 33-13 record.
"Donnie had an incredible season for a first-year competitor," Popolizio said. "He won over 30 matches and was in every bout he wrestled. This year of seasoning will set him up for three more years of potential All America and national title honors. We are excited to have him as a leader of this program."
Schiedel had a team-best 19-3 dual record and captured a CAA title before dropping a pair of close decisions in Omaha. He went 29-9 overall and won a title at the New York State Championship as well.
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