Immediate Release: March 4, 2011
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- Binghamton wrestling had a strong Day 1 at the Colonial Athletic Association Championship, hosted by Rider University (N.J.) Friday at Alumni Gym. The defending conference champion Bearcats advanced six wrestlers into Sunday's finals and as a team, they sit in second place with 66 points, behind only Hofstra (70.5) in what has become a two-team race among the seven teams competing.
The half-dozen total is one better than last year, when BU put five wrestlers into the finals and came away with four champions and the program's first team title. However, they will have to overtake a Hofstra team that put seven individuals into title bouts.
"Our guys looked good today," head coach Pat Popolizio said. "Donnie (Vinson), Anwar (Goeres) and Justin (Lister) getting pins in their semifinal matches was huge, for momentum, team points and to lift our entire team. We were in every semifinal and had a shot to win each one. Tomorrow is a whole new day and the tournament will be in our hands because we see Hofstra head-to-head in three finals (141, 165, 184). Our guys in the consolations have to keep battling, picking up points and finishing third."
Making the finals were all five returning NCAA qualifiers: nationally-ranked sophomores Donnie Vinson (149) and Nate Schiedel (184), reigning All-American Justin Lister (165) and Anwar Goeres (141) and Matt Kaylor (157). Joining the group was sophomore 197-pound John Paris.
Vinson (25-3), currently ranked seventh by WIN Magazine, ninth by Intermat and 10th in the NCAA Final Coaches' Panel Rankings, was commanding in his two wins. He rolled in his quarterfinal win over unseeded Zach Clemente of Hofstra, posting six takedowns and three back points for an 18-6 major decision. In the semifinals, Vinson was all business again, wrapping up fifth-seeded Joey Metzler of ODU off the opening whistle, driving him to the mat and pinning him in 19 seconds.
Lister (21-6),the fourth-seed in a tough weight class, pinned both his opponents and seems to be channeling his magic from last year's postseason run. In the quarterfinals, he turned a 5-0 lead into a pin at the end of the second period. Lister got a cradle on fifth-seeded Kyle Czarnecki of Boston and ended the bout in 4:44. Then in the semifinals against top-seeded Joe Booth of Drexel, Lister put Booth to his back and notched another pin in 2:38. That win clinched an NCAA berth for Lister, since the top three in the CAA gain bids. Lister was scoreless late in the first when he turned Booth and powered him to his back, getting a quick pin. He will face second-seeded Paul Gillespie of Hofstra in the final.
Goeres, who received a first-round bye, notched a pin in 1:11 over third-seeded Aaron Nestor in the semifinals. He will face top-seeded Vincente Varela of Hofstra in the championship.
Schiedel (32-6), ranked 13th by WIN, 16th by Intermat and 16th in the Coaches' Panel Rankings, worked for a 5-1 decision over fourth-seeded Brock Mantella of Boston. He will face second-seeded Ben Clymer of Hofstra in a rematch of last year's championship match, which Schiedel won 4-3.
Kaylor (27-9), the top seed, recorded six takedowns in his 14-4 major decision over fourth-seeded Jaaziah Bethea of George Mason. He will face third-seeded Ramon Santiago of Rider in the final.
Paris, the third seeded sophomore, earned a trip to the finals with two full seven-minute efforts. He beat sixth-seeded Joseph Ferber of Rider 8-3 in the quarterfinals and then was in a battle with second-seeded Brandon Palik of Drexel that went down to the final seconds. Tied 3-3 with 10 seconds left and trying to escape, Paris finally got out and immediately spun for a reversal and back points in the closing seconds of a 9-3 win. He nearly had the pin at the buzzer.
Steeley got things going for BU in the first match of the day. Trailing third-seeded Chuck Zeisloft of Rider 3-1 in the third, sixth-seeded Steeley got a reversal and subsequent back points to go ahead 6-3. He nearly registered the pin with Zeisloft's shoulders inches from the mat for the entire final minute. He then lost a heartbreaker to second-seeded Steve Bonanno of Hofstra in the semifinals. Trailing 6-4 late in the match, Steeley escaped and spun for position on Bonanno as time expired but officials ruled the takedown wasn't soon enough and amid a chorus of complaints from the Binghamton faithful, Bonanno accepted the 6-5 decision.
Reed, sixth-seeded and giving away lots of weight at heavyweight, battled for a takedown in the final 15 seconds to seal a 5-1 upset of third-seeded Kevin Innis of Boston in the quarters. In the semifinals, Reed pushed second-seeded Jack Callender of Drexel to the closing seconds before succumbing 8-6. He trailed 5-2 before mounting a comeback. A third-period escape drew him to within 6-5 but as he pressed for the lead, Callender got a takedown with 35 seconds left. After his escape, Reed ran out of time.
Third-seeded McGarity posted a 4-3 decision over sixth-seeded Justin Wieller of Drexel before losing to second-seeded Ryan Patrovich of Hofstra, 4-1 in the semis.
Consolation matches begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with the finals and other placement matches starting at 1 p.m.
The CAA has been afforded 17 automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Championship, held March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The CAA champion at five weight classes (141, 157, 184, 197, Hwt.), the top two finishers at three weights (125, 149, 174) and the top three at 133 and 165 will all advance. Additionally, the NCAA will announce 48 at-large qualifiers on March 9. A total of 33 wrestlers will compete at each weight class at the NCAA Championship.
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