Release: March 3, 2010
VESTAL, N.Y. -- After producing the highest dual match win percentage in 25 years, Binghamton wrestling (14-7-2) heads to Rider University with high hopes as the Colonial Athletic Association Championship begins Friday. The two-day event, held in Rider's Alumni Gymnasium, begins with quarterfinal matches at 1 p.m. Friday and concludes Saturday afternoon.
The Bearcats have no less than five individuals who are strong contenders for titles, raising the possibility of multiple NCAA qualifiers and a legitimate shot at the CAA team championship. The CAA was granted 18 automatic qualifying bids spread across the 10 weight classes. In addition, CAA wrestlers will be in the hunt for the remaining 46 at-large berths, which will be announced on March 10.
"This is the first year we have a team that is in position to win a team title," head coach Pat Popolizio said. "If everyone wrestles to their ability this is a realistic and achievable goal for this weekend. There are a lot of guys on our team that are wrestling at the conference tournament for the first time. We need to use the great season we put together this year to help overcome the challenges of inexperience at this important tournament. We have been preparing for this and the NCAA tournament all year."
Expected to receive No. 1 seeds are junior 141-pound Anwar Goeres, sophomore 157-pound Justin Lister and and freshman 184-pound Nate Schiedel. Senior 174-pound Josh Patterson, reigning CAA champion and All-American, will likely be seeded No. 2, as will freshman 149-pound Donnie Vinson.
Goeres sports a 32-8 overall record and is 26th in the NCAA Coaches' Panel Rankings, which are used to help determine the NCAA at-large berths. The CAA has been allotted just one NCAA automatic spot at 141 pounds. Goeres placed third last season.
Lister is 25-8 overall and is 22nd in the Coaches' Rankings. He beat two-time CAA champion Jon Bonilla-Bowman from Hofstra in a dual match to earn a likely top seed. The CAA received three automatic slots at 157, making Lister's road to the NCAAs a bit easier.
Schiedel is 26-7 overall and ranked 26th in the Coaches' Poll. He showed his mettle with a pin of then top-ranked Ben Clymer of Hofstra and had a team-best 19-3 dual match record in 2009-10.
Patterson moved down from 184 to 174 in January, and will continue his quest for a second All-America honor and national title. He is 23-6 overall and ranked 13th in the Coaches' Poll, but will have to take the No. 2 seed after losing to George Mason's Bagna Tovuujav 7-6 in a February dual.
Vinson is 30-10 and ranked 20th in the Coaches' Poll. Like Lister, he will benefit from the three slots given to his 149-pound weight class. Vinson is coming off a win in BU's final dual with No. 4 Oklahoma State.
Sophomore 165-pound Matt Kaylor (32-16, ranked 28th), senior heavyweight Corey Waite (33-15, ranked No. 3 in CAA) and freshman 125-pound James Inghram (3-1 vs. CAA foes) are also in the hunt for CAA placewinner status.
"Our goal is to qualify as many guys as we can for NCAA Championships," Popolizio said. "It is realistic to qualify 5-6 guys."
Hofstra has won the last eight CAA crowns but the Pride will be pushed by 24th-ranked Old Dominion, Binghamton and Rider. The Bearcats finished fourth as a team last year - the program's highest conference finish in seven years of Division I conference membership.
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