ITHACA, NY - The University at Buffalo wrestling team finished
in sixth place among 12 squads at the Body Bar Invitational on
Saturday at the Newman Center on the campus of Cornell University.
Sophomore Kevin Smith earned the Bulls' top individual finish
by capturing second-place in the 133-pound weight class. Including
Smith, three additional Bulls placed in the tournament.
In the 133-pound weight class, Smith rattled off three straight victories. In order to reach the championship bout, the 20th nationally-ranked Smith faced off against sixth nationally-ranked Mike Grey of Cornell, a 2008 All-American. Smith dominated Grey throughout the match to earn his spot in the championship bout with an 8-5 decision.
"Kevin was the highlight of the tournament for us. He is starting to believe that he is a top-six wrestler and defeating the top-six wrestler in the nation will only make him believe it more and more. He is taking it one step at a time and is stepping up to the challenge every time he steps on the mat" said head coach Jim Beichner.
In the championship round, Smith faced a familiar opponent in Mid-American Conference rival Danny Mitcheff of Kent State. Smith and the 11th nationally-ranked Mitcheff, battled for three periods with Mitcheff earning a 6-3 decision over Smith. Smith's second-place finish was quite an improvement over his fifth-place finish in 2008.
Junior Jimmy Hamel achieved his personal-best finish at the Body Bar by capturing third place in the 197-pound weight class after finishing in sixth place in 2008 and fifth place in 2007. In the semifinals, the junior faced off against fifth nationally-ranked Cam Simaz of Cornell. Hamel fell by technical fall to the 2009 All-American, 20-3 at 5:16. Hamel collected an 8-3 decision over Jack Callender of Drexel followed by a medical forfeit by George Kocher of Cornell to finish in third.
Following an opening 5-4 loss to Wyoming's Dallas Hintz, redshirt-freshman Matt Bogardus captured three victories including a 5-3 decision over teammate Brian Sheehan. Bogardus fell to Keith Witt of Kent State in 47 seconds to finish sixth in the 174-pound weight class.
"Matt did not have a great tournament. He takes losses hard and that is important. We want that attitude in our wrestlers. We are glad that he was upset and that he wants and expects more of himself. We want expect more of him too," stated Beichner.
In the 149-pound weight class, sophomore Desi Green finished in sixth place. In the opening round, Green recorded a major decision over Brian Alves of host Cornell, 16-6. The 15th nationally-ranked Green was upset by Clarion's James Fleming in a 5-3 second overtime sudden victory. In wrestlebacks, Green defeated Ithaca's Blaine Woszcazak, 8-6 in the first sudden victory period for his 50th career victory. The sophomore was forced to medically fofefit his next match to earn sixth place.
Finishing in sixth place, the Bulls matched their all-time best finish at the event, achieved in 2007.
"As a team, it was a great tournament. This was the best competition we have seen all year. With that being said, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a young team that is committed to working hard. There were many positives we can walk away with from the event with the most evident being Kevin Smith's performance," said Beichner.
The Bulls (1-0-1, 0-0 MAC) will take the week off from competition before traveling to Primm, NV to compete in the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday, December 4 through Saturday, December 5.