Senior Jimmy Hamel picked up right where he left off in 2009-10, winning 3-1 for his 89th career win, this time at his new weight class of 184. This was also his first dual meet in his home state, as the Natick, MA native led off the match with an important win for the team.
After Boston squared the match back up at 3-3, sophomore heavyweight Brett Correll earned a 6-1 decision in his first match after missing most of last season due to injury. In the very next matchup, Taylor Golba made a terrific comeback to give the Bulls three crucial points. Down 5-0 going into the third period, the Buffalo, NY native went on a tear and had three takedowns and rode his opponent out to force an overtime period. Just fifteen seconds into extra time, Golba had yet another takedown to complete the comeback win at 125 pounds.
One of the marquee matchups of the night was at 133 pounds, where redshirt junior Kevin Smith took on 20th ranked Fred Santiate in a meeting of nationally ranked grapplers. Smith fell just shy of the win, losing 3-2 in a dramatic finish to the match. Again the Bulls rallied though, as Chris Conti earned a 7-0 shutout at 141 pounds.
The team got a big point boost in the 149 pound match, as defending Mid American Conference champion Desi Green earned a tech fall in a 22-6 win over the Terriers' defending national qualifier at that weight class. The junior - who owns the program's single-season record for takedowns - proved why, picking up five in the first period alone before his tech fall helped the Bulls earn five points for a 17-6 lead in the overall meet.
Mark Lewandowski padded the lead in the team's final win of the night, a 7-1 win at 157 pounds. His opponent was the Minnesota state champion as a high school senior, but the Depew, NY native earned three near-fall points in the second period to take control of the match.
The win extended the Buffalo lead in the all-time series between the two schools, with the last meeting coming in 1998.
Out of the ten weight divisions offered at the UB Open Sunday morning, the Buffalo squad placed wrestlers in the finals in eight of them as the Bulls capped off a strong opening week of the season. The team split the eight championship matches, with four titles and four second-place results, battling over 200 wrestlers from some of the top schools in Divisions I, II and III.
Taylor Golba, fresh off a great comeback victory at Boston, cruised through his bracket with four straight wins to take the 125-pound championship. The Buffalo, NY native defeated Kory Mines of Edinboro, 8-3. At 133 pounds, Kevin Smith found his way to the finals before facing another tough opponent - Ian Paddock of Ohio State - who came in ranked 16th in the nation at 133. Smith fell 6-0 to take second place.
Sophomore Andrew Schutt made his season debut at 141 count for Buffalo, sweeping his four matches to clinch the second team title. Schutt controlled tempo throughout his match with Kasey Davis of Edinboro and took the match with a score of 6-1.
Teammate Desi Green had more of a challenge in his championship match, after slicing through the 149 pound bracket with relative ease. Facing Jeffrey Pelton of Notre Dame College, who was a NAIA national champion last season, Green was frustrated through all three periods, earning the 2-1 win after his opponent was penalized for stalling late in the final period.
Mark Lewandowski had a terrific day at 157 pounds, winning three straight physical matches before facing Ohio State's Colt Sponseller in the final. Sponseller came into the match ranked fifth in the nation and he earned critical points late to earn a 4-1 win.
In the 165 pound bracket, junior John-Martin Cannon came out with a purpose and was one of the highest-scoring members of the team, posting totals of 20, 22, 13 and eight points in his four total wins to take the championship.
Senior Jimmy Hamel had a shorter trip to the finals in the 184 pound bracket, winning two matches before losing 6-3 in the championship. Brett Correll had a similar result, losing to the number one seed in the heavyweight finals after recording two straight wins.
The Bulls have will now rest up and prepare for one of the biggest dual meets in program history as it welcomes in Oklahoma this coming Friday. The meeting will be the first since the 1975-76 season, when OU downed the Bulls 39-7 in Norman. It will be the first time in program history the Sooners will be in Alumni Arena for a dual meet, with match time set for 3:00 pm.
The very next morning, the two teams will head east to SUNY Brockport for the Oklahoma Gold Classic tournament.