The men’s wrestling team earned three big home wins this past weekend, putting the squad in contention for second place in the Ivy League standings. Bruno defeated Boston University 19-16 and Roger Williams 41-9 Saturday and took down Ivy rival Harvard 22-17 Sunday before falling to Lehigh 35-3. The victories give the Bears momentum heading into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in early March.
Bruno got off to a slow start in 2012, falling to Rutgers and Rider in early January. But decisive wins against Franklin & Marshall and Sacred Heart, as well as an upset victory against Princeton, have put Bruno in a position to finish the season strong despite injuries.
“We’re kind of depleted,” said Head Coach Dave Amato. “We’re missing two or three starters, but the people that are wrestling are stepping up and have done a great job. They have bonded as a team, and they wrestle hard every match.”
Billy Watterson ’14 and Ophir Bernstein ’15 won both of their matches Saturday to help Bruno to two wins on the day. Ricky Baily ’12 also wrestled well, beating both his opponents.
But Bruno’s biggest win of the weekend was against Harvard, Watterson said.
“Everyone was saying they would beat us,” he said. “It came down to the last two matches, and one of our guys who has been hurt, Sterling Hecox (’15) … came out and pinned (his) guy, basically with one arm. That was huge.”
“All of these wins have been team efforts,” Amato said. “Our guys battled tremendously.”
Despite success against the Crimson, Bruno could not muster enough strength to topple No. 15 Lehigh. Watterson was the lone Bear to post an individual victory in the loss, taking his match 10-6 in the 125-pound weight class.
Bruno will welcome Columbia Saturday before travelling to the EIWA championships to close out the season. A win against the Lions would give Bruno sole possession of second place in the Ivy League standings.
“I’m very proud of the whole team for being unselfish,” Amato said. “Guys have been asked to wrestle out of weight classes, they’ve been asked to wrestle when injured. … Our team has been through a lot the last year, and these guys have hung in there. I’m really proud of them.”