Bruno take rough path on the road

Wrestling squad looks to beat rival Harvard on Saturday after up and down weekend

Contributing Writer
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The wrestling team competed against Princeton and No. 22 Penn Saturday, splitting the matches with a win and loss, respectively. The Bears went on to lose the following day to No. 14 Lehigh University Mountain Hawks.

In the first match of the weekend, the Bears (7-7, EIWA 2-5) defeated the Princeton Tigers (2-10, 2-4) 20-12. Billy Watterson ’14, a Herald contributing writer, started Bruno off with an 8-3 win in the 125-pound weight class. The Tigers fought back with three consecutive wins in the following weight classes, but the Bears were resilient, winning the next five of six matches and ending the competition with a commanding lead.

Bruno faced a tough opponent in the Quakers (7-3, 3-1), a squad with three ranked wrestlers. Ophir Bernstein ’15, defeated Penn’s Harrison Cook by a score of 14-3. With the win against Cook, Bernstein became Bruno’s only double-winner for the day, reaching an impressive season record of 16-6.

On Sunday, the Bears faced off against Lehigh (7-7, 3-4), losing a close match 27-16.

“Everybody wrestled hard against Lehigh,” said Head Coach David Amato. “There were many hard-nosed, high intensity matches on Sunday.”

Watterson helped Bruno achieve an early 6-0 lead, beating out the Mountain Hawks’ Alex Abreu with a major decision, 13-3. Lehigh quickly answered back, beating the Bears in three consecutive matches. In the 157-pound class match, Philip Marano ’14 won in a one-minute sudden victory period, helping Bruno regain some momentum. But Lehigh successfully won three of the final four matches  to win the afternoon’s contest 27-16.

“We have had an up-and-down season, with wins against (Stanford University) and (Cleveland State University), but also several tough losses,” Amato said. “The following month is going to tell us a lot.”

In the coming weeks, the squad will compete at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships March 8-9 and the NCAA Championships March 21-23. Last season, two members of the squad — Bernstein and Dave Foxen ’12 — were able to successfully qualify for the NCAA Championships as a result of their performances at the EIWA Championships.

“If everyone keeps competing at the current level, five or six guys can make the (NCAA) tournament,” Bernstein said. “We just have to keep taking care of business, and wrestle to our potential.”

Coming into this season, expectations for the squad started out and continue to be high, Amato said.

“The team is really focused. We want to be the best, not just a little above average,” Bernstein said. “The attitude is contagious, it will show at the EIWA Championships.”

Bruno travels to Massachusetts this weekend to compete against Harvard and the Boston University Terriers.

“We saw Harvard beat Lehigh on Sunday before our match,” Amato said. “(Harvard) has five guys nationally ranked — we have to wrestle our best match of the year so far.”