Sports

Youthful wrestling team rallies but falls in Alumni Weekend meets

Six Bears, led by Staudenmayer ’17, win individual bouts in meets against Penn, Princeton

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, February 8, 2016

Zeke Salvo ‘18 prepares to grapple his opponent. He spearheaded the Brown comeback with an impressive 10-1 major decision against Princeton.

The wrestling team may have failed to capture a dual-meet victory on Alumni Weekend, but it would be unfair to say the Bears did not entertain. Despite losses to both Penn (5-3, 5-2 EIWA) and Princeton (6-2, 5-3), the young squad showed great promise for the future, battling through many close individual matches and registering several impressive wins.

“Every time we go in to the room, we are looking to work — looking to build,” said Head Coach Todd Beckerman. “It’s certainly a long process, trying to fix all the little things. We do have a young team, but we have high expectations for everyone when they get out there on the mat.”

It all started Saturday against Penn, where Bruno (3-8, 2-6) kept things neck and neck with the Quakers until the meet fell out of reach at the very end. After dropping the first two matches, the Bears got on the board with a victory from Michael Russo ’18, making the score 6-3. Two matches later, it was another sophomore, Charlie Banaszak ’18, who kept the team in the meet.

But it was the following match at 149 pounds that catapulted the day’s excitement to a peak. Steven Galiardo ’17 valiantly fought No. 12 CJ Cobb of Penn to a tie in regulation, nearly pulling off the upset in overtime. After going for a risky move in the extra period, Galiardo came up just short. Regardless of the loss, it was an inspired effort from the junior.

Down by six once again, Bruno turned to its star wrestler Justin Staudenmayer ’17, ranked 20th in the nation in his weight class. Facing a stiff challenge, Staudenmayer managed to register the win and brought the team within three. Unfortunately for the Bears, they faced mismatches in the final three weight classes and eventually fell by a score of 25-9. Though this tally might not indicate a competitive affair, the numbers on the board belied the contest’s closeness.

The following day, things got off to an ominous start against Princeton, as the team quickly dropped the meet’s first four matches to go down 15-0. Unfazed by the deficit, the Bears began to chip away at the large lead, beginning with an impressive win by major decision from Zeke Salvo ’18.

After losing the next match, Bruno went on a roll, winning the next three bouts and bringing the score to 18-16. The stretch started off on an unfortunate note, when Galiardo registered a six-point win by default after his opponent suffered a gruesome knee injury. Next up was Staudenmayer, who came away with yet another victory. As Jon Viruet ’19 stepped out onto the mat, his team now down just five, the atmosphere in the Pizzitola broke into a frenzy.

“At the end, our comeback really motivated the fans,” Viruet said. “They started going crazy. The team started getting rowdy. I was keeping track of the team score throughout the match, realizing that it was probably going to come down to me.”

Fueled by the energy from the crowd, Viruet managed to take down his senior opponent, giving Andrew LaBrie ’18 an opportunity to give Bruno the team victory in the last match. It was a tall task, as LaBrie found himself facing off against No. 16 Jonathan Schlepper, and while the sophomore gave a spirited effort, he could not quite pull off the upset.

The final score came to 21-16.

But after Sunday’s competition, it hardly seemed like Viruet was a member of a team that had lost its last two dual-meets. With only one graduating senior, the team has a lot to look forward to down the road, the first-year said.

“I was talking to (Assistant Coach Ophir Bernstein ’15.5), and I was telling him that I can’t wait until next year,” Viruet said. “Our potential is exponential.”

The Bears are now gearing up for next Sunday, Feb. 14, when they will host the second annual Beauty and the Beast competition with the gymnastics team. The event is quite the spectacle, with both a wrestling dual-meet and gymnastics meet occurring at the exact same time and place.

“I love it, absolutely love the event,” Beckerman said. “It’s a big circus. The atmosphere is great for the crowd. Both teams love it. They are excited for it.”

Topics: