Sports

Wrestling bounces back after loss to Harvard

Younger wrestlers get chance to grow against Roger Williams at Beauty, Beast competition

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, February 15, 2016

The Bears got off to a slow start against Harvard but slowly worked their way back into the match. Despite strong efforts from Justin Staudenmayer ’17 and Steven Galiardo ’17, Bruno eventually fell 25-10.

It was a packed house Sunday at the Pizzitola Sports Center, where over 700 spectators spent their Valentine’s Day at the second annual Beauty and the Beast competition. But the boisterous crowd was not enough to inspire the Bears to a victory over Ivy League rival Harvard. The day’s second contest against Roger Williams brought better results, giving Bruno a split on the day and the fans something positive to cheer about.

“This is our favorite event of the year. Everyone gets really hyped up for it,” said Justin Staudenmayer ’17. “We had a tough match against Harvard — a couple things didn’t go our way — and you can see that on the scoreboard. But overall I thought we fought hard, and then we picked things up against Roger Williams and turned things around.”

The first match of the day saw Bruno take on its Ancient Eight foe. Things got off to a great start for the Bears, with Josh Durso-Finley ’18 pulling off an exciting overtime victory that set the tone for the crowd’s day-long enthusiasm. But it did not take long for the Crimson to shift the momentum, as it quickly jumped out to a 13-3 lead through four matches.

Fortunately for the Bears, the middle weight classes, where they have found the greatest success this season, came next. Steven Galiardo ’17 started off their comeback with an impressive 11-4 victory, missing out on the major decision win by only a point. Standout Staudenmayer followed suit with a dominating 8-0 win by major decision, bringing the score to 13-10.

Down to just a three-point margin, Bruno put its faith in rookie Jon Viruet ’19, who admirably fought against Harvard’s No. 19 Devon Gobbo, but ultimately could not pull off the upset. The match’s last three contests were close calls, with the Bears falling in two of them by sudden victories. 

Bruno will have a couple weeks to work out the kinks before it goes up against its Ivy League competitors again at the EIWA championships. The Bears are focusing on turning their close losses into close wins, said Head Coach Todd Beckerman.

“In the Harvard match, I think we fought really hard,” Beckerman said. “We just didn’t win the close ones. I told those guys, we are going see Harvard again at the conference tournament. We are going to see all the other Ivies. We just have to win them next time around.”

In the second match of the day, the Bears found themselves up against in-state opponents Roger Williams, who are currently the third-highest ranked Division III team. A break against Division I competition may have been just what Bruno needed to boost its confidence as it heads into the final stretch of the season.

Durso-Finley started things off again for the Bears, but this time he could not come away with an opening win. Unlike in the Harvard match, the next stretch of guys picked up the slack during a dominating streak. Michael Russo ’18 kicked it off with a solid major decision victory, followed by notable performances by William McDonald ’17 and the always-reliable Staudenmayer.

McDonald registered a pin, grabbing six points for the Bears, and Staudenmayer recorded a win by technical fall. With two matches remaining and the dual-meet victory already secured, the Bears let some of their younger guys see some action, which made for a more competitive final score. Bruno left the mat with a 24-17 win.

The team now has one dual-meet left on the regular season schedule before it gears up for the EIWA and NCAA championships. The whole season has been a preparation for this postseason run, and the wins and losses from earlier in the season will not matter in the next couple of weeks, Beckerman said.

“This season we put them through a tough test to prepare them for this run,” he added. “We did a lot of a character building. We did a lot of traveling to put them in situations that make them uncomfortable, which (is) going to help us in the long run.”