Sports

Wrestling notches landslide victory on senior day against Hofstra

Bears give performance to remember as captain Marker ’16 wins final career bout at Pizzitola Center

By
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Captain Gus Marker ’16 faces an opponent during the last home match of his career. The senior finished 8-0, receiving a standing ovation.

In the final dual meet of the regular season Saturday, the wrestling team found its form in a dominating 37-6 rout of EIWA opponent Hofstra. Despite the many emotions of Senior Day, which began with a ceremony honoring the Bears’ (5-10, 3-8 EIWA) sole senior — captain Gus Marker ’16 — the team never lost sight of its main focus: a conference win. Bruno honored the day with victories in all eight bouts.

Marker “is a great leader on the team,” said Charlie Banaszak ’17. “I was happy to go out and get the win for him.”

Head Coach Todd Beckerman was similarly pleased with the result.

“This is the best we have wrestled all year,” Beckerman said. “This is exactly what we need heading into the postseason.”

Mike Russo ’18 set the tone early on with a tight, hard-fought victory in the 125-pound division.

“We have a little history,” Russo said about his Hofstra opponent, Bryan Damon. “We’re both from New Jersey and I wrestled him in high school a lot, so I knew his style going into the match.”

Russo’s victory set the tone for the rest of the day. In the second match of the meet, Banaszak followed with a decisive 17-1 victory at the 141-pound weight class. He made quick work of his opponent, winning via technical fall — mercy rule — half way through the second period and putting Brown up 9-0.

Next up, Stephen Galiardo ’17 at 149 pounds and All-American hopeful Justin Staudenmayer ’17 at 157 pounds both achieved commanding victories by major decision with 17-5 and 10-1 wins, respectively, putting Brown up 22-0 after four bouts.

Staudenmayer notched his 13th straight win this season, a streak dating back to the team’s Jan. 16 dual meet versus Cornell.

Twin brothers Christian and Andrew LaBrie ’18, as well as Austin Pfarr ’18 also tallied commanding wins, bringing the team score to 33-0.

The highlight of the day came as Marker took to the Pizzitola mats for the last time in a Brown uniform.

“Obviously on Senior Day you want to go out there and win,” Marker said. “You don’t want to walk out of the mat the last time in your home gym with a loss.”

But Marker also emphasized that his ultimate goal was a Brown victory, saying, “Home or away, Senior Day or not, we’re out here trying to contribute wins to the team.”

Marker followed his own words to a T. In the 197-pound division, he easily handled his Hofstra opponent. A takedown 45 seconds into the first period set the tone for the entire match, as shouts of encouragement echoed throughout the stadium from teammates and fans alike.

Through two periods, the captain had amassed a 6-0 lead, and he ended the match 8-0. At the buzzer, Marker received a standing ovation from the crowd and his teammates as well as some hugs from coaches.

“He’s been a leader from day one,” Beckerman said . “He has done everything that we needed as a captain. I’m exited to see what the future holds for him.”

But by no means is the wrestling season over. The Bears now enter postseason play, which begins with the EIWA Championships at Princeton March 5. Success in postseason conference play will advance Bruno to the NCAA Championships March 17, which take place this year on the biggest of stages: Madison Square Garden.

Coming off such a dominant victory, the team seems excited for its shot at NCAAs. “I’ve been waiting for the postseason for a long time now,” Andrew LaBrie  said. “I feel like I hit a rut in the middle of the season, but I’m ready to finish strong in the conference and NCAAs.”

“I think we have a lot of guys that are clicking at the right time,” Beckerman said. “Hopefully they will be able to punch their tickets to Madison Square Garden.”

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