Wrestling team participates in nationwide competitions

Eye-opening California trip, Staudenmayer ’17 highlight Bruno’s winter break

Contributing Writer
Friday, January 23, 2015

Ophir Bernstein ’15.5 attempts to pin an opponent. A few Bears stood out in their meets over winter break, while many others appreciated trips all over the country, including visits to California and Maryland.

The wrestling team was busy over break, competing in a variety of events across the nation. From Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Stanford, California, Bruno put its skills to the test and came away with some solid results.

“It was good to see our guys compete out there, and it helps us prepare for the NCAA tournament at the end of the year,” said Head Coach Todd Beckerman.

The Bears started off the winter recess by heading to Evanston, Illinois to participate in the 52nd Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Justin Staudenmayer ’17 and Billy Watterson ’15 led the way, bringing home fifth- and sixth-place finishes respectively in their weight classes. The effort caps a strong start to the season for Staudenmayer, who is now ranked 18th nationally in his weight class after placing in the teams’s first four events.
When asked about what has triggered this string of successes, Staudenmayer attributed them to his change in attitude.

“I started to wrestle pressure-free, because when you go out there and there is a lot on your mind and you’re worried about the outcome, you tend to come out tense and not open up as much,” he said. “Of course winning is fun, but you want to have fun doing it.”

Thanks in part to Staudenmayer’s strong efforts, Bruno finished 20th out of 59 teams at the end of the two-day tournament. It was a promising outcome for the Bears, who faced stiff competition from the Big 10, Big 12 and ACC in an event Beckerman labeled as one of the toughest of the year.

The David H. Lehman Franklin and Marshall Open was the Bears’ next destination, and this time around, other wrestlers found success. Augustus Marker ’16 and Richard Muniz ’17 wrestled their way onto the podium, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, in their weight classes. The team’s first-years also put up an impressive showing, with Michael Russo ’18, Zeke Salvo ’18 and Jimmy Bell ’18 each collecting at least one win during the tournament.

After competing in Lancaster, Bruno kicked off the dual meet portion of its season by flying out to Los Angeles for the first stop in a California road trip. Beckerman noted that it was a great way for the team not only to prepare for the NCAA tournament, but also to build important alum connections in the Golden State.

The Bears first squared off against California Polytechnic State University and California State University, Bakersfield, resulting in two close losses. Staudenmayer and Watterson steadied the team in the two matches, winning all four of their individual bouts.

The team continued its trip up the coast, eventually landing in Stanford, California for a trio meet with Stanford University and Menlo College. Though te Bears once again fell short of victory against the Cardinal, they bounced back nicely to take down the Oaks.

But it was not just about the wins or losses on the California trip. Beckerman highlighted the team’s tour of Facebook’s headquarters with a Brown alum and running across the Golden Gate Bridge as some of the best moments of the journey.

The team “definitely got really close, talking the whole time while traveling,” Staudenmayer said. “Being in the car, it was a different way to interact — different than wrestling together.”

After falling to seventh-ranked Cornell last weekend, the Bears are now looking forward to Brown’s first-ever Beauty and the Beast event, in which the wrestling team and gymnastics squad will compete simultaneously in the Pizzitola Center Saturday. Beckerman and Staudenmayer are both looking forward to the extravaganza, with high hopes that the event could be truly special.

“It should be a great atmosphere for the team and our fans. I’m excited to see what it will be like. Hopefully we can get a lot of people out there to watch,” Beckerman said.


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