After competing nationwide over winter break, the wrestling team set its sights on conference play with matches against Sacred Heart and Bucknell this weekend at the Pizzitola Sports Center, coming away with a win and a loss, respectively.
“Right now our training is geared toward the big dance in March, and we are taking it day by day,” said Ahmed Elyased ’16. “As a team we competed well this past weekend, but there’s always room for improvement. We are learning from every match we compete in, and our aim is to improve rather than settle.”
The Bears (2-5, 1-2 EIWA) competed in Brown’s first-ever “Beauty and the Beast” event Saturday, which featured simultaneous gymnastics and wrestling meets. The event drew a capacity crowd that witnessed a commanding 37-6 Bruno win over the Pioneers (0-10, 0-6). The Bears won nine of their 10 bouts on the day. Sacred Heart’s sole win of the meet came via fall at the 141-pound weight class.
At 157 pounds, Justin Staudenmayer ’17 picked up his 24th win of the season via technical fall. Zeke Salvo ’18 and Ophir Bernstein ’15 also notched wins by fall to add to the Bears’ total. Bernstein’s win gave him his team-leading ninth fall of the season.
“That was the biggest crowd I’ve seen in my whole Brown career,” Bernstein said. “Both the wrestlers and the gymnasts had great performances, and the crowd was into every wrestling match and gymnastics event, so the night was definitely a success.”
The following day, the squad faced off against the Bison (11-3, 5-0) but came up short in a 28-10 loss. Bucknell won seven of the meet’s 10 bouts to take home its 11th victory of the season and remain undefeated in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association. Bruno scored consecutive victories in the 174- and 184-pound weight classes. At 174 pounds, Ricky McDonald ’15 registered a 13-6 victory, which featured three takedowns, while Bernstein, at 184 pounds, earned a 12-1 major decision win. Staudenmayer added another victory to his team-leading season total with a 5-1 win.
“We had some ups and downs this weekend,” Bernstein said. “Obviously, losing a dual isn’t a result we’re satisfied with, but we’re really just focused on fixing the mistakes we make and improving every week.”
“We know that the most important matches are at the conference tournament and nationals,” he added. “So as long as we keep improving until then, we’ll be in good shape.”
Next up, the Bears conclude their four-meet home stand Saturday against Binghamton University (5-7, 3-2) on Armed Forces and Teacher Appreciation Day.