The wrestling team hosted Columbia this weekend for its final home match of the season and came up just short, falling to the Lions 19-15.
The loss stung a little more than usual, as it was the last time the class of 2015 would be wrestling in the Pizzitola Center. Prior to the match, the Bears honored their six departing seniors: Ophir Bernstein ’15.5, Daniel Flowers ’15, Zachary Tanenbaum ’15, Sebastien Levin ’15, Ricky McDonald ’15 and Billy Watterson ’15.
“I have grown very close with these guys, and it is going to be tough to watch them go,” said Justin Staudenmayer ’17. “The feeling is surreal, to say the least.”
The match began with a 3-1 decision at 125 pounds by Watterson. The bout was even until Watterson successfully completed a takedown that gave him the win. The Lions quickly countered with two consecutive victories at 133 pounds and 141 pounds.
Heading into the match’s fourth bout, Columbia led 9-3, but Bruno responded with back-to-back victories of its own. At 149 pounds, Steven Galiardo ’17 picked up a 6-4 win with two takedowns and two escapes. Next up, at 157 pounds, Staudenmayer knotted the score at 9-9 with a close 2-1 decision.
The Lions pulled away yet again with two more consecutive victories. With three bouts left in the match, Columbia led 15-9. But the Bears were not giving in without a fight. Two seniors were able to successfully win their bouts to tie up the score again.
Bernstein won his final battle at the Pizzitola with a 1-0 decision, recording an escape early in the third period that led to his victory. Levin then finished his bout with an escape and a pair of takedowns that resulted in his 7-5 win. With one bout left, the score was even at 15.
In the heavyweight matchup, Augustus Marker ’16 was unable to pull away with the win. The game’s final contest went to the Lions with a 10-0 win via major decision, sealing the 19-15 match victory for Columbia.
This marks two consecutive weekends in which Bruno has a lost a match after heading into the final bout tied with its opponent. Last week, Harvard beat the Bears 21-17 after the score was even at 17 with one matchup left.
“It is absolutely frustrating for us considering that these matches were so close,” Staudenmayer said. “It just goes to show that we can be right there with these teams.”
Next up, the Bears will travel to Lehigh University to compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships March 6-7. They will then travel to St. Louis, Missouri, to compete in the NCAA Championships March 19-21.
“Moving into the postseason, our training really becomes focused on each individual,” Staudenmayer said. “Every guy on the team has something different that they have been working on all year, and this is the time to really perfect and fine-tune these things.”