Nino Bastianelli ’21 picked up two crucial victories this weekend to close out the wrestling team’s regular season, helping the Bears edge Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association rivals Harvard and Sacred Heart. Bastianelli, who competes in the 197 lb weight class, decked his Crimson opponent for a pin in just 1 minute, 17 seconds Saturday and earned a 7-2 regular decision against Sacred Heart Sunday. As a team, Brown finished its dual against Harvard tied 18-18 and was awarded the tiebreaker of most pins due to Bastianelli’s victory. Bastianelli’s win over Sacred Heart was also essential in a hard-fought 18-15 Bruno triumph.
Bastianelli has battled to a 17-11 record this season, including three pins and three technical falls. He leads the Bears in dual points scored with 33. Before coming to Brown, he was a four-time high school All-State wrestler in Michigan and a state champion as a senior. Next, Bastianelli will look to qualify for the 2020 NCAA Championships by placing highly at the EIWA Championships March 6 and 7. For his impressive performance this weekend, Bastianelli has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: In both of this weekend’s duals, your match ended up deciding the outcome. How do you handle the pressure of a close dual meet and focus on your own match?
Bastianelli: It’s a team effort out there. There are 10 matches, and we need everyone in the lineup doing their job. And that’s all it is — just going out there, doing your job (and) doing what you’re supposed to do.
Against Harvard, you earned a pivotal pin for the Bears, and you have an impressive 12 career falls. Are you always looking for the big move?
Definitely. You definitely want to get the pin — when it comes, it comes.
What was the importance of getting an Ivy League win over Harvard in the final home match of the year for you and your team?
It was a big win. They’ve beaten some teams that we lost to, and we’ve beaten some teams that they lost to, so it was a big dual. You want to win at home in the last dual of the season, get the fans into it, get ready for (the EIWA Championships) coming up and ride that momentum.
You’ve had a breakout season this year, cementing yourself in the starting lineup and earning a career high 17 wins and counting. What changes have you made that have led to that jump?
I haven’t made really huge changes. I just keep listening to the coaches like always and keep working.
Throughout this season you’ve been a strong wrestler from the top position. How have you been working to improve that aspect of your game?
Pretty much the same thing. I’m just working hard at it, listening to the coaches and making the necessary adjustments.
How are you working to peak at the right time as the end of the season approaches?
We’re getting ready for the (EIWA Championships) coming up in two weeks. We’re getting our practice schedule right, making sure we feel good and making sure everything is prepared and we’re ready for March 6 and March 7.
What are your goals heading into this year’s postseason?
The goal is always the same every year — to win and just keep moving forward. I want to place at EIWAs, qualify for NCAAs and place there.
This article has been edited for length and clarity.