Binghampton takes down AU wrestling in EIWA home dual
Josh Terao, Tom Page and Jeric Kasunic capture individual wins, but Eagles drop 21-11 to Binghampton
Midway through 285-pound junior Brett Dempsey’s wrestling match against Binghamton sophomore Connor Calkins, Sunday’s team dual looked to be close. Binghampton had captured a win in the 184-bout, and AU responded with a victory just one weight class up. Dempsey and Calkins were battling for team points as well as individual success at 285, and with less than two minutes to wrestle, the men were tied.
“He’s not going to shoot, Connor, we have to create action.” Calkins, hearing the calls from his coach, moved into position and took Dempsey down for two points, squeezing out the W.
The Bearcats then went on to win all but two of the remaining matches, leaving Bender Arena with a 25-11 win and an eighth EIWA conference victory. The Eagles, on the other hand, moved to 0-7 in the conference and 3-8 overall, a record that can be attributed to several factors, according to head coach Teague Moore, but is most notably a result of injuries and illnesses within the roster.
“We’re in a tough time as a program and as a team because we’re not showing up with our full lineup today, we’ve got nagging things that are holding us down,” Moore said. “We are a very capable team when we have everybody healthy and firing on all cylinders, and that’s what we’re focused on. Let’s get back there, and let’s do it in time to be prepared for EIWA’s and NCAAs.”
A noticeable absence in AU’s starting lineup on Saturday was senior captain Esteban Gomez-Rivera, a 133-pound wrestler who earned two victories against the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel last weekend. Freshman Angelo Barberio stepped in for Gomez-Rivera at 133, and while Barberio wrestled with courage and aggressiveness, he fell in a 9-4 decision against Binghamton's Audey Ashkar.
AU also struggled in the 141-pound match, and Binghampton senior Dylan Caruana earned his 21st pin of the season after putting AU sophomore Jack Mutchnick on his back in the second period.
“We fell short in that match,” Moore said. “I think that was where the energy kind of got lost, I feel like up until that point, up until that match, we were in it.”
The Eagles then lost the 149, 165 and 174-pound matches with the only senior captain Tom Page sneaking in a win during the second half of the dual at 157-pounds.
Moore was quick to praise Page for his success, and he also noted the continued improvement and development of sophomore Josh Terao, who made the switch from 133-pounds to 125-pounds this year and has been as reliable and consistent asset for the Eagles.
Terao earned a technical fall in his duel against Binghamton, winning 15-0, and was one of just three AU wrestlers to walk away with a win. While Terao has national ambitions, Moore said he is instructing his wrestlers to take the season one dual at a time.
“If we don’t prepare ourselves properly match by match, and we don’t work on the small executions that have to happen, the end results is not going to get taken care of,” Moore said. “Josh is continuing to sharpen his skills, and that’s the big thing. One match at a time, one weigh in at a time, and he’s completely focused on that, I’m excited where it could put him for the end of season, but right now, it’s just the next seven minutes.”
The EIWA conference championship will be held on March 3-5 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and each weight class will qualify a certain number of athletes for the National Championships in St. Louis March 16-18.
Before the tournaments though, the Eagles will take on Old Dominion, George Mason and Ohio, and each of those matches will present challenges and offer the wrestlers with a chance to improve their seed rankings.
“You just got to take it one day at a time, you can’t keep looking too far ahead,” junior Jeric Kasunic, who earned a win at 197-pounds, said. “We are going to have to fix some things in the future. I think the guys, everyone on our team is going to do well, I’m pretty confident about that.”