HAMPTON, VA – Thanks to a 2-1 record on the day, the Buffalo wrestling team placed seventh at the Virginia Duals, held Friday and Saturday in Hampton. The Bulls finished the tournament 3-2 and earned wins over Bucknell, Rider and The Citadel.
In the opening round, Buffalo drew a scrappy Bucknell team in the opening round and fought through to a 19-13 win thanks to six wins. Just Farmer and Kevin Smith earned clutch wins of 3-2 and 3-1, respectively, but the Bisons held a 7-6 lead after the first four bouts of the match. The Bulls responded in a big way and streaked to four straight wins and a 19-7 lead that would be too much to handle, starting with a dominating 13-2 major decision from Wally Maziarz in his 157-pound match. Mark Lewandowski (5-0), Jake Waste(2-0) and Zach Ward (4-0) then followed suit with impressive shutouts.
Next up was a familiar opponent, as UB took on Mid-American Conference rival Kent State in the ensuing round. The Golden Flashes punched its ticket to the second round thanks to a win over The Citadel and quickly built an 11-3 lead through the first four matches, with Farmer providing the only early win. The Bulls charged back thanks again to Maziarz, who won 9-7 to spark another win streak. Mark Lewandowski got a 1-0 win at 165 and Jake Waste followed with a 5-1 win to put the Bulls ahead 12-11, a lead it would let slip away in the final three bouts to drop the dual 21-12.
Now having to fight to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament, the Bulls drew Rider, a team it beat at the very same tournament 30-9 last season. Sean Waltonstarted the match off on the highest of notes, pinning his opponent in the waning seconds of the first period after working to turn him for most of the three-minute opening period. Farmer followed and earned a early 4-1 lead, but his aggressive mentality got the best of him as his opponent got a quick pin that knotted the match back up at 6-6. Kevin Smith almost got a pin of his own, but instead had to settle for a 7-4 decision. Blake Roulo followed and earned his first win of the tournament, 4-3 thanks to solid defense in the final seconds of the match to hold off his opponent’s flurry. Wrestling just under two hours from his home in Petersburg, Roulo pulled out the crucial win in front of family and friends.
With the match sitting at 12-6 in Buffalo’s favor, Maziarz came to the mat hoping to again earn the big decision, but could not hold on to a late lead and lost in sudden-death overtime 10-8 to bring Rider within three. Needing to pad the lead heading into the final half of the match, the Bulls got just that in the 165- and 174-pound matches. Lewandowski earned his third tech fall of the duals season with a 15-0 shutout, buoyed by 12 first-period points. Lewandowski now has six tech falls and a pin in his last 12 overall matches. Waste looked to also get a tech but had to settle instead for an 18-5 major decision that gave Buffalo a 21-8 lead. Rider won the next two matches, but trailing by seven points heading into the heavyweight bout it forfeited to Jedd Mason to give UB a 27-14 win and secured at least a top-eight finish.
The Bulls had its hands full in the next match, facing Rutgers. Mark Lewandowski’s 17-4 major decision and Jedd Mason’s dominant pin in the first period were the team’s only win. Adding in a late forfeit from the Scarlet Knights, the Bulls fell 22-16. Despite the setback, UB responded in a big way to secure a seventh-place finish, improving on last season’s slot in eighth.
The Citadel had lost to Kent State in the first round but put together impressive wins over Bucknell and North Carolina before losing on criteria to North Dakota State and drawing the Bulls in the seventh-place match. Max Soria started the match with a 2-0 win, but the Bulldogs answered back to tie the match at 3-3 early on. Kevin Smith proved to be the one who would spark UB this time around, getting a pin just before the end of the period that started a five-match streak that brought the lead all the way to 20-3 before Citadel could get another win. Lewandowski got yet another tech fall win while Blake Roulo got another win and Clay Reeb made his Virginia Duals debut with a 3-1 win at 157 pounds. The Bulls capped the win with a major decision from Jake Waste and it cruised to a 24-15 win.
The busy weekend moves the team’s overall dual record to 5-11. Next will be the New York State Collegiate Championships, to be held January 21 and 22.