BUFFALO, NY – Despite taking a tough 22-18 loss against the Ohio Bobcats (3-5, 2-3 MAC) Sunday afternoon, the Buffalo wrestling team (5-12, 0-2 MAC) scored a big victory off the mat, raising $21,500 for its third annual Takedown Cancer fundraiser. While the team’s split the matches five apiece, the Bobcats scored two pins and a major decision. It was also senior day for UB, with the team honoring seniorsTyler Peter, Taylor Golba, and Kevin Smith.
The Bulls dug a large hole in the first half of the match, losing four of the first five bouts to trail 16-3. Freshman 197 pounder Justin Heiserman scored the team’s lone first-half win after rallying from an early 2-0 deficit. Not to be discouraged, the Bulls rallied back for four wins in the final five matches of the day.
Kevin Smith got things started in the second half with a 4-0 shutout of Darrin Boing. Wrestling in front of a home crowd at Alumni Arena for the final time in his exemplary career, Smith felt out his opponent in a scoreless first period before riding Boing out for the entire two minutes of the second period. In the final period, the senior from Mexico, NY earned an escape and got a takedown to seal the win. Blake Roulo followed with a 7-1 win over Andrew Romanchik, just missing a major decision when he was unable to secure a takedown in the waning seconds of the bout.
“It was important for me to put up points for the team. It would have been nice to come out with a victory but I thought our guys wrestled tough and we just have to keep going forward,” Smith said. “Takedown Cancer is such a great cause and it’s great to see all these fans supporting us and supporting Jeff Parker. It’s just tremendous to be part of such an event.”
“You can’t say enough about the guy (Smith),” head coach Jim Beichner said. “We hope to get him on the (All-American) stand at the national championships because that would cap off a great career for him.”
Now trailing 16-9, the Bulls needed to keep on cutting into the deficit, but in the 157-pound match, the Bobcats’ Harrison Hightower managed to get control of Wally Maziarzand scored a critical pin that put the Ohio lead at 13, out of reach of the Bulls. Despite this, Mark Lewandowski and Jake Waste dominated in the matches, winning by a combined score of 30-3 to end the day on a high note.
Lewandowski went up 5-0 on a quick takedown and three-point near fall. While riding out his opponent, Lewandowski wrenched his knee and was forced to take major injury time and put his status for the rest of the match in doubt. Despite the injury, the Depew, NY junior rallied and earned a technical fall just 11 seconds into the final period for a 15-0 win.
“He’s had a bad knee and today he dinged it up, but instead of quitting, he went out and got a tech fall with a knee that was pretty bad,” Beichner said. “That’s a huge mental toughness check and he passed that in a big way. There’s not too many guys who could have gone back out there.”
Jake Waste capped off the match with a 15-3 major decision over Mike Duckworth. The true freshman maintained control throughout the match and used two takedowns and three back points in the final period to cap the major decision and bring the score to a final of 22-18 in favor of the Bobcats.
The Bulls will now hit the road for the rest of the season, starting on Friday against Kent State. The two teams previously met at the Virginia Duals, with the Golden Flashes taking a 22-12 win. Match time is set for 7 pm.