Wrestling gears up for tough season

Justin Schaumberger, Sports Co-Editor

The Bison men’s wrestling team is closing in on the start of their 2021/2022 campaign. With their first competition on Nov. 13, the Orange and Blue are working hard to try to make this season a successful one. 

The Orange and Blue boast a tough schedule this season with several difficult non-conference foes. In total, the Bison will face two teams ranked inside the preseason NCWA Coaches top 25 poll. This includes traveling to Stillwater, Okla. to take on number 7 ranked Oklahoma State. Additionally, the Bison will face two foes, Navy and Michigan State, who received votes in the NCWA Coaches poll but narrowly missed the top 25. These matches will starve as a stiff test to see where the Bison measure out. 

“Two specific teams that come to mind are Michigan State and Oklahoma State. They both have strong reputations and hail from highly competitive wrestling conferences. With that being said though, our EIWA matchups are no walk in the park by any means; we will have great competition all throughout the season,” Brandon Seidman ’22 said when asked about key matches in the schedule.

Key to the Bison’s success this season is Zach Hartman ’22. Hartman, a three time NCAA qualifier, will serve as a team captain along with fellow seniors Darren Miller ’23 and Seidman. Hartman boasts 11 wins over ranked opponents in his career and finished sixth in his weight class at the NCAA Championships last season. 

Miller, the Bison’s other NCAA qualifier last season, will look to continue on his success from the tail end of last season. Miller earned an automatic qualifier when he won four straight matches by a margin of 21-3 to win the EIWA Championships after losing his opening match. Seidman, Vincent Andreano ’23,  and Jaden Fisher ’23 will also be big players for the Bison after they all finished sixth in their respective weight classes at the EIWA Championships. Mason McCready ’23 and Kurt Phipps ’24 also managed to place at the EIWA Championships last season finishing seventh. 

Along with the returning talent, the Bison also brought in a freshmen class of 11 individuals. The class of 2025 includes individuals from five different states. The collective class won four state championships, has nine team captains, and has eight state placewinners. They will look to contribute immediately to help the Bison this season.   

On Oct. 29, the Bison engaged in an intrasquad match to serve as a sort of preseason. In the match, the squad was divided into two teams, orange and blue. The orange team emerged as the victors by a score of 29-12. Hartman and Coy Bastian ’25 won their matches by tech falls while Fisher won his by major decision. McCready and Logan Deacetis ’25 had one of the most competitive matches with McCeady rallying to force overtime and then scoring a takedown to win 7-5. 

“As a team, our goal for the season is to simply win. Wrestling is an individual sport, but it requires a full team effort to get to where we want to be. If we all worry about ourselves and do our part, winning will come naturally,” Seidman said. 

The Bison will open their season with the George Mason Patriot Duals. They will take on Averett at 10 a.m., George Mason at 11:30 a.m. and Bellarmine at 1 p.m. All of the matches will take place on Nov. 13.

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