Wrestling goes 1-1 in a home weekend

Logan Kinajil-Moran, Contributing Writer

The Bison wrestling team hosted Army West Point and Rider University over the weekend at Davis Gym. The Orange and Blue were bested by Army 21-12 on Saturday Jan. 29, before bouncing back to beat the Rider Broncs 17-15 on Sunday.

The Bison’s defeat to the Black Knights ended their seven-dual winning streak, tied for their best-ever start (their 10-2 record is only equaled by the 1992-93 squad). Army took six out of the 10 bouts contested. Victories by Zach Hartman ’22, Luke Niemeyer ’23, Brandon Seidman ’22 and Kurt Phipps ’24 weren’t enough to prevent Army West Point from picking up their first win of the year.

“Army always comes to fight, and they do a really good job at keeping matches close. They have a talented group of wrestlers that we will always find a battle with, and it’s always exciting. With them, it’s always a battle of who can wrestle longer than their opponent, so the match against Army gave us a gauge as to what to work on in the remainder of the season,” Hartman said on the dual.

The team took the opportunity to bounce back the next day with a late comeback victory over Rider on Sunday. The Bison trailed the Broncs 15-10 before Kolby DePron ’25 and Nick Delp ’24 took victories in the final two bouts to take the win. Hartman, Mason McGready ’23 and Seidman took earlier victories to set up the win.

“The bounce-back win over Rider was important for us because it was a serious gut check. As a captain, I loved seeing the guys battle it out and leave everything on the mat just 24 hours after our defeat against Army. Our match against Rider wasn’t the prettiest, but it showed us who we really were and that we have guts to grind out matches, even if it’s not going our way,” Hartman said.

No. 17 Hartman took two wins over the two duals, including beating out fellow nationally ranked wrestler No. 28 by a 6-2 decision, marking his 15th career victory over a nationally ranked opponent.

“I think finding the fun in the sport and just viewing wrestling altogether as a long-term process allowed me to win this past weekend. I feel that when I focus too much on one specific match, I hold back. Therefore, I just viewed my matches this weekend as ‘another day’ mentality. I fully respect both of my opponents and didn’t overlook them. I just find that if I don’t put a face to a name, then I wrestle my best,” Hartman said after his successful weekend.

The Bison finished the weekend with an 11-3 overall record and a 6-1 EIWA record. Hartman has attributed their stellar start to the season to their “synergistic energy” and believes they can “easily become one of the best teams in program history.” The team faces up next at Navy in Annapolis, Md. on Friday, Feb. 4, then hosts American University at Davis Gym on Sunday, Feb. 6.

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