Wrestling captures two victories from American and George Mason

Cooper Mead, Senior Writer

The wrestling squad went 2-1 this weekend, defeating American at home on Jan. 31 and George Mason on the road on Feb. 2 but falling to No. 13 Virginia to cap off the weekend.

“It was a good weekend for our young guys. Our team continues to improve by finding a way to win the close matches,” head coach Dan Wirnsberger said.

The Bison traded bout victories in a close contest with American. The Orange and Blue recorded their first win with a gritty victory by Grim Gonzalez ’17 in the 133 lb. class. As the bout entered the closing half-minute, Gonzalez made a move and scored the first takedown of the match. Despite a desperate escape by his American opponent, Gonzalez emerged victorious, finishing 3-2.

Victor Lopez ’17 also came out on top in his match to tally the second Bison win for the day. After two periods, Lopez was leading 6-2, and due to a reversal and over two minutes of riding time, he closed his third consecutive match, registering a 9-5 victory.

Tyler Lyster ’15 (197) and Rustin Barrick ’16 (165) both gained six points for the Bison due to opponent injuries. Lyster was ahead by a close score of 3-2 when No. 10 Daniel Mitchell had to forfeit, while Barrick was dominating 12-3 with just 30 seconds left.

With the score tied at 18 due to American’s pin at 184, Joe Stolfi’s ’15 (285) bout would decide the outcome of the match. Stolfi defeated Blake Herrin by a 5-0 decision, giving the Orange and Blue a win of 21-18 and improving the squad’s record to 6-8 overall and 3-2 against EIWA teams. The victory was Stolfi’s seventh consecutive win and adds to his record of 22-6 for the year.

“Anytime a dual meet comes down to the final bout, I feel extremely confident with Joe Stolfi taking the mat. He continues to lift the team up and get the needed win,” Wirnsberger said.

The Bison opened with a 26-10 win against George Mason in Fairfax, Va. The Bison were triumphant in seven of 10 matches against George Mason, with Lopez recording a pin in his matchup. Paul Petrov ’16 (125), Gonzalez, Barrick, Rory Bonner ’17 (184), Lyster, and Stolfi also won their matches. The victory was the second win over George Mason this year.

Against Virginia, Petrov, Lopez, and Stolfi recorded their second wins of the day, which pushed Petrov to a victory in nine of his last 10 bouts at 125 lbs. Stolfi’s pin (17th of the year and 26th of his career) brought his winning streak to nine consecutive matches. Stolfi’s success places him in third place on the Bison’s single-season pins list and seventh on the career list. Lopez’s match against Virginia was particularly significant, defeating No. 9 Gus Sako, who had a 15-1 record before the match, in a 7-6 decision. Despite great Bison effort, the Orange and Blue came up short by a margin of 29-12 against Virginia.

“Everyone on the team looks better from previous duals and we are individually still improving and that is made obvious by matches such as Rory Bonner’s win over George Mason, a match that he had previously lost, or Rustin Barrick who is now dominating a lot of his opponents,” Lopez said.

The Bison will hope to improve their 7-9 record at their next match on Feb. 9, when they take on Army at West Point at 2 p.m. and Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn. at 7 p.m.

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