Lopez captures 100th victory in wrestling’s two-win weekend

Ross Lazarus, Contributing Writer

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The Bison men’s wrestling team faced a tough schedule, hosting American University on Feb. 3 and Sacred Heart University on Feb. 4, two EIWA opponents. They entered the weekend on a five-match winning streak and finished with seven consecutive victories after taking down both opponents.

The Orange and Blue came out on fire Feb. 3 against American, where the team won nine of its 10 bouts. The Bison’s three nationally ranked wrestlers — Tom Sleigh ’18, Tyler Smith ’18, and Victor Lopez ’17 — all performed up to their normal level of excellence. Sleigh, ranked 16th in the nation for the 197-pound weight class, defeated American’s Jeric Kasunic 10-1. Smith also had an imposing victory by beating American’s Jack Mutchnik. However, the spotlight was on Lopez, who recorded his 99th win.

Joey Gould ’20 also made headlines, upsetting the nationally-ranked junior from American, Esteban Gomez-Rivera, in the 133 pounds division. Teammate Garrett Hoffman ’20 delivered an exciting comeback win with a last-second decision to cap off the victory.

Gould gave credit to his teammates for their strong performances.

“Last weekend, on paper we were supposed have good close match with American but we really showed heart and determination and won every close bout we could and more. One of the best and hard fought matches of the night was Garrett Hoffman’s match,” Gould said.

The Bison faced Sacred Heart on Feb. 4, with Lopez looking to hit a career milestone. Right from the start of Lopez’s match, the crowd could tell that he would not be beaten. With superb strength and determination, Lopez captured his elusive 100th win. He has now cemented his place in program history, being only the ninth wrestler to ever reach the 100 win landmark. Current assistant coach Kevin LeValley leads the list with 127 career wins. Overall, Lopez has recorded 100 wins and 49 losses in his long and fruitful collegiate career. With only three dual matches left in his senior season, Lopez hopes to end his career on a high note.

Other noteworthy victories in the 31-9 win for the Orange and Blue came from Sleigh, Tyler Greene ’17, Collin Boylan ’18, Gould, and Smith. It was the third time this season that the Bison have eclipsed the 30-point mark in a match.

With the season nearing its end, all eyes are turned to March 3, when the EIWA Championships come to Sojka Pavilion and the Bison will have a chance to win the championship in front of their home crowd. The last time the Bison won their conference was in 1995, though the team has finished third in each of the last two years under head coach Dan Wirnsberger.

With less than a month remaining before the championship matches, the team is hoping that their recent historic weekend can turn into an unforgettable historic season. They will take the next take the mat on Feb. 10 against Binghamton.

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