The Bison faced the Columbia Lions in the Davis Gym on Feb. 17. For the team’s eight seniors, it would be the last regular season match of their wrestling careers.
The home team won 23-14, extending its winning streak to ten games. This puts the team one win away from meeting the program record of 11 consecutive victories during the 1987-1988 and 1988-1989 seasons.
Victor Lopez ’17 won for the tenth time of his 11 bouts. Team veterans Tyler Smith ’18 and Tom Sleigh ’18 extended personal winning streaks as well. Smith managed to pin Columbia’s Christian Briody with eight seconds remaining in the first period, setting the Bison at a 9-3 lead. Sleigh dramatically eclipsed the competition by posting two four-point near falls, outscoring Michael Bulkin 15-0 in the last two periods, leading him to win in a 19-0 tech fall.
The most riveting win of the night is credited to D.J. Hollingshead ’19. Leading 4-3 in the third period, the referee awarded a point to Columbia on a technical violation, tying the score at 4-4. Hollingshead was able to edge out Andrew Psomas during sudden victory overtime by scoring a takedown with two seconds left.
“During the third period of the match, I knew if I could hold him down it would get me to overtime. If I got to overtime, I was confident I was going to win because I got his legs multiple times in regulation. I glanced at the team score [12-11], and I knew I had to win this for the team. Being a home match, the crowd’s energy pumped me up and helped me push through to get the final takedown,” Hollingshead said.
As the program sent off its seniors, wins from first-year members Joey Gould ’20 and Garrett Hoffman ’20 demonstrated the up and coming talent on the team.
The team will now prepare for EIWA Championships, riding in with a striking 12-4, 9-1 EIWA record. Championships will be hosted March 3-4 in the Sojka Pavilion.