Bison wrestling comes up short on senior night

Ross Lazarus, Senior Writer

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The Bison lost 22-20 on Feb. 17 in Sojka Pavilion as Bloomsburg’s wrestling team pulled off a comeback win. With two bouts left, the Bison held a commanding 20-13 lead, but two late commanding victories sealed the victory for Bloomsburg.

Even with the disappointing loss, the Bison had plenty to celebrate on their senior night. Tyler Smith ’18 finished the season undefeated in dual action, tallying an impressive 16-0 record. He beat Bloomsburg’s Shawn Orem in a 25-11 major decision to secure his perfect season. The last Bison to accomplish this feat was Andy Rendos ’10 in 2010. Rendos went on to win the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) title, a goal that Smith hopes to reach as well.

“I plan to go into the tournament and put myself in the best possible situation to win the individual tournament and give my team the best possible chance to walk out of the tournament with another team trophy,” Smith said. “I have never won the tournament so this would be another personal achievement to walk away from EIWA’s with gold and put myself in a great situation to become [the University’s] first NCAA Champion in Cleveland this year.”

Nick Stephani ’19 also had a strong performance against the Huskies. His opponent had a 4-2 lead in the third period, but with one minute left, Stephani scored a takedown to even up the score. Just as time was running out, Stephani took down his competitor, giving the Bison a 6-4 win.

The Bison underclassmen also contributed to the team’s success on senior night. Joey Gould ’20, weighing in at 133 pounds, fought for the first time at 149 pounds. This turned out to be a strategic move, as Gould pinned his opponent just 3:23 into the bout for the Bison victory.

After finishing the regular season with a 3-14 record (2-7 EIWA), the Bison look to regroup before the EIWA Championships. The Championships will take place from March 3-4 in Hofstra’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. The Bison are 0-4 this season competing at neutral sites, but they’ll look to turn it around with a clear vision of a championship within reach.

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