The Bison wrestling team improved its season record to 5-6 after securing a pair of wins against Sacred Heart and Hofstra on Jan. 26. The bout against Sacred Heart was a commanding 40-0 win for the Orange and Blue. This was their first shutout since the 2015-16 season. The matchup against Hofstra proved to be more difficult for the Bison, as they staged an impressive 22-18 comeback win.
After dominating Harvard and losing to Brown the week before, the Orange and Blue looked to keep stringing together strong performances against Sacred Heart and Hofstra.
Led by a first-period pin by Zach Hartman ’22 at 157 pounds, the Bison were able to grab the lead early. With wins to technical falls by Matthew Kolonia ’21 at 149 pounds, Nick Stephani ’19 at 174 pounds, and Drew Phipps ’ 20 at 197 pounds, the Orange and Blue dominated the match from start to finish.
This was the team’s third shutout over Sacred Heart and they remain unbeaten by the Pioneers 7-0 all-time.
“The team is starting to really do a good job at keeping high positive energy, even during a poor call or a tough match,” assistant coach Eric Morrill said. “We are starting to fight for something more than ourselves; it’s becoming more about the person next to you, competing hard for those who are in the trenches of the season-long grind with you.”
The Bison faced a tougher matchup against Hofstra, as they fell behind 12-0 after the Pride won the first four bouts by decision. Despite this setback, Hartman cut the deficit in half with a pin. Hartman was able to continue his team-leading eight-bout winning streak and improve his personal season record to an impressive 18-4. He has now pinned four of his past five opponents and remains unbeaten at 14-0 against unranked opponents.
The match came down to the heavyweight bout, where Phipps was able to secure the clutch decision and register five takedowns for the Orange and Blue. Including a pin by D.J. Hollingshead ’19 at 165 pounds, it was a remarkable showing from the Bison as they continued their impressive run.
“We started off slow against Hofstra and dropped a couple of the lightweight matches that could easily have gone our way,” Phipps said. “Luckily, the bigger guys on our team stepped up when we needed them. Getting pins at 157 and 165 really gave us the momentum we needed to finish off strong and get the team victory.”
The wrestling team hosts No. 17 North Carolina at the Sojka Pavilion on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. and Franklin and Marshall at the Davis Gym on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.