On Saturday, the Boston University wrestling team will look to extend its eight dual-match win streak as it visits a pair of New Jersey foes during the last weekend of the regular season.
First, the Terriers (10-5-1, 3-1-1 Colonial Athletic Association) will wrestle the Rider University Broncs at noon in Lawrenceville, N.J.
Rider (8-10-0, 2-2-0 CAA) has been on a bit of a roll lately, having won three straight matches and four out of its last six dual matches.
Key Broncs include senior Rob Morrison, who has run up a 23-6 conference record in the 174-pound weight class this season, and sophomore Zac Cibula, who owns a 20-10 conference record in the 149-pound weight class. Both men were ranked 25th nationally in their respective weight classes prior to Rider’s match against Hofstra University Wednesday night.
BU coach Carl Adams spoke very highly of Rider, which will host the CAA conference tournament on March 4.
“We’re definitely not overlooking Rider,” Adams said. “We haven’t beaten them in quite some time. They are a very strong program, and they have a good team this year.”
After facing Rider, the team will jump back on the bus and take a quick 15-minute drive north to Princeton University to take on the Tigers (5-10-0) at 3 p.m. This is the first time all season BU will have two dual matches on the same day in two different locations, but Adams said it will affect the team “just a little bit.”
“You have to load up at the end of the Rider match, drive to Princeton, and jump on the mat right away,” Adams said, “but the bottom line is you can’t let that affect the way you wrestle. If you’re going to win in this sport, or any sport, you have to deal with adverse situations.”
Princeton is on a three-match slide, losing most recently to Cornell University 44-0 last Saturday, and is led by sophomore Garret Frey. Frey has racked up a 22-7 conference record this season, good enough for a national ranking of 17th in the 125-pound weight class.
BU dispatched two of Princeton’s fellow Ivy League schools, Harvard University and Brown University, by scores of 25-18 and 24-10, respectively, at home last weekend. According to Adams, those opponents are good comparisons for Princeton.
“Princeton is very similar to both Brown and Harvard, but the bottom line is you can’t overlook anyone,” Adams said.
BU itself is one of the hottest teams in the CAA, a conference Adams described as “very strong,” and has one ranked wrestler, junior Freddy Santaite, who is 19th in the 133-pound weight class with a conference record of 13-4. The Terriers have also received significant contributions this season from senior Brock Mantella and sophomore Hunter Mays, who hold conference records of 20-9 and 18-4, respectively.
“We have a lot of confidence right now,” Adams said, “but we also realize you can’t be too overconfident, because around the next corner you may have an opponent that may be just as good or better [than you]. You have to keep things in perspective.
“The most important thing we can do is go in there and be mentally prepared and wrestle a full seven minutes, or however many minutes it takes to win the match,” Adams continued.
As successful as the Terriers have been recently, they do keep their season-long goal in mind as they enter the weekend: a successful postseason.
“We talk about staying focused on the mission, staying focused on the conference tournament, and qualifying as many kids as possible for the national tournament,” Adams said. “You have to keep working hard and keep your eye on the ball and not fall off the track.”