The Boston University wrestling team ended its regular season on a high note Saturday, earning its fourth win of the season against American International College by a score of 35-9. The win came mere hours after a 32-10 loss to Colonial Athletic Association foe Rider University. Both duals were held at Case Gymnasium.
The Terriers (4-14-1, 2-5) now find themselves on an upswing heading into the CAA Tournament on March 5-6.
“Winning the last dual was good, especially because it was the last match of the season,” said BU coach Carl Adams. “However, we can’t be too happy with the way the entire dual season went, because it’s not how it should have been. When it started, we had one of the best teams we’ve had in, I would say, 10 years.”
As the season wore on, BU lost key starters due to injury, and the shortened roster took its toll on the team’s overall record. Heading into Saturday’s duals, however, the Terriers welcomed senior C.J. Inglin (164 pounds) back to the active lineup. This addition allowed Adams to move freshman Kyle Czarnecki from the 164-pound weight-class to 174, a job that had been valiantly held by sophomore Andrew Swank, who was wrestling three weight divisions higher than he normally would have.
Czarnecki earned a pin in his match against AIC freshman Terrell Belcher, and Inglin earned his first win since returning from injury by decision when he defeated AIC senior Martin Thompson, 7-2. Inglin was pinned earlier in the day by Rider junior Rob Morrison.
“[Inglin] wrestled a kid who’s very good,” Adams said, referring to Morrison. “C.J. is just coming back from injury. He still wears a brace. There are a lot of little things you have to pull together when you’re coming back from injury. In fact, you’re probably pretty far from 100 percent. He ran into a pretty tough customer his very first match out. He got pinned. But, he still has two weeks to make a major jump. That’s the plus.”
In the earlier match, the Broncs (15-6, 6-1) were able to build a 28-0 lead after the first six matches before BU won three of the final four matches to reclaim ten points of their own. Sophomore Freddy Santaite won by major decision, and senior Abbie Rush and freshman Nestor Taffur each won by decision.
Taffur’s win at 149 against Bronc senior Michael Kessler, who is ranked first in the conference and 19th in the country, by a score of 3-1, sent the Terriers into their second duel of the day on a high note.
“[Taffur] defeated a very good wrestler,” Adams said. “[He] is a true freshman, and he defeated him three-to-one, so that was a great victory.”
Against the Yellow Jackets (12-9), BU ran out to a 21-6 lead before surrendering their first and only true loss at 285 when senior Carmen Rondash, also wrestling up in weight division, fell by a 6-1 decision (AIC’s other six points came from a forfeit at 184). The Terriers then earned identical major decisions (11-1) from sophomore Ryan Dowd (125) and senior Ryan Buff (133). Rush and Taffur each won their second match of the day by decision to finish off the duel and the regular season for the Terriers.
The win marked the Terrier’s first at Case this season. Adams said he was appreciative of the Terrier fans that turned out for the final duals of the regular season.
“It’s always great to have people out watching the sport and cheering you on,” Adams said. “I think it helps when you have your home crowd behind you. People who watch wrestling really like the sport. They like good matches. It’s a big plus to have more guys rooting for you than against you. I think that was a big plus for the guys wrestling this weekend.”
With the regular season completed, the Terriers will turn their attention to the CAA tournament. Adams expressed disappointment with the fact that during the season, such a promising team was hurt by injuries, but he praised his wrestlers for their attitude.
“We’re not happy with the [season’s] dual meet results,” he said. “I’m extremely happy with the way the guys are still fighting hard, working hard and are looking forward to the [CAA Tournament].”
Following the results of the final weekend, BU’s wrestlers await their final rankings and seeding in the conference tournament. For instance, Taffur who defeated the first ranked wrestler in his weight class on Saturday, may be in store for a jump in the rankings before the tournament arrives.
“The only thing that matters is how they finish at the conference meet,” Adams said.
The CAA tournament has been dominated by Hofstra University in recent years. The Pride has won the tournament each year since 2002. They will defend their title against the Terriers and the rest of the CAA on March 5 at Rider University.