By Vincent Perez
Assistant Sports Editor
CSU Bakersfield wrestling has begun its 2017 season on the road with a 2-1 record. On Saturday, Nov. 5, in Edinboro, Pa., the Roadrunners defeated Bucknell University 26-10 and lost 34-9 to No. 25 Edinboro University, in the Fighting Scot Duals. CSUB defeated Buffalo 22-14 on Nov. 2, in Buffalo, N.Y.
Head Coach Manny Rivera said about the first three meets, “I don’t think we’ve competed at our best yet, and that’s a good thing.”
Rivera added that the team will compete at a higher level after working in practice.
“Once we get firing on all cylinders, then we’ll start moving in the right direction.” He said about the loss against No. 25 Edinboro and the season, “It’s tough right now, we wrestled to the least of our abilities against Edinboro. Winning two out of three is [still] pretty good.”
Redshirt-seniors Sergio Mendez (125 pounds) and No. 11-ranked Matt Williams (197) were successful in their road matches.
Mendez won two of his three matches, as he collected wins over Bucknell’s Jacob Campbell and Buffalo’s Kyle Akins. Mendez was defeated by Edinboro No. 6-ranked Sean Russell by technical fall, 20-4 in 6 minutes.
“I wrestled well,” said Mendez. “There are things I need to work on in practice. I had a good weekend, except my last match. I let him control the match. I think I went out there with the wrong mindset. I wasn’t able to get back in it.”
Mendez not only wrestled a tough match but did so with an injury.
“During the second period, I rolled my ankle. It was pretty tough to bounce back.” Mendez said he kept wrestling despite the rolled ankle.
Williams remained undefeated as he earned victories over Bucknell’s Tom Sleigh, Edinboro’s Aaron Paddock and Buffalo’s Joe Ariola in an overtime match.
“It’s always good to win but I feel like I haven’t done a lot,” said Williams. “It’s a learning process. If you can pull something from each match, small or big, you just want to do better. It’s good to get those first few out of the way.”
“We had guys picking up bonus points. Not being content in winning. It’s good to see as a senior that these guys are eager to dominate.”
However, Williams said the CSUB men’s wrestling team can improve. “It’s understood throughout the team that we can do a whole lot better,” said Williams.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, CSUB redshirt-sophomore and No. 19-ranked Russell Rohlfing (141) defeated Edinboro’s Nate Hagan 4-0. Williams (197) beat Paddock in 3:56 with a pin.
They were the only two wins CSUB had against Edinboro.
CSUB defeated Bucknell University, 26-10 on Nov. 5. Victories from CSUB’s Mendez (125), redshirt-junior Sean Nickell (133), redshirt-senior Coleman Hammond (157), redshirt-senior Lorenzo De La Riva (165), redshirt-sophomore Dominic Ducharme (184), Williams (197) and Snyder (285) propelled the Roadrunners to earn their 2-1 record early this season.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, the CSU Bakersfield men’s wrestling team opened their 2017 season with a 22-14 dual meet win against the Buffalo Bulls in Buffalo.
Mendez (125) rallied back from an early takedown to upset No. 14-ranked Kyle Akins, 11-4. Mendez took down Akins late in the first period and led 3-2 after the first period. He controlled the rest of the match to give CSUB a 3-0 early lead.
“I knew this guy was tough. When I went out there, I knew that this guy was not going to beat me,” said Mendez. “I exposed him on his back. I came up on top. After this [weekend], I hope to be ranked higher, but it’s still a long season to go, and I’ve got to keep training hard.”
Rohlfing (141) and sophomore Kalani Tonge (149) each collected wins. De La Riva (165) won by technical fall and redshirt-junior Bryan Battisto (174) won by major decision.
Jake Gunning (285) of Buffalo, beat Snyder 18-7 and Nickell (133) lost against Buffalo’s No. 5-ranked Bryan Lantry.
The Roadrunners won six of their ten dual matches against Buffalo.
CSUB travels next to Stanford to take on the Cardinal on Saturday, Nov. 11.
They will return home Friday, Nov. 17, to host the University of Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. and the University of Wisconsin at 7 p.m. in the Icardo Center.
CSUB will then host the Roadrunner Open on Sunday, Nov. 19 starting at 10 a.m. in the Icardo Center.