NORFOLK, VA – For the first time since 2011, the University at Buffalo wrestling team had multiple champions as both Troy Keller and Brett Perry won their respective weight classes at the Mid-American Conference Championships on Saturday. In addition, a total of five Bulls earned bids to the NCAA Championships.
Keller earned a 7-4 decision over Ohio's Colt Yinger in the 165-lb. title bout to win his first MAC championship. However, it wasn't easy, as the junior grappler started the match in the hole following two first-period takedowns by Yinger. Keller was trailing, 4-2, in the third period until, with just over a minute left, he was able to tilt Yinger and earn the four-point nearfall and the 7-4 victory.
"Ever since I signed, I said I was going to become a MAC champion and go to nationals," Keller said. "Now I'm going to go become an All-American."
Perry earned a 6-3 decision over Old Dominion's Timothy Young to win his 197-lb. MAC title. Perry took control of the match with a second-period takedown and held a 2-1 lead in the final period. An escape and another takedown midway through the third period helped Perry earn the decision, the title and a ticket to the NCAAs.
"I've been working for this all year and finally got it done," Perry said. "When we first came in we had a terrible record, but we just all bought in, believed in Stutz and worked hard for each other and for our program and now we just keep rising."
Two other Bulls earned spots in the finals, but came up short of the top spot on the podium. Derek Spann and Bryan Lantry each lost in the finals, but did earn bids to the NCAA Championships. It will be Spann's first trip to the NCAAs, while Lantry became the first wrestler in school history to be a four-time national qualifier.
Spann dropped a 6-2 decision to ninth-ranked John Erneste of Missouri in the 133-lb. final. Erneste got a takedown of Spann in the opening moments of the bout and road out the Bulls' redshirt-sophomore for the remainder of the period to set the tone of the match. Spann was able to get a third-period takedown, but it wasn't enough.
Lantry, competing in the finals for the third straight season, just couldn't get anything going against fourth-ranked Jaydin Eierman of Missouri in the 141-lb. final. Eierman led 7-3 after the first period, and then 27 seconds into the second period, he was able to flip Lantry and earn the pin.
Alex Smythe finished fifth in the 157-lb. bracket to punch his ticket to Pittsburgh. In the fifth-place match, Smythe earned an 8-6 decision over Ohio's Zac Carson. With the match tied, 5-5, in the third period, Smythe got an escape and a take down to earn the two-point victory.
UB's five national qualifiers are its most since having six in 2011.
As a team, the Bulls finished second overall.
- Missouri 180.0
- Buffalo 113.5
- CMU 112.5
- Old Dominion 111.0
- Ohio 99.5
- NIU 98.0
- SIUE 68.5
- Kent State 66.0