PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Fresh off a pair of wins to open the 2014 home schedule, the Brown wrestling team hits the mat at the Pizzitola Sports Center against Harvard and Boston University in dual meet action on Saturday. First bout it slated for 12 p.m.
This weekend's duals will be broadcast live on BrownBears.TV. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, weekly or daily packages.
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LAST TIME OUT
Trailing 16-9 with two bouts remaining, sophomore Augustus Marker (Castle Rock, Colo.) unleashed a crucial defensive fall at 197 to power Brown to an 18-16 win over Penn in its home opener at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Saturday. The Bears needed strong performances in the final two bouts and Marker provided just that with a defensive fall with just 50 seconds left in the 197-pound match. The clutch maneuver cut Penn's lead to one, 16-15, allowing freshman heavyweight Ryder Cavey (Eldersburg, Md.) to seal the team win with a 7-2 score in the day's final bout.
On Sunday, junior Ophir Bernstein (Allen, Texas) grappled to two major decisions and sophomore Anthony Finocchiaro (Canastota, N.Y.) added a fall in 2:17 as Brown narrowly fell to Princeton, 21-16, and toppled Johnson & Wales, 33-15, to wrap up Alumni Weekend. Junior Ricky McDonald (Carson City, Nev.) and Cavey each went unbeaten at 174 and 285, respectively, to help the Bears finish the weekend with a 2-1 record.
BERNSTEIN RANKED NO. 11 AT 184
Bernstein ranks 11th in the country in the 184-pound weight class according to the latest Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine poll. Brown's winningest wrestler this season, Bernstein stands among the nation's elite in a handful of major polls, including InterMat (12th), Amateur Wrestling News (12th) and FloWrestling (13th).
Bernstein slipped two spots from ninth in last week's WIN poll after a narrow 8-5 loss to No. 9 Lorenzo Thomas of Penn on Saturday, but quickly bounced back with a pair of major decisions against Princeton and Johnson & Wales on Sunday. The winner of 11 of his last 13 decisions, Bernstein leads the Bears with a 25-7 record, 10 falls and nine major decisions.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Ivy League rival Harvard arrives on College Hill for the noon meet on Saturday, bringing a 3-6 overall record and 2-6 mark in EIWA competition. The Crimson comes off a weekend sweep by Ancient Eight opponents Penn (23-15) and Princeton (19-17), but the Bears will look to avenge a 21-11 setback to Harvard in 2013.
Sophomore Todd Preston leads the Crimson with a 16-8 record at 141 and has won three straight contests. An expert of the low scoring affair, Preston has paved his way to the top of his team's standings with just two pins and no major decisions. Freshman Eric Morris stands at 15-10 in the 174-pound weight class and boasts a 7-1 record in major decisions. Morris is heating up as of late, outscoring his opponents 18-0 in his last two victories.
The Terriers of Boston University are 3-9 overall and surely remember last year's 19-19 tiebreaker that went in favor of the Bears. Three straight setbacks have seen BU slip to 1-8 in EIWA contention and 0-3 on the road, but senior 157-pounder Nestor Taffur aims to change the Terriers' fortune with his 29-2 record and 12-0 showing in dual meets. Taffur's only losses came at the hands of worthy opponents in Ray Bethea of Penn and No. 5 Dylan Ness of Minnesota.
EIWA CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS ON SALE
The 2014 EIWA Wrestling Championships will take place March 8-9 at The Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The two-day qualifying tournament for the 2014 NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City will be the largest EIWA Championships ever held, with 18 programs looking to lock up berths to the national tournament.
Tickets for the tournament are now on sale via PennAthletics.com or by calling 215-898-6151.
Brown wraps up its five-meet home stand when the Bears host Lehigh on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m.