Matt Kaylor turned in a strong performance at Saturday’s Journeymen/ASICS Northeast Collegiate Duals wrestling tournament at Hudson Valley Community College.
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School graduate posted a 3-1 record in the 165-pound division to help Binghamton University finish the tournament with a 4-0 record.
“It gets harder every year,” said Kaylor, who is a fifth-year senior on Pat Popolizio’s Bearcats squad. “[Tournament director] Frank [Popolizio] gets better and better teams.”
Kaylor was one of three former Section II wrestlers competing at the Northeast Collegiate Duals. Fellow Binghamton wrestler Nick Gwiazdowski (Duanesburg High School) posted a 2-1 record in the 287-pound division, and Lehigh’s James Carucci (Shenendehowa) lost all three of his bouts.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Kaylor. “You count the number of Section II guys that make it in collegiate athletics, and it’s rather small.”
Frank Popolizio said he’s hoping to see more Section II alumni on the mats of his annual tournament in future years.
“It’s a process, but it’s one of our goals,” said Popolizio. “Any time you have a plan, you have a chance to succeed.”
The Northeast Colle-giate Duals attracted several top 25-ranked NCAA programs includ-ing Lehigh (No. 6), American University (No. 8), Maryland (No. 11), Rutgers (No. 14), Pennsylvania (No. 16) and Purdue (No. 24).
Binghamton proved itself to be as good as any of those ranked teams as it beat Purdue 24-15, Army 20-13, Arizona State 28-15 and Eastern Michigan 22-12.
Kaylor’s lone loss came in his opening bout against Purdue’s Kyle Mosier. He then came back to earn a majority decision over Army’s Coleman Gracey, a pin against Arizona State’s Hans Rasmusson and a 9-5 victory over Eastern Michigan’s Lester France.
“This is what it’s all about – [wrestling against] a bunch of ranked teams and ranked wrestlers,” said Kaylor.
Kaylor said he’s hoping to use his Northeast Col-legiate Duals performance as a springboard to a top seven finish at the NCAA Championships in March. Kaylor has been to two previous NCAA tournaments, but has only won one of his five career bouts.
“I definitely want to be on the podium in St. Louis,” said Kaylor. “It’s my last chance.”
This isn’t the last year of the Northeast Collegiate Duals, though. Popolizio said he has some big plans for next year’s event, which mark the 10th anniversary of the tournament.
“It’s growing, and I think we’ll grow even more,” said Popolizio.