BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo Bulls wrestling team announced its 2012-13 schedule Monday afternoon, with another season highlighted by aggressive scheduling against some of the top talent in the nation. This season, the Bulls will bring perennial powerhouse Iowa to Alumni Arena for its fourth annual Takedown Cancer event on Dec. 17. Additionally, the Bulls will be hosting the 2013 Mid-American Conference championships on March 10.
The Hawkeyes finished third in the 2012 NCAA national championships and had six All-Americans and one national champion. This will be the first meeting ever between the two teams, and it is the first of two scheduled duals between the two programs, as Buffalo will face Iowa on the road in the 2013-14 season.
"Having Iowa come here - and us going to Iowa next year - is a huge step in the right direction for our program," said head coach Jim Beichner. "It's something that's hopefully not just exciting for our team, but for Western New York and all of our alumni and friends of the progam."
Before that, the season will kick off on Nov. 4 with the UB Invite, marking a slight change in format to the standard season-opening tournament. While in the past it was an open tournament, this season, the UB Invite will offer team scoring in a competition that will feature the region's top teams and wrestlers. Unattached wrestlers will also compete, but this season, each team will field a group of starters to compete to win a team championship.
Following that, the team embarks on a streak of six duals and two tournaments in just over a month, starting with its MAC opener at Central Michigan on Dec. 9 that has tremendous historical impact for UB. That dual will be the 1,000th dual in program history, and the 276th in the career of head coach Jim Beichner. That is followed up one week later with the team's home opener against Iowa.
The team will then hit the road again for three straight road events, starting Dec. 18 at Bloomsburg. Then, the Bulls will split up the squad for a pair of tournaments to close out 2012. On Dec. 29, the team will send a select few wrestlers to the Midlands tournament at Northwestern University. Widely regarded as the most prestigious in-season tournament in the country, the Midlands will celebrate its 50th year in 2012. Last season, John-Martin Cannon earned Buffalo's highest individual finish after placing fourth. UB wrestlers who are not competing at the Midlands will participate in the Lock Haven Invite on the same day.
Buffalo opens the new year at Binghamton on Jan. 2 before coming home on Jan. 6 to take on Edinboro. The following Friday, the team will head down to the mid-Atlantic region for the Virginia Duals. This will be the third season in the duals tournament, and after placing in the past two season, the Bulls will strive for a team title against numerous national powerhouses.
A quartet of MAC duals soon follows, with UB hosting Eastern Michigan (Jan. 18), Kent State (Feb. 3), and Northern Illinois (Feb. 16), and battling Ohio on the road (Jan. 26).
Another new event for the team will be held on Feb. 23, with the Regional Duals hosted by Franklin and Marshall in Lancaster, PA. Featuring Lock Haven, Purdue, Duke, Rider, and the host Diplomats of F&M, the duals event will feature at least two dual matches for the Bulls to close out the regular season.
The Bulls will then host the MAC tournament championship for the first time since 2007, with head coach Jim Beichner excited to show just how much the young UB squad has grown from last season.
Following that, the team hopes to send another handful of wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, hosted this season in Des Moines, Iowa at the Wells Fargo Arena.
"We made a commitment years ago that our schedule would get better and tougher every year," Beichner said. "When you do that, you take more risks, but we hope the rewards come with these risks. Unless you make a schedule where you wrestle the best, you won't ever get to the level of the very best."