VESTAL, NY – When you think about the world of college wrestling, there are typically a handful of brand-name schools that come to mind.

You’ve got Iowa, Penn State, Cornell, Oklahoma State, and pretty much any other Midwestern school you can think of.

However, it might be time to start mentioning the Binghamton Bearcats as a legitimate threat come NCAA Tournament time.

Coming off a season that saw Bearcat wrestlers win three EIWA Championships and sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament, BU has high hopes for this season.

Led by redshirt senior Lou DePrez, Binghamton is poised to make another run to March, and the team is hopeful to have even more representatives this year.

However, they have a lot of work to do before then, and it starts with a very challenging schedule.

Not including larger events, BU will face four nationally-ranked opponents, including #19 Rutgers this coming weekend and #6 Virginia Tech in January, along with four more teams that have received votes.

With many teams bringing back rosters littered with 5th, 6th, 7th, and even 8th-year wrestlers, head coach Kyle Borshoff believes that this year could be the best, and deepest, field ever in an NCAA Tournament.

Having that in mind, Borshoff sees his team’s schedule as a useful measuring stick for March.

“In our sport, at the end of the day, the EIWA Championship and the NCAA Championship are the most important events, hands down, of the year. Which is why we built our schedule to compete with the best guys in the country, so that we know exactly what we need to work on to get to where we can be. So, the goal is to have those guys to that point in March, not necessarily to have them at that point right now,” Borshoff said.

The Bearcats are returning four NCAA qualifiers from a season ago, including heavyweight Joe Doyle.

Doyle, a redshirt senior, earned his 1st trip to the NCAA’s a season ago, and now finds himself ranked 28th in the country coming into this season.

While he has high expectations for himself, and the team, Doyle is just trying to keep things simple.

“Taking it one match at a time, just beating the guy in front of me, and climbing as high up on the podium in March as I personally can go. For the team, I mean, we have a tough lineup. I think the sky’s the limit for us. I expect us to be in the national rankings consistently throughout the year,” he said.

Doyle and the Bearcats will have their first opportunity to show what they can do this weekend when they head to New Jersey for the Rutgers Scarlet Knight Quad meet.

BU will start Sunday with a match against Cleveland State, followed by New Jersey City University, and culminating with a match-up against the 19th-ranked Scarlet Knights.

BU will then host the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open the following week on Sunday the 14th.