The Bears traveled to Texas to challenge themselves against some of the nation's best teams on Saturday, coming away with an 0-4 record at the end of a grueling day of competition. Senior Bran Crudden led the Bears with three wins at 184 pounds, but his effort wasn't enough, as Brown fell to Utah Valley, Air Force, Oklahoma, and Northwestern. With the losses, the Bears fall to 2-5 on the young season.
Bruno kicked off the day with a match against Utah Valley, which used a quick start to jump out to an early 10-0 lead. Senior Stephen DeLorenzo regained some momentum at 141, however, taking a 5-2 decision to earn three points for Brown. After a Utah Valley win at 149, senior Bryan Tracy took the second decision of the day for Bruno, winning a thrilling 7-6 bout against rookie Clay Frost. Crudden and classmate Larry Otsuka then turned in back-to-back wins at 184 and 197 pounds respectively, but Utah Valley was able to hold on for a 24-12 overall win.
In the second match of the day, the Bears squared off against the Air Force Academy in what proved to be the closest competition of the day for Brown, as the Falcons pulled out a narrow 18-15 win. Senior Greg Einfrank started things off at 125, winning a 5-2 decision over Andrew Zwirlein to give Brown the early 3-0 lead. After the Falcons picked up wins at 133 and 141, rookie Philip Marano came up with a clutch 3-2 win at 149 pounds, evening the score in a hard-fought bout. Continuing the back-and-forth action, Air Force won at 157 before Brown's Jeff Lemmer won an impressive 10-5 decision at 165 pounds. The Falcons' Tyler French picked up a pivotal fall at 174 though, giving Air Force a six-point edge with three events remaining. Though Crudden and Branden Stearns again won at 184 and 197 to tie the bout for a fourth time, the Falcons won the climactic decision at 285 for an 18-15 final win.
The Bears then faced perhaps the stiffest competition that they will face all season in Oklahoma, a perennial powerhouse from the Big XII. After the Sooners won the first two events to open up a 9-0 lead, DeLorenzo proved that he wasn't intimidated, winning a major decision over rookie Nick Burnham. DeLorenzo had an impressive 2:09 of riding time, ending with a dominating 11-1 win to earn four points for Brown. From there it was all Sooners, however, as Oklahoma won the remaining seven weight classes, ultimately coming away with a 36-4 win.
Brown wrapped up the Duals with a match against another strong program in Northwestern, and again came up just short, as the Wildcats won a tough 23-18 decision. The first three weight classes gave Bruno a 12-3 lead, as freshman Christian Martino and sophomore T.J. Popolizio won forfeits at 125 and 141 respectively, while Northwestern took a decision at 133. The Wildcats used a strong run to regain the lead though, rolling off wins at 149, 157, 165, and 174 before Crudden won a 6-4 decision at 184 to regain some momentum for the Bears. Stearns then gave the Bears further life at 197, picking up a 3-1 win to move the Bears within two points of Northwestern, giving them a shot at the victory. The Wildcats took an extremely tough 2-1 decision at 285 though, taking a narrow 23-18 win.
The Bears will be back in action on Thursday, January 21, when they travel to Pennsylvania to take on the Bucknell Bison at 7:00 p.m.