Mark Lewandowski is not lacking in confidence.
Ask the redshirt senior from Lancaster about beating a wrestler ahead of him in the rankings and he’ll explain that he doesn’t quite see it that way as Lewandowski came into the match believing he was the better wrestler.
It showed in his performance. Lewandowski won the lone match for the University at Buffalo in a 39-3 dual meet loss to Iowa in front of 1,736 at Alumni Arena.
“Mark is wrestling with poise,” Buffalo coach Jim Beichner said. “He’s wrestling with confidence and he’s wrestling aggressive. He’s taking chances and risks and those are the things you need to do to win at the national level. Those are all the things he did tonight. He looked like a guy that was confident out there from beginning to end.”
At 165 pounds, Lewandowski entered the match ranked 22nd while his opponent, Nick Moore, was ranked 18th.
Lewandowski came out for a 2-0 lead in the first period and went on to earn a 7-3 decision, providing the Buffalo highlight of the evening.
“The key was just getting on my offense, going after the guy, not being scared of him,” Lewandowski said. “They’re the same as us. Just going out there, doing what I do best and I came out on top. I’m usually pretty aggressive. I like to score points. I don’t like to go out there and just win by one or two. I just try to do that every match.
“To me the kid really wasn’t ranked ahead of me. ... To me I should have been ranked ahead of him and I showed it tonight.”
He is not an unfamiliar face to the Iowa wrestling program.
Two years ago, Lewandowski was wrestling at 157 pounds. He won the Mid-American Conference championship and went on to the NCAAs where he won three matches. He finished in the top 12 but lost in the All-American round. The wrestler who kept him out of the top eight? Iowa’s Derek St. John.
“We knew who he was and we know that he’s a good competitor,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “[Lewandowski] did what he does best. I think the case was that when we were in scoring opportunities where, you gotta get tough in order to score and Lewandowski toughed it out. That’s good for him.”
Iowa won by decision in seven of the 10 matches. Fifth-ranked Bobby Telford pinned Buffalo’s Justin Heiserman in 1:35 to win at 285 while second-ranked Tony Ramos pinned Erik Galloway in 4:28 at 133.
“You watch film and stuff but you don’t really get a feel for things and it was a style that we had to be ready the whole time,” Brands said. “It was a little bit sneaky at times. ... The mark of a good wrestler is making adjustments as the match goes on. I think we were able to do that. ... We did OK, but they fought. They fought hard.”
Beichner hopes his team learns from the experience.
“I certainly thought we’d be closer in some of the matches. I’m a little disappointed in some of them. I’m sure the guys are, too,” Beichner said. “Believe it or not, that [Iowa] team has beaten other teams much worse than they did us. That doesn’t make me feel good truthfully. We’ve got to get to the point where it’s a closer battle. We’re never going to be happy, whatever the score is if we’re on the losing side. We’ve just got to get better. I just hope these guys realize that the reason why we brought [Iowa] in is to learn [and] get better.”
The match was the fourth annual Takedown Cancer Fundraiser. Held to honor former UB wrestler Jeff Parker, who died in May 2010 from cancer, the event has raised more than $85,000 for the Jeff Parker Foundation and Carly’s Club of Roswell Park.