University at Buffalo: Reporter


Senior 118-pound wrestler Jason Wartinger was the University at Buffalo's lone representative at last week's NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Wartinger finished the meet with a 1-2 mark and was eliminated from the competition with a 5-3 loss to Howard University's Derrick Hinson in the Consolation Bracket on Friday March 21.

Wartinger began the championships with a loss by fall to fourth-ranked Shane Valdez of Oklahoma. However, Wartinger stayed alive by defeating Robert Chevez of American 7-3 in his first consolation bout on Thursday evening.

The senior finished the 1996-97 season with a 31-6 overall record. Wartinger, who began his career at Hofstra where he wrestled for two years before transferring to Buffalo, posted an overall collegiate mark of 99-27 including a 66-12 record for the Bulls.

The University of Iowa won the team championship, taking their sixth crown in the last seven years.

UB's track and field squads headed south to begin their outdoor seasons over the past two weekends.

Sophomore high jumper Shelly Hamilton won Saturday's competition at the Wake Forest Invitational with a leap of 5-5 to lead the Royals.

The squads began their seasons at the 29-team Seahawk Invitational at North Carolina-Wilmington on March 14. Hamilton won the high jump at 5-8, while Terry Scherne took the long jump at 18-7 1/2. For the Bulls, Pat Nolan finished second in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

The Bulls traveled to Hilton Head Island, S.C., for their annual Spring Break matches, where they went 0-6 for the week against some of the strongest teams in the East. UB is now 6-11 for the 1996-97 season.

Coach Russ Crispell's plan was not to schedule easy wins for his team on the trip but to give his individual players competition against national and international level opponents.

Onke Murdono was the Bulls' top player during the week, winning two of his six matches, primarily at number three, including three set wins over Western Illinois' Ben Williams and Bucknell's Steve Bomberger. Murdono also was strong in his losses, especially a 6-0, 6-2 decision to West Alabama's Saif Naeem, who is world ranked and has earned ATP points. Murdono also had strong matches in losses to Brian Boyle of Colgate (7-5, 6-4) and Corry Ehlen of Bradley (7-6, 7-5). Murdono also teammed with Mike Minter to win the number two doubles match against Bucknell 8-4.

Against Bradley, a strong Missouri Valley Conference team, Orrin Pridgen stepped up for the Bulls, defeating Travis Graf 6-3, 6-2 at number five singles and combining with Travis Melnik to down Graf and Ben Close 8-5 at third doubles. Melnik also earned a singles victory at number six over Jason Hutchison of Western Illinois 6-4, 6-1.

The University at Buffalo Bulls football team will commence work on a follow up to their breakthrough 8-3 season last fall when they begin spring workouts for the 1997 season on April 3.

UB will once again have one of the finest indoor football facilities in the country at their disposal when they begin the first of 15 spring sessions. The Bulls will utilize the Buffalo Bills' Ralph C. Wilson Fieldhouse for 14 of their practice sessions, with the annual Blue-White scrimmage set for Sunday, April 27, at 2 p.m at UB Stadium. Admission is free for that event.

Head coach Craig Cirbus will welcome 66 veterans to spring practice, of which only 12 are seniors.

"The emphasis will be on teaching this spring with so many underclassmen," said Cirbus. "We have some major holes to fill with the loss of 19 seniors last season, not only because of their productivity on the field but also their leadership qualities.

"Personnel-wise, our emphasis during this spring will focus on exposing the many players to as many repetitions as possible," said Cirbus. "It is not necessarily a goal to determine exact starters for each position but rather an opportunity to force-feed experience on so many underclassmen in the limited time we are allowed under NCAA rules."

Last season, the Bulls' use of the complex was a big reason for their remarkable turnaround on the gridiron. After nine straight losing seasons, the Bulls put together an outstanding 8-3 record that included victories over Cornell, Maine, Illinois State and Hofstra.

"The opportunuties that the Ralph C. Wilson Fieldhouse give us in terms of preparation and the ability to work out under the same environment every day cannot be measured," said Cirbus, honored as the NCAA Division I-AA Independent Coach of the Year after last season. "The work that we were able to accomplish there last season was a major factor in the strides that we made as a football team.

"We are once again extremely thankful to John Butler, coach Marv Levy and the Bills organization for their continued support of our program," said Cirbus. "We are looking forward to another highly intensive spring session in a great atmosphere to work and get better. Quite frankly, assembling a compeititve Division I-A college football program in this geographic region would be impossible without the support of these facilities."

­ Ted Wasko, Sports Information Office

None scheduled

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