This weekend, the focus of New York college wrestling was in Ithaca.
First, on Friday night, Cornell defeated Binghamton 30-7 in a rematch of the dual won on criteria by the Big Red a year ago in Vestal. For full results of the meet between the Big Red and the Bearcats, see here.
On Saturday and Sunday, most of the Empire State’s squads across all divisions competed in the New York State Championships, with the varsity competition on the first day and the “B” event on Sunday.
For final brackets from Saturday’s event, see:
To watch a video replay of the championship matches, see here.
Here are a few quick observations from Saturday’s action:
Cornell Freshmen Didn’t Look Like Rookies
Without two defending NCAA champions (Kyle Dake and Steve Bosak) and a number of other starters, the Big Red won the team title on Saturday by more than 30 points. Contributing significantly were freshmen such as Nahshon Garrett, Chris Dowdy and Craig Scott. All three won their debuts in a Cornell singlet against the Bearcats on Friday night and they all followed up with strong showings in the tournament.
Garrett earned Most Outstanding Wrestler honors after capturing the 125-pound title with a 13-9 victory over returning All-American Steve Bonanno of Hofstra. It was the second week in a row on top of the podium for the California native, who won the Binghamton Open during the season’s opening weekend.
Scott beat NCAA qualifier Cody Reed of the Bearcats in the dual on Friday and then did it again, by a larger margin, on Saturday. That victory put him in the finals, where he upended Tyler Beckwith to win the tournament a week after taking second at the Binghamton Open.
The finals of the Cornell wrestle-offs at 157 pounds featured Craig Eifert and Jesse Shanaman, but with both out due to injuries, Chris Dowdy made sure the Big Red remained strong at the weight class. Dowdy notched a convincing 5-0 shutout in the meet against Binghamton and then fought his way to the finals on Saturday, where he took silver behind NCAA qualifier Jake O’Hara of Columbia.
The performances of the three first-year Cornell students bodes well for the future of the Ivy League squad, as does the work of 141-pounder Mike Nevinger who didn’t yield a point all day. He recorded three pins and outscored his opponents 13-0 in his other two bouts to win the tournament. Similarly dominant was 197-pounder Jace Bennett, who pinned his way to the championship match, where he notched a major decision.
Champions from Columbia
The Lions led the team race for portions of the day on Saturday and boasted three champions – Steve Santos (149), Jake O’Hara (157) and Stephen West (174). There’s no question that the trio will make the Lions tough in the middleweights in 2012-13. Santos and O’Hara both won multiple matches at the NCAA tournament last year and West was on the verge of receiving an at large bid. All three were in control throughout the day, but they weren’t alone in excelling for the Lions. The New York City-based team also had other top four finishers — Penn Gottfried (fourth at 125), Joe Moita (fourth at 133), Josh Houldsworth (third at 165) and Nick Mills (second at 197).
Hofstra Takes Third
Hofstra had one champion on the way to third place in the team competition, but it wasn’t one of the Pride’s returning 2012 NCAA qualifiers. It was Paul Snyder, who breezed through the early rounds before a 3-1 decision over Buffalo’s Justin Heiserman in the title match. Rob Anspach’s squad had five other representatives earn top four spots, with Steve Bonanno (125) and Jermaine John (174) taking second; Jamie Franco (133) and Luke Vaith (141) grabbing third; and Nick Terdick notching fourth.
Standout Performances for Cortland
Only one non-Division I wrestler made the finals – Tyler Beckwith of Cortland at 184 pounds. But Beckwith wasn’t the only grappler from the Red Dragons to impress. Bobby Dierna took third at 149 with his only loss coming by a point to champion Steve Santos. Jared Myhrberg was fourth at 197 and Corey James rebounded from a first round loss to take fourth at 285. Brad Bruhn’s squad finished sixth in the team standings, the highest finish for a non-Division I team.
Another DIII team, Ithaca, had some strong showings, including bronze finishes for both Jules Doliscar at 174 and Ricardo Gomez at 125.
Mark Lewandowski Knows How to Pile Up the Points
You could say Lewandowski was dominant on his way to the crown at 165 pounds. In his first four matches, he outscored his opponents by a combined 62-1 tally, winning each bout by technical fall. Two of the matches ended in less than one period. His prowess in winning by at least 15 points wasn’t surprising – he had the most technical falls in the nation last year. But we saw first hand that if you look away for too long, you can miss a lot of points when the Buffalo senior is on the mat. (He won 12-6 in the finals).
Lewandowski’s teammates Andrew Schutt and Justin Heiserman also went to the championship bout before taking second. None of Schutt’s matches went the distance. He won his first three by fall and then was pinned in the finale by Cornell’s Mike Nevinger.
The “B” Tournament
Cornell had four champions on Saturday and another three on Sunday in the “B” tournament. Ryan Dunphy (149), Michael Alexander (174) and Jacob Aiken-Phillips (285) all captured first place for the Big Red.
In addition, two more more Ithaca-based grapplers earned gold with Taylor Simaz (157) and Gabe Dean (184) winning for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club.
Buffalo and Columbia each boasted a pair of victors. Sean Walton (133) and Dominic Montesanti (165) won for the Bulls while Robert Dyar (125) and Matt Idelson (197) were champions for the Lions. Army’s Tyler Rauenzahn rounded out the champions as he stood on top of the medal stand at 141 pounds.
Final brackets for the “B” tournament are here.