Grapple at the Garden Recap: Cornell Tops Illinois and Maryland; Hofstra Wins a Pair of Duals and Much More

Cornell and Hofstra both went 2-0 at the second annual Grapple at the Garden in New York City on Sunday, with one dual coming to down to the wire for each squad.

Lane, Photo by BV

In the spotlight meet of the day, the #6 Big Red took on #7 Illinois.  While more than 10 ranked wrestlers took the mat in the dual, it came down to the only bout not featuring at least one nationally-ranked grappler — heavyweight.  Entering the 285 pound contest, the score was deadlocked at 15.  And after two periods, Stryker Lane and Chris Lopez were tied at 2, with riding time at over a minute and a half for the Illini competitor.  Lane rode out the third to send it to overtime, where in the second set of tiebreakers, the Cornell senior got the early escape during his turn on bottom and then hung tough on top to earn the victory and an 18-15 triumph for the Big Red.

Both teams won five matches, with only one bonus point contest – a pin for Gabe Dean at 184 pounds over Nikko Reyes.  In that pivotal bout, Dean trailed 4-2 entering the third, but quickly escaped and kept pushing the pace.  He notched a takedown with less than 30 seconds to go and then turned Reyes for back points and the fall with just five seconds remaining.

Cornell dropped into a 6-0 hole early, with #1 Jesse Delgado topping #2 Nahshon Garrett 6-2 and Zane Richards winning the battle of super freshmen at 133 over Mark Grey.  Cornell rebounded by taking three decisions in a row, by Mike Nevinger (141), Chris Villlaonga (149) and Brian Realbuto (157) to go ahead 9-6.  The first two got out to early leads and controlled their matches, while Realbuto came from behind with a dominant third stanza to win 8-3 over #15 Zach Brunson.

The Illini pulled ahead 12-9 with wins at 165 (Jackson Morse) and 174 (Tony Dallago) before the previously mentioned Gabe Dean pin made it 15-12 Cornell.  The win by Mario Gonzalez at 197 over Jace Bennett set up the 15-15 tie and Lane’s heroics.

The first dual of the day had a lot less drama, as the Big Red captured a 31-9 victory over Maryland. Nahshon Garrett got the Big Red off to a strong start with a fall and Mark Grey followed up with a decision in which he controlled the bout throughout.  At 141, Mike Nevinger‘s season debut was spoiled by Shyheim Brown, who used solid mat wrestling to get the Terps on the board with a decision.  However, the Big Red responded with four consecutive victories, beginning with Chris Villalonga‘s 5-0 win at 149.  It was then bonus point time as Brian Realbuto majored Danny Orem at 157, Dylan Palacio held a commanding lead at 165 before his opponent injury defaulted and Duke Pickett came out on top by double digits at 174.

Then, at 184, freshman Gabe Dean faced #2 Jimmy Sheptock.  In a hard fought bout, the Maryland All-American picked up a 5-3 decision.  Jace Bennett collected Cornell’s seventh win of the morning with a technical fall at 197 before #7 Spencer Myers edged Stryker Lane at heavyweight, 2-1.

 

Hofstra Takes Two

New York teams Hofstra and Army squared off in Round 1 on Sunday in a dual that came down to the final match.  It was Pride freshman Mike Hughes picking up a 6-4 win at 285 over the Army’s starting 197-pounder Bryce Barnes to make the final score 23-16.

Franco, Photo by BV

The Pride began well, capturing the first four contests via decisions by Jamie Franco at 125 and Cody Ruggirello at 149 as well as bonus victories by Jamel Hudson and Luke Vaith at 133 and 141, respectively.  Hudson majored Logan Everett 11-3, while Vaith pinned Tyler Rauenzahn.

Army got things rolling after that, taking four of the last six.  Paul Hancock avenged a loss at the last weekend’s New York State Intercollegiates when he majored Nick Terdick at 157. Alex Smith (174) and Austin Wilding (197) grabbed decisions for Army, with Ryan Tompkins adding valuable points with a fall at 184.  That set up the big finish at heavyweight.

Hofstra’s next dual didn’t come down to the wire.  In fact, the Pride nabbed eight victories, including falls by Jamie Franco (125) and Jamel Hudson (133) to give the squad an immediate 12-0 advantage.  Also winning by bonus were Luke Vaith (141), Frank Affronti (174) and Zeal McGrew (197) while Cody Ruggirello (149), Joe Booth (165) and Dwight Howes (184) also were victorious.

 

And More New York Action . . .

After the close dual with Hofstra, Army had another tight clash with Princeton in the afternoon, with the Tigers winning 21-15. The Black Knights picked up three decisions – by Tyler Rauenzahn (141), Coleman Gracey (165) and Ryan Tompkins (184).  In addition, Hunter Wood got the fall at 125 over 2013 NYS champion Trey Aslanian of Edgemont.

In a NCWA showcase, two local teams, Stony Brook and Westchester took the mat at 10 a.m. After Westchester’s Charles Gonzalez earned a 14-6 major at 125, Stony Brook won the next eight contests, including three falls (by Michael LaNasa at 141, Michael Shimer at 149 and Jon Campenelli at 197).  Matt Frey and Kris Martin both picked up majors, at 165 and 184, respectively, while Jonathan Crespo (133), Joe Jackson (157) and Scott Dunkirk (174) also got their hand raised. Obum Anayiche of Westchester brought a positive ending for his squad with a fall at heavyweight.

NYU at the NYS Intercollegiates, Photo by BV

Additional nearby squads, NYU and Stevens Tech competed in the second session in a Division III meeting.  All-American Brandon Jones won by major at 141 for NYU, while Patrick Sheehan also got his hand raised at 184, however the New Jersey team grabbed a 25-7 decision.

Seeing action in freestyle matches were a number of New Yorkers, including former Cornell All-American Frank Perrelli and Long Island native Jenna Burkert. In addition, assistant coaches Hudson Taylor of Columbia and Enock Francois of Army both won their bouts, with Francois blanking Austin Trotman 7-0 at 185 pounds and Taylor besting Rustam Ghsiev, 10-2 at 220.  Former Buffalo star Kyle Cerminara also came out on top, beating Ryan Martinez in a 285-pound bout.

The box scores for the Grapple at the Garden college matches involving New York teams are below (courtesy of Track Wrestling):

Cornell defeated Illinois 18-15
125 – Jesse Delgado (Illinois) over Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) Dec 6-2
133 – Zane Richards (Illinois) over Mark Grey (Cornell) Dec 4-2
141 – Michael Nevinger (Cornell) over Steven Rodrigues (Illinois) Dec 7-2
149 – Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over John Fahy (Illinois) Dec 8-3
157 – Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Zach Brunson (Illinois) Dec 8-3
165 – Jackson Morse (Illinois) over Dylan Palacio (Cornell) Dec 8-4
174 – Tony Dallago (Illinois) over George Pickett (Cornell) Dec 9-4
184 – Gabriel Dean (Cornell) over Nico Reyes (Illinois) Fall 6:55
197 – Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) over Jace Bennett (Cornell) Dec 7-1
285 – Stryker Lane (Cornell) over Chris Lopez (Illinois) TB-2 4-3

Cornell defeated Maryland 31-9
125 – Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) over Paul O`Neill (Maryland) Fall 3:00
133 – Mark Grey (Cornell) over Tyler Goodwin (Maryland) Dec 4-1
141 – Shyhiem Brown (Maryland) over Michael Nevinger (Cornell) Dec 5-0
149 – Christopher Villalonga (Cornell) over Derrick Evanovich (Maryland) Dec 5-0
157 – Brian Realbuto (Cornell) over Danny Orem (Maryland) Maj 16-5
165 – Dylan Palacio (Cornell) over Tyler Manion (Maryland) Inj 3:23
174 – George Pickett (Cornell) over Anthony Gardner (Maryland) Maj 12-2
184 – Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) over Gabriel Dean (Cornell) Dec 5-3
197 – Jace Bennett (Cornell) over Chris Jastrzebski (Maryland) TF 19-1
285 – Spencer Myers (Maryland) over Stryker Lane (Cornell) Dec 2-0

Hofstra defeated Army 23-16
125 – Jamie Franco (Hofstra) over Hunter Wood (Army) Dec 3-1
133 – Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) over Logan Everett (Army) Maj 11-3
141 – Luke Vaith (Hofstra) over Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) Fall 5:15
149 – Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) over Mark Marchetti (Army) Dec 4-0
157 – Paul Hancock (Army) over Nick Terdick (Hofstra) Maj 15-6
165 – Joseph Booth (Hofstra) over Coleman Gracey (Army) Maj 14-4
174 – Alex Smith (Army) over Frank Affronti (Hofstra) Dec 3-1
184 – Ryan Tompkins (Army) over Victor Pozsonyi (Hofstra) Fall 0:50
197 – Austin Wilding (Army) over David Heitman (Hofstra) Dec 8-4
285 – Michael Hughes (Hofstra) over Bryce Barnes (Army) Dec 6-4

Hofstra defeated Boston Univ. 35-6
125 – Jamie Franco (Hofstra) over Chris McGinley (Boston Univ.) Fall 3:20
133 – Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) over Dane Harlowe (Boston Univ.) Fall 1:27
141 – Luke Vaith (Hofstra) over Tyler Scotton (Boston Univ.) Maj 8-0
149 – Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) over Nick Tourville (Boston Univ.) Dec 7-0
157 – Nestor Taffur (Boston Univ.) over Nick Terdick (Hofstra) Dec 4-2
165 – Joseph Booth (Hofstra) over Mitchell Wightman (Boston Univ.) Dec 4-1
174 – Frank Affronti (Hofstra) over Andrew Maksimovic (Boston Univ.) Maj 9-0
184 – Dwight Howes (Hofstra) over Aaron Conrad (Boston Univ.) Dec 5-2
197 – Zeal McGrew (Hofstra) over Unknown (Unattached) Forf
285 – Kevin Innis (Boston Univ.) over Michael Hughes (Hofstra) Dec 3-1

Princeton defeated Army 21-15
125 – Hunter Wood (Army) over John Aslanian (Princeton) Fall 4:28
133 – Jordan Laster (Princeton) over Logan Everett (Army) Dec 5-2
141 – Tyler Rauenzahn (Army) over Christopher Perez (Princeton) Dec 8-4
149 – Kevin Moylan (Princeton) over Mark Marchetti (Army) Dec 7-4
157 – Mathew Gancayco (Princeton) over Paul Hancock (Army) Dec 5-3
165 – Coleman Gracey (Army) over Judson Ziegler (Princeton) Dec 4-1
174 – Brett Harner (Princeton) over Alex Smith (Army) Fall 2:52
184 – Ryan Tompkins (Army) over Scott Gibbons (Princeton) Dec 9-3
197 – Daniel Santoro (Princeton) over Bryce Barnes (Army) Dec 6-4
285 – Cole Lampman (Princeton) over Stephen Snyder (Army) Dec 3-2

Stevens Institute of Technology defeated New York Univ. 25-7
125 – Rob Murray (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Wayne Yuan (New York Univ.) Dec 3-0
133 – Ryan Wilson (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Corbin Lee (New York Univ.) Dec 3-2
141 – Brandon Jones (New York Univ.) over Rick Perrine (Stevens Institute of Technology) Maj 17-6
149 – Mike Polizzi (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Darryl Albonico (New York Univ.) Maj 13-2
157 – Jake Odell (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Matt DiGiovanni (New York Univ.) Dec 4-0
165 – Conner Bass (Stevens Institute of Technology) over John Messinger (New York Univ.) Dec 8-6
174 – Ryan Dormann (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Brian Anderson (New York Univ.) Dec 3-0
184 – Patrick Sheehan (New York Univ.) over Tristan Hollenbaugh (Stevens Institute of Technology) Dec 4-0
197 – Alex Moreno (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Daniel Brereton (New York Univ.) Dec 7-1
285 – Chris Florek (Stevens Institute of Technology) over Anthony Chu (New York Univ.) Dec 3-2

Stony Brook defeated Westchester CC 35-10
125 – Charles Gonzalez (Westchester CC) over Austin Hecher (Stony Brook) Maj 14-6
133 – Jonathan Crespo (Stony Brook) over Frank Lazo (Westchester CC) Dec 8-6
141 – Michael LaNasa (Stony Brook) over Kevin Jiminez (Westchester CC) Fall 1:12
149 – Michael Shimer (Stony Brook) over Mike Figueroa (Westchester CC) Fall 6:58
157 – Joe Jackson (Stony Brook) over David Rivera (Westchester CC) Dec 6-0
165 – Matt Frey (Stony Brook) over Ibrahin Simreen (Westchester CC) Maj 15-2
174 – Scott Dunkirk (Stony Brook) over Ray Ramos (Westchester CC) SV-1 8-6
184 – Kris Martin (Stony Brook) over James Danko (Westchester CC) Maj 13-4
197 – Jon Campenelli (Stony Brook) over Adolphe Lubin (Westchester CC) Fall 2:07
285 – Obum Anayiche (Westchester CC) over Lautaro Epstein (Stony Brook) Fall 1:32

Kyle Dake Tops Former World Champion and World Bronze Medalist on His Way to Fifth at the Golden Grand Prix in Azerbaijan

 

Photo by BV

Kyle Dake defeated a Russian opponent, Boris Makoev, in Ithaca last weekend at 74 kg/163 pounds.  On Sunday, he faced two more Russian foes, as well as other accomplished grapplers at the Golden Grand Prix Finals in Azerbaijan, where he took fifth place with some quality victories.  The amazing part – he did it all with a fractured hand.

The four-time NCAA champion began the day well with a 7-1 triumph over Ali Shabanau of Belarus, a 2013 World bronze medalist.  That victory earned him a meeting with two-time World champion Denis Tsargush of Russia and he picked up a huge 10-5 win.

In the semifinals, another Russian opponent, Gadzhi Gadzhiev, defeated Dake and in the bronze bout, the Cornell graduate and Azerbaijan’s former World bronze winner Ashraf Aliyev ended their match tied at 3, with Aliyev getting the victory on criteria.  In his first big international tournament, Dake certainly showed his mettle, beating some of the top grapplers in the world, and doing so with a significant injury.

Jimmy Kennedy was the only USA wrestler with a top three showing, as he collected a bronze medal at 60 kg.

Cornell Defeats Binghamton 33-6 in Home Opener; Realbuto and Dean Dominate With Pins for the Big Red

The night before the New York State intercollegiates, two Empire State squads, Cornell and Binghamton, took the mat in Ithaca with the Big Red winning eight of 10 bouts in a 33-6 final.

The home team started five freshmen and four of them came out on top.  Mark Grey made his home debut with a dominant 18-3 technical fall over fellow rookie (and three-time New York state champion) Nick Tighe at 133 pounds.  Both Brian Realbuto (157) and Gabe Dean (184) recorded pins in their first bouts in Bartels Hall, while Dylan Palacio captured a 10-6 decision at 165.  Corey Dake, in the lineup for All-American Mike Nevinger, dropped a 4-2 match at 141.

“I think the young guys showed the style we want our team to perform on the mat,” said Cornell assistant coach Damion Hahn.  “They did a great job in their first duals.  I think the veterans wrestled well, but they can do some things differently with match strategy.  As a whole, I think the guys wrestled well for our opener.  It’s important to get those jitters out right away.”

The Bearcats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead when David White edged Bricker Dixon at 125 by a 4-3 score.  The Big Red junior got on the board first with a takedown and held a 3-2 lead in the third period. However, White won a late scramble to pick up two points and the victory.

Grey, Photo by BV

Mark Grey took control right away at 133, collecting a 9-2 lead after one with a combination of takedowns and back points, before notching the technical fall early in the third.

The next two bouts were a lot closer, however. Both were 4-2 decisions with the winning points scored late.

At 141, Cornell’s Corey Dake squared off with Dylan Caruana.  The match was deadlocked at two in the final period when the Bearcat grappler took Dake down with less than 10 seconds to go for the 4-2 victory and a 6-5 Binghamton advantage in the meet.

Then, in a rematch of the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open semifinals at 149, Chris Villalonga and Joe Bonaldi were tied at two after seven minutes of action. In sudden victory, both wrestlers were close to scoring on the edge before Villalonga picked up a takedown to win 4-2 and put the Big Red ahead on the scoreboard for good.

In the last bout before intermission, Brian Realbuto made a stellar impression in his first home contest, scoring less than 15 seconds after the opening whistle and holding a 10-1 lead after the first period.  In the second, he reversed Colton Perry to his back and registered the pin to make the halftime score 14-6.

Continuing the youth movement for Cornell was Dylan Palacio, who controlled the 165-pound contest with Vincent Grella.  In fact, he took a 2-0 advantage just 10 seconds into the match and kept attacking throughout, leading to a 10-6 triumph.

The Big Red kept the ball rolling, winning the final four matches.  Owen Scott was completely dominant at 174, nabbing a 15-2 major over John Paris, while Gabe Dean had three quick takedowns in the first before turning Caleb Wallace for the fall.

At 197, Jace Bennett took Cody Reed down with just 20 ticks left in the third for a 4-2 victory and Stryker Lane followed with a win at heavyweight. Lane led 3-0 after two. However, Deuel made a furious comeback with a trio of takedowns before Lane’s riding time gave him a 7-6 victory.

Wrestlers from the Big Red and Bearcats will be back in action on Sunday at the New York State Intercollegiates on Cornell’s campus, along with over 20 other New York squads.

Big Red Update: Binghamton Open Recap and Some Big Upcoming Events

 

Cornell head coach Rob Koll provided the following update on last weekend’s opening action at the Binghamton Open and some big upcoming events in Ithaca.

 

Our guys opened the season wrestling “unattached” this past weekend in Binghamton. It was a great opportunity to put our practice room training to the test.  I am pleased to say that the vast majority of our guys passed.  Here is a brief synopsis of the weekend.

 

 

125:

I’m pretty sure I/we said that Nahshon Garrett would be a national champion before he graduated from Cornell.  The good news is it looks like he will make us look prophetic sooner rather than later. Nahshon absolutely dominated the field.  This domination included a 7-4 finals victory over Penn State’s 2x NCAA runner-up Nico Megaludis.  Nahshon has improved every facet of his wrestling.

133:

When we recruited current assistant coach Mike Grey almost seven years ago, we did so with the sole intent of attracting his much tougher brother Mark.  Our master plan is currently paying dividends. Mark blew through the weight class and wasn’t challenged until the finals where he defeated his Penn State opponent by a 3-1 score.  Over the past year, Mark has developed into an incredibly physical and athletic 133 pounder.  He is strong in every position and is brutally tough.  I do not recall ever having a freshman who hand-fights or controls the position as well as Mark. That being said, I have to say that in all honesty brother Mike still kicks his a… in practice! (Sophomore Logan David was 1-2).

141:

Mike Nevinger is nursing an injury but will be back in time for the Grapple at the Garden, if not sooner.  Corey Dake won two matches in his freshman debut while fellow freshman Eli Bienstock claimed one victory.

149:

Chris Villalonga looked great, pinning two opponents and winning by major decision in two other bouts.  He has put on a few pounds of muscle and he is wrestling with confidence.  Freshman Alex Cisneros also looked great as he dominated his way to the finals.  The two did not wrestle in the finals.

157:

Freshmen Brian Realbuto (7-1) and Taylor Simaz (5-1) both wrestled well.  This weight was a major question mark going into the season.  I am quite comfortable that this weight class will not be a weakness for the Big Red! (Chris Dowdy was 4-2)

165:

Junior Craig Eifert made a successful return to the mats after sitting out last year due to a knee injury.  Craig cruised to the finals before falling to NCAA champion David Taylor.  Craig is as good as anyone on his feet but needs to commit to his mat work.  Marshall Peppelman and Dylan Palacio were unable to compete due to injury and sickness.  Marshall will be back in two weeks and Dylan will compete this weekend. Jake George was 2-2.

174:

Sophomore Owen Scott wrestled his way to the finals before falling to All-American Matt Brown.  Owen is long, lanky and funky. He got a little banged up and will miss this weekend’s Red/White match.  Jesse Shanaman went 6-1 on his way to third place.

184:

Freshman Gabe “Bear” Dean mauled his way to the finals before falling to 2X NCAA champion Ed Ruth. On his way to the finals Dean defeated the country’s 10th and 15th ranked wrestlers.

197:

Junior Jace Bennett placed second.  Jace has made improvements every year and this year is no exception.  Jace has the physical and technical skills to be on the podium in March.  This will occur when he dedicates himself to dominating for seven complete minutes.  Jace still takes mental breaks but we will fix this weakness. Freshman Steve Congenie went 5-2, and placed 4th.

285: Stryker Lane went 4-2.

For complete results go to: http://www.bubearcats.com/sports/wrest/jkopen13.pdf

 

The Weekend Ahead

This weekend we have our Red/White wrestle-offs on Saturday at 3:00.  We originally set the time for 1:00 but moved it back to allow anyone who is at the football game to attend.  The matches are scheduled to be:

Red/White Wrestle Off

125- Nahshon Garrett vs Bricker Dixon

133- Mark Grey vs Logan David

141- Corey Dake vs. Josh Kennedy

149- Conner David vs Alex Cisneros

157- Brian Realbuto vs Taylor Simaz

165- Dylan Palacio vs Craig Eifert

174- Jake George vs Jesse Shanaman

184- Gabe Dean vs Michael Alexander/Billy George

197- Jace Bennett vs Steve Congenie

HWT- Jacob Aiken-Phillips vs Stryker Lane

 

USA vs. Russia Featuring Big Red Stars Dake, Simaz and Perrelli

Photo by BV

On Sunday, the Russians come to town to face the USA team featuring Kyle Dake, Cam Simaz and Frank Perrelli. The match starts at 1:00.  Admission is free for the Red/White and only $10 for the Russian dual.

Here is a great video promoting the Russian dual:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBKfI9dE8D

Hope to see you there!

All the best, Rob

From Russia to Ithaca: Dake, Simaz, Perrelli to Compete for Team USA in a World-Class Freestyle Dual vs. Russia at Cornell

You don’t have to go across the globe to see some of the top wrestlers in the world.  On November 17, some of the best will be making the trip to Ithaca, NY.

Some Cornell greats will be involved in the festivities as Kyle Dake, Cam Simaz and Frank Perrelli, who combined for five national championships and nine All-American showings, will get another chance to perform in front of the home crowd.

“They’re all excited,” said head coach Rob Koll.  “They thought their Cornell wrestling days were over, but we just keep bringing them back in.”

The former Big Red stars will take part in a world-class freestyle dual between Team USA and the Russian National Team at 1 p.m. in Bartels Hall on the Cornell campus.

The American squad features a number of standouts, including Perelli (55 kg), Jimmy Kennedy (60 kg), Kellen Russell (66 kg), Dake (74 kg), Clayton Foster (84 kg), Simaz (96 kg) and either Olympian Tervel Dlagnev or Zach Rey at heavyweight.

“For us, it’s a great way to highlight what we have going on in upstate New York,” Koll said. “When we started here at Cornell, to think we’d have three guys who could wrestle at that level would have been a big jump.  It just shows you that you can get an Ivy League education and be training for the highest levels of wrestling in the world.”

Tickets for the event are $10 for general admission and $15 for chair back seats. As part of that price, USA National team coach and Olympic medalist Zeke Jones will be hosting a freestyle clinic from 10-12.

“We would like to sell out Bartels Hall, which holds about 4,500,” Koll said.  “Tickets have only been available for a couple of days and there are already 900 seats accounted for.”

In addition to world-class freestyle wrestling, there will be some high quality folkstyle action one day earlier in Ithaca as well.  On November 16, the Red-White Eliminations (wrestleoffs) will take place, helping to determine the starting lineup for the Big Red in 2013-14.

To purchase tickets, see Cornell Big Red tickets or call (607) 254-2327.

 

 

Rob Koll Previews the 2013-14 Season for the Cornell Big Red

BY ROB KOLL

[For a PDF version of Rob Koll’s newsletter, see Cornell newsletter Fall].

We pride ourselves on consistency within the program.  If we recruit hard, and work harder, then there is no reason to ever suffer through a “rebuilding” year.  This year that philosophy will be put to the test.  It’s been seven years since we started a season without the services of one or more national champions.  In addition, in the last two years we have lost four national champions to graduation.  Despite these facts there is reason for optimism in the Cornell camp!

The 2013-2014 team ushers in a new era.  No more Dake, Bosak and Simaz to the rescue.  We need to find, and develop, the next Cornell wrestling legends.  The good news is that within our wrestling room nebula I am confident we have the material and conditions to incubate future wrestling stars!

Although I cry youth, the truth is we are in the enviable position of possessing two not-so-secret weapons in Nahshon Garrett (125 pounds, third at last year’s NCAAs) and Mike Nevinger (141 pounds, seventh and fifth at the last two NCAAs). In addition to these two we have past NCAA qualifiers in Chris Villalonga (149), Marshall Peppelman (165), Jace Bennett (197) and Stryker Lane (285).  These returning starters give us a good base, but we have a few openings that will need to be filled.

 

Garrett, Photo by BV

125: Nahshon Garrett returns for his sophomore year with the intent, and ability, to claim the first of multiple NCAA championship titles.  Nahshon is vastly improved, and he wasn’t too shabby last year!  Bricker Dixon will move down to challenge Nahshon.  These two provide us with amazing depth.  Ryan Radwanski, a freshman from Bridgewater, NJ will also challenge for a spot.

 

133: Freshman Mark Grey, the self-proclaimed better looking and more intelligent Grey brother, will make an immediate impact at this weight.  Sophomore Logan David and senior Josh Kennedy will also complete for the role.  Last year, David had six wins wrestling at 125 and 133, while Kennedy went 4-6. Former NCAA qualifier Nick Arujau will either compete at 133 or 141.

 

141: Mike Nevinger comes back for his senior year with the goal of making it to the top of the podium.  Mike always works hard, but this summer, he was particularly focused and intense. Mike has enjoyed a spectacular Cornell career, ranking 20th on the all-time wins list with 99 victories. Challenging Mike for the spot will be sophomore Joe Rendina (9-5 last year), Nik Peña,  (11-11 two years ago), as well as a host of outstanding freshmen including Corey Dake (Lansing, NY), Eli Bienstock, (Gaithersburg, MD) and three-time California state champion, Alex Cisneros.

 

149: Junior Chris Villalonga has amassed 58 victories and two trips to the NCAA tournament during his career. Despite this impressive resume, we expect significantly more out of him this year.  Chris has grown into a full sized 149-pound wrestler and will no longer be overpowered by anyone.  If Chris gets banged up, we can fall back on the services of seniors Ryan Dunphy and Conner David.

 

157: Two outstanding freshmen, Brian Realbuto and Taylor Simaz, will take over this weight class.  Realbuto is a three-time New York state champion and Fargo National Champion who placed third at the FILA Junior World Team Trials over the summer.  Simaz, whose brother Cam won a national title for the Big Red in 2012, was a two-time Michigan state champion.

 

165: Marshall Peppelman, Craig Eifert and Dylan Palacio make this our most hotly contested weight.  Any one of the three could make the team and I expect the person who ultimately prevails will compete for All-American honors in March.  Also battling for the spot is freshman Jake George.  Jake is Billy’s younger, and naturally better looking and smarter, brother.

 

174: This is another weight class with a great deal of talent.  Sophomores Duke Pickett and Owen Scott will battle it out with junior Jesse Shanaman.  Pickett started for half of last year and racked up an 18-15 record.  Jesse has bumped up two weight classes.  Last year he struggled with injuries but still managed to grind out 12 victories against 10 defeats.  Owen Scott missed all of last year due to injury.

 

184: Billy George wrestled 197 last year and 174 as a freshman, so it only seemed appropriate to move to 184 this year.  Last season, Billy finished with a 19-11 record.  Billy will be challenged by freshman Gabe Dean, who was first and second at the Michigan state championships and senior Mike Alexander.

 

197: A beefed up Jace Bennett returned to campus ready to improve on last year’s impressive 31 victories. Pushing Jace will be Steve Congenie, a two-time Illinois state champion, and 2013 New York state titlewinner, Daniel Choi.

 

285: Stryker Lane, who has a 68-38 career record, returns for his senior year hoping to finally get on the podium in Oklahoma City.  Pushing Stryker will be sophomore Jacob Aiken-Phillips (15-8 last year), George Famutimi and former 184 pounder (now 235 pounds and growing), Craig Scott.

Here are a few other notes about the upcoming season:

Nahshon Garrett at the All-Star Classic:

Before our season officially kicks off, you can see Nahshon Garrett in action at the All-Star Classic, where he will face All-American Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma at 125 pounds.   The event, which features a number of the nation’s top wrestlers, will take place on November 2 at 7:15 p.m. on the campus of George Mason University.

To purchase tickets, visit the Ticketmaster website.  For more information on the All-Star Classic, visit the NWCA website.

2013-2014 Schedule:

We have put together another challenging schedule this year.  You can take a look at the following link: http://cornellbigred.com/schedule.aspx?path=wrest& or here.

 

Team USA vs. Team Russia in Ithaca!

On November 17, join us in Bartels Hall for a 1 p.m. dual between the Russian national team and a USA squad featuring former Big Red stars Kyle Dake, Cam Simaz and Frank Perrelli as well as Kellen Russell, Clayton Foster, Jimmy Kennedy and Tervel Dlagnev /Zach Rey.   As part of the ticket price, national team coach Zeke Jones will host a freestyle clinic from 10-12.  I hope you will be able to support our team!

 

New Book!

Former Cornell wrestler Jamie Moffatt recently released his latest work on the fight to save Olympic wrestling.  Please check it out at: https://www.facebook.com/SavingWrestlingBook

 

By Lindsey Mechalik

 

 

Four-Time NCAA Champion Kyle Dake Joins Cornell Coaching Staff

Kyle Dake compiled an incredible list of achievements while competing for Cornell, including an unprecedented four NCAA championships at four different weights.  His contributions to the Big Red will continue this fall, as the Lansing native has joined the coaching staff as the volunteer assistant, according to head coach Rob Koll.

Dake said that he looks forward to spending time in the Cornell wrestling room again this year.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for me interact with the guys, help the team and also focus on my training,” Dake said. “The wrestlers and coaches at Cornell have been a part of my family for as long as I can remember.  This is a small way for me to give back.  Even if I wasn’t a coach, I was planning on being in Ithaca.  It will be really cool.  My brother [Corey] will be there wrestling and there are some young studs who will make big splashes this year. I’m excited to coach and also have some great workout partners.”

Dake compiled a 137-4 record for the Big Red with 83 bonus points wins, including 44 pins. In addition to his four NCAA championships, he was also a three-time EIWA titlewinner.

Upon finishing his career, Dake made a smooth transition to freestyle, getting his hand raised in his international debut at the Rumble on the Rails event in New York City when he defeated Iran’s Hassan Tahmasebi. He followed up that performance by taking second at the World Team Trials in a loaded 74 kg class.

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About a month ago, New York Wrestling News spoke to Dake about the World Team Trials and a few other things.  To see what Dake had to say, read on.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN):  At the World Team Trials, you had to beat Trent Paulson, David Taylor and Andrew Howe just to get to the finals series later that day with Jordan Burroughs. What was that day like for you?

Kyle Dake (KD): It was definitely a good experience for me because if you go to World Championships or the Olympics, you might have draw like that where you’ll have to beat some of the toughest guys and then later that day, compete in the finals.  It was a test for me to see what it’s like and what to expect in a one-day tournament.  My body and mind are used to having five matches over three days at NCAAs. Making that adjustment to one-day tournaments is important for me to get used to the freestyle mode. I think that’s overlooked sometimes – once you come into the freestyle scene, everything’s a little different.  You need to prepare yourself a little different. I was used to going slow and having time to recover and be at my best for every single match.  This is different – you have to be ready to wrestle the best in the world over a few hours.

NYWN: After those three matches, you faced Jordan Burroughs in the finals that night. You lost the first bout 7-0 but the second went to overtime.  What was the difference between those two matches?

KD: After the first one, I had to make the adjustments for my own sanity. I knew I should never be tech falled. That bothered me a lot. I was thinking, ‘what am I doing?’ I went out with the wrong tactics and game plan. I had a very square stance and that didn’t work, so there had to be a new plan.  I was able to make some quick adjustments to close the gap and challenge him a lot more.  I still didn’t get the result I wanted, but it was better.

NYWN: Switching gears, you have your own line of shoes coming out and a number of other things going on outside of wrestling.  Can you tell a little bit more about those things?

KD: I’ve had some unique opportunities. My agent, Nick Garone, has been the guy to take care of my deals and negotiations. I’m working with X-Cel, Cage Fighter, Championship Productions, Achieve Insights, Fox [CSI] Sports and Milwaukee Tools.  It’s good to have all those guys on my side and to have corporate sponsorships.  It allows me to spend my time training and coaching.

NYWN: In addition, since winning your fourth NCAA championship, you’ve had a lot of interesting experiences and honors come your way. Did any one of those stand out most to you?

KD: There were a lot of pretty unique experiences. Getting the Sports Illustrated award [SI’s Male College Athlete of the Year] was a big honor. They sent lots of people up to Ithaca for a big photo shoot and an article in the magazine.  The Dan Patrick Show was awesome too. I got to be on TV with a sports talk legend.  The ESPYs were amazing. I had the chance meet so many amazing people. It’s really cool to be around people who strive for excellence.  I had a chance to meet people like Adrian Peterson and talking to him and other great athletes, seeing that they weren’t superhuman like people think – that was awesome.  I can’t really pick which one of those things stood out the most – I’m thankful that I’ve had so many great experiences over the past few months.

 

Cornell Releases 2013-14 Schedule, Including the Las Vegas Invitational, Southern Scuffle and Grapple at the Garden

The Cornell wrestling team has finished in the top five at the NCAA tournament each of the past five years, while also winning seven consecutive EIWA championships.  The Big Red will try to keep those streaks alive in 2013-14 while facing a tough schedule that features a mix of strong tournaments and dual meets.

The Ivy League squad will begin for the second straight time with the Red vs. White Eliminations, which will take place at the Friedman Center on November 16.  That will be followed by a pair of home events later in the month – a dual versus Binghamton and the New York State Intercollegiates on November 23 and 24, respectively.

Afterwards, on December 1, the Big Red will participate in the Grapple at the Garden in New York City, squaring off with Illinois and Maryland before entering two of the nation’s toughest tournaments – the Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle.

In mid January, Cornell will face Lehigh, starting a string of seven duals in a row against conference foes.  The team will take part in the National Duals in February and finish regular season action against Hofstra before going for a record eighth consecutive EIWA crown in Philadelphia on March 8-9.  The NCAAs will be held in Oklahoma City, beginning March 20.

To see the entire schedule on the Cornell Athletics website, click this link.

Catching Up on Cornell: Damion Hahn Talks About the Incoming Freshmen, Returning All-Americans and More

New York Wrestling News caught up with Cornell assistant coach Damion Hahn for a few minutes to chat about the Big Red.  Read on to see what he had to say about the team’s returning All-Americans, the incoming freshmen, Kyle Dake and more.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN): How has the summer been?

Photo by BV

Damion Hahn (DH): There’s been a lot going on at Cornell. We have some change going on, which is a little sad when you’re talking about someone like Jeremy [Spates] leaving, but also really exciting.  We’re really happy about the guys we had training this summer with our Regional Training Center program.  Having one of them – Mark Grey – make the FILA Junior World Team – that was great news to have him representing our country.  [Grey took fifth place for the second time at the World Championships]. Mark’s been working really hard and we’re looking forward to having him on the mat for the Big Red.

NYWN: Speaking of the Grey family, tell us about the coaching changes at Cornell with Jeremy Spates leaving to become the head coach at Southern Illinois Edwardsville and Mike Grey being promoted to full-time assistant?

DH: We’re excited to have Mike moving up.  He’s done a great job for the past few years as the volunteer assistant and we’re happy to have him on the staff.

As far as Jeremy goes, it was tough to see him leave because he was a friend and also a roommate for a year – he lived with me and my wife for a while. It will be hard to replace the wealth of knowledge and experience he brought to the table, and some of the technique he brought, especially the top work, which was phenomenal. But I’m super excited for him to get this opportunity as the head coach at SIUE.

NYWN: You talked briefly about Mark Grey.  He won the Edinboro Open, National Collegiate Open and Mat Town Open last year, while Brian Realbuto, Alex Cisneros, Gabe Dean and Dylan Palacio also had success at various tournaments. Which of the freshmen do you expect to have a big impact this year?

DH: It’s hard right now for me to pinpoint who will have a breakout or standout year because I think we have a lot of guys that could do very well.  First of all, they’re great kids who have their priorities in order.  They came to Cornell not only to get a phenomenal education but also to win a national title – individually and also as a team.  When you have great guys working hard together for a common goal, great things happen. It will be interesting to see who will break into the lineup.

I’ll try to address the guys you mentioned – Alex Cisneros is probably ideally a 141 pounder right now but could go 149. Brian Realbuto looks great at 157.  Dylan Palacio is very tough and is part of a four-man race for 165 with Marshall Peppelman, Craig Eifert and Jesse Shanaman. I’m sure we could see one or more of those guys move up when things start shaking out.  Gabe Dean did well last year and keeps improving.  He just goes and goes and goes.  He’ll be a lot of fun to watch.

NYWN: You mentioned some 165 competitors possibly moving up to challenge at 174.  Who would they be competing with there?

DH: Duke Pickett is back and looking tough. He’s battling with Owen Scott. Owen missed last year after surgery but is very strong technically and has looked good.

NYWN: Like Owen Scott, another freshman we haven’t talked about yet, Steve Congenie, missed last year with injuries.  What weight will he look to wrestle this year?

DH: Congenie is a 197 pounder. He was a little bit of an under-the-radar recruit because he was hurt his senior year of high school.  People might have forgotten about him, but he’s impressive.

NYWN: You talked about Owen Scott. At what weight do you expect his twin brother Craig?

DH: Craig’s probably a little over 225 pounds right now and will be a heavyweight.  He’s been making some big gains.

NYWN: With a lot of younger guys potentially in the mix, what are your expectations for the team?

DH: I think when you lose five national championships like we did with Kyle [Dake] and Steve [Bosak], you can’t just replace that.  But I think with the guys we have returning and the guys we’re bringing in, we’ll have an exciting team.  Last year we had a bunch of studs and this year, I think we’ll maybe have a more of a balanced team.  We’ll have some fresh faces in the lineup, mixed with some familiar ones.  There will be some battles and I feel that the guy who winds up representing every weight will be tough.

NYWN: Last year at this time you were excited about the freshman season of Nahshon Garrett.  That obviously went well with an EIWA title and a third place finish at NCAAs.  What are you looking for from his sophomore year?

DH: A national title is first and foremost for him. Last year, he had a great season.  A lot of people said he had a great national tournament and didn’t realize that he was good for the entire season – he beat a bunch of top guys. Some people saw him as a dark horse in some sense. We knew he was special as soon as he came in. I told him last year, ‘We have Kyle Dake right now and he kind of overshadows a lot of other things, but you will be the face of Cornell wrestling later. You’re the sparkplug. You’re the first person people see step on the mat representing Cornell and you have to get this team going.’  He did a phenomenal job last year and I think he can win a national title this year. He’s that talented and he works incredibly hard.

NYWN: Your other returning All-American, Mike Nevinger, is a senior who has made the podium twice at 141.  What do you expect from his senior year?

DH: Mike’s our workhorse. We have him projected at 141 again. You can never count him out. He loves the tough road – look at what he’s done at nationals.  He’s a leader and he leads by example – people look to him for direction. The great thing about him is that it doesn’t matter what tournament, what match, what period it is. He’ll fight 100% and you know you’ll get everything he has every time he’s on the mat.

NYWN: A lot of the focus last year was on Kyle Dake.  Will he be in Ithaca next year?

DH: Yes. He’ll be living in Ithaca and it will be great to have him here. He’s been amazing since day 1.  I’ve told people all along, don’t ever count the kid out. He’s a fighter and he’s an athlete. Some of the things he does – people sit back and say how did he do that?  He’s impressive in so many ways. I’ve never met anyone with the same mental toughness. It’s insane. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing; he feels he should and will win. Just having that mental edge is phenomenal. Everything he has done in his career so far is nothing short of amazing.

NYWN: What was his reaction to the World Team Trials finals against Jordan Burroughs? [Burroughs won in two matches].

In the first match he didn’t fare so well, obviously. He was beaten up pretty good.  But that’s the great thing about Kyle. He can make an adjustment, just like that. He went out in the next match and took him to overtime. It was a totally different match. He has mat awareness, body control – you name it. He’s the complete package. He knows that he has a World and Olympic champion in his weight class that he has to beat to reach his goals. He expects to be able to do it.  It will be fun to see how it’ll play out. I don’t ever count Kyle out.

NYWN: Anything else?

DH: We’re looking forward to all the young talent we have coming in from last year’s class and seeing how all the other guys progress.  We may be a little more under the radar going into the season, but I think it’s going to be an exciting year for the Big Red.

Former Cornell Assistant Jeremy Spates Ready for the Next Chapter as SIUE Head Coach

After four years as an assistant at Cornell, Jeremy Spates took over the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) head coaching job earlier this summer.  After earning All-America honors during his career at Missouri, Spates coached for five seasons at Oklahoma before joining the Big Red staff. SIUE will be entering its second year as a Division I program.

New York Wrestling News recently caught up with Spates as he acclimated to his new position.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN): What have your first few weeks on the job been like?

Jeremy Spates (JS): It’s been a little crazy, but really good. I’ve been trying to get everything ready. I’ve been familarizing myself with the team and the university and working on recruiting.

NYWN: Earlier in the summer, the rumor was that you decided to stay in Ithaca for a few more years.  Was that the case?

JS: It was. I talked with [wife] Laura about the Brown and Buffalo openings and we decided we wanted to stay a few more years at Cornell.  We were happy – it’s such a great place, we could have stayed forever.  But then SIUE called me and asked me to apply and I decided to apply. Then I did a Skype interview.  I think once it came to my on campus interview, I realized it was the place I needed to be. It was a change of heart from what we had decided because it just seemed like the right situation. There were a lot of positives and I felt like it was something I couldn’t turn down.

NYWN: What made it the right situation for you?

JS: It was a number of things. The location is great.  A lot of people don’t know where we are – we’re only 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis. Laura’s from Oklahoma. The campus is beautiful and there are really good facilities. There are new offices; a new weight room and a chance to expand the wrestling room, which is already really nice.  The wrestling is really good in this area with Illinois doing extremely well as a state and Missouri also with really good wrestling.  I also really liked the people in the Athletic Department – very friendly with a family environment.

There’s also another big thing that excited me – something that’s always been in me.   That’s being part of a building process. When I was wrestling at Missouri, we started as the low man on the totem pole in the Big 12 but by the time I left, we had beaten every Big 12 team.  Being part of that was something special.  Cornell was a mid-level Ivy team in the 80s and now the team is competing for national titles. That’s what we want to do here with a second year Division I program – build.  SIUE has a good wrestling history.  In the 80s they won Division II national titles and had a number of All-Americans and national champions at the Division II level.  At that time, a Division II champion could compete at the Division I tournament, so SIUE also has 13 Division I All-Americans as well. So there’s been some great wrestling here and we’re looking to forward to building toward that again.

Despite all the positives associated with SIUE, was it a tough decision to leave Cornell?

It was a very difficult decision. I loved my time at Cornell – the coaches, the wrestlers, the alumni, everything.  It was really, really tough.  What it came down to – there are only so many opportunities to be a Division I head coach and this was a great fit for me. If I passed this by, when would there be another job that’s such a great fit?  Laura was a big part of the decision as well. She’s a lot closer to her family and we both love the Midwest, so it all came together.

Looking back at your four years as an assistant for the Big Red, what stands out?

One of the biggest things is bringing home team trophies three of the four years. [The top four teams at NCAAs receive a team trophy]. That’s a big accomplishment.  Another huge thing is the relationships I built, especially with the wrestlers.  There are a lot of guys I became really close with and leaving them was hard.  Cornell wrestling really is a family.  Being part of Kyle [Dake]’s ride was also very, very special.  We worked together for all of my years there and we’re pretty close.

What does your staff look like? Is anyone from Cornell coming with you?

We have one assistant, Donovan McMahill.  This is his third season. He’s been great during the transition.  He’s helped me a ton; I’m not sure what I’d do without him. The goal is to have a full coaching staff in the future, but for now it’s the two of us.

I know there was a rumor that Kyle [Dake] was coming with me, but there’s no truth to that.  He’s staying in Ithaca.  I’d like to bring some guys in the future. When that time comes, I might try to steal some guys from Cornell.

You’ve been around high level wrestling for a long time. With your father being a head coach, was leading your own program something you always wanted to do?

No, not always.  I was a business major in college and to be honest, I thought I would go into the business world when I graduated.  But when I finished school, I hadn’t quite fulfilled my goals and I had a little bit of a yearning to keep going.  I love the sport so much and have been around it my whole life and I just couldn’t picture being without it at the time.  I started to get some coaching offers and I went that way.  When I made the move to Cornell, I decided that this was probably going to be the avenue I go into for the long term.  I always loved coaching.  Making the move to Cornell was a big jump for me and I knew it was a good situation for the future.  I would say, though, that I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted to be a head coach until I got the job.

You have worked under a lot of accomplished head coaches – such as your father Jack Spates, Brian Smith and Rob Koll. What are the biggest things you’ve taken away from them?

I’ve taken so much from all of them.  If I had to pick one thing from each, I would say for Coach Smith, it’s the way he runs his program, in terms of day-to-day practices, scheduling and things like that.

From my dad, I learned a lot on the the recruiting side of things.  And from [Rob Koll], I learned so much about the fundraising and relationship building that he does so well.

You mentioned your father’s influence in recruiting. How has recruiting been going?

It’s been interesting – a lot of different experiences. I’ve had to explain where SIUE is and that we’re a Division I school to some.  But, I’ve also had a lot of people from the area or people who had a coach or a sibling from here, who know a little bit about SIUE.  But even a lot of the people who are familiar aren’t sure where we’re coming from, being a new Division I program.  The experiences are all over the place.

I think SIUE has a lot to offer.  I’m selling recruits on what sold me.   We’ll have our first Division I All-American in the new era and our first Division I national champion, something we’ve never had.  My first recruiting class as a head coach will be special – I’ll remember those guys for the rest of my life.  I think the university sells itself.  Edwardsville is a beautiful city and there’s a lot of growth going on at the university, some really neat things. There have been additions to the engineering and science buildings and corporate partnerships and research grant money is coming in.

Another big thing is that it’s a very affordable school, especially considering how good the academics are. It’s the cheapest state school in Illinois. With a lot of people with financial difficulties, we’ll be a very affordable school for a great education.

What do you hope to accomplish in year one?

We have 26 wrestlers on our starting roster. One thing we’d like to do is bring in a big time recruiting class. On the mat, we haven’t had any national qualifiers, although last year was the first year we were eligible.  So the first thing we need to do is have a few conference champions in the SoCon and have a few NCAA qualifiers, and then from there, continue to move up where it’s an expectation to be an NCAA qualifier.  Our goals are a conference championship and our first All-American and national champion. We’ll keep reassessing and setting new goals.

What about longer term?

The Athletic Department wants a winning program.  There are expectations that the kids who come here will graduate and have good careers after graduation.  There also is an emphasis on a good student-athletic experience.  That’s very important to the university and to me as well.  On the mat, my goals are higher than the university’s at this point, I think, but they are behind whatever we’re doing.

Anything else?

I was sad to leave Cornell, but I’m super excited to be here at SIUE.  I’m ready for the next chapter.