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.




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.


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).


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.


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:


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:

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


[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: 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:


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.


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.