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.

Binghamton 2013-14 Season Preview: Bearcats Ready for New Conference, New Opportunities

The Binghamton Bearcats enter their second season under head coach Matt Dernlan with some exciting changes.  There is a new conference, an expanded home schedule and the arrival of a top 25 recruiting class.  Assistant Jasen Borshoff spoke to New York Wrestling News about the upcoming campaign, including the projected lineup and expectations for 2013-14.

New York Wrestling News (NYWN): It will be your first year in the EIWA conference. What does that move mean for the program?

Jasen Borshoff (JB): We couldn’t be happier. The EIWA is a better place to be for us.  There are great teams and we’re more aligned from an academic profile standpoint.  It also helps our travel budget – we can get to so many of the schools within three hours.  There are also more qualifying spots for nationals, which will give our guys a lot of opportunities. We’re really excited to be part of the EIWA.

NYWN: What are some of the highlights of your schedule this year?

JB:  We have seven home matches this year instead of one.  That’s exciting.  For the most part, we’ll be wrestling most of the EIWA teams in duals and we’re excited about the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals in Albany.  Going to Midlands is always a good test for the guys.  Right off the bat, we’ll get good gauge of where we are with the Bearcat Open at home.  We typically cut off the field at 300 wrestlers, but this year, we have a goal of 500 kids.  We’ll do 12 mats at the Events Center and there will be a lot of really good wrestlers there.  Cornell usually sends most of the team.  This year, Penn State will be sending guys and so will Ohio State, Lehigh and other really good teams.  It will be big for our team, especially because it will decide a few of our weights for the early season.

NYWN: What are the expectations for the team this year?

JB: We’d like to have half our team qualify for nationals and have some All-Americans.  The way I see it, we can’t do any worse than last year because we didn’t have any All-Americans.  We’re looking to change that this year.

Let’s take a look at the weight-by-weight to see who will try to break through to the podium for the Bearcats in 2013-14:

125 Pounds:

A number of the spots in the lineup have a strong favorite.  This isn’t necessarily one of them.  A pair of wrestlers who racked up large win totals last year – David White and Mike Sardo – continue to battle it out at the lightest weight.  (White redshirted while Sardo took over at 125 when starter Patrick Hunter was injured). White has some experience in the EIWA, having placed sixth at 125 for Army at the conference tournament in his freshman season before transferring.

“This weight is up in the air,” Borshoff said. “Both guys have gotten a lot better over the past year.  Mike had the fourth most wins on the team last year and David also won at least 25 matches.  That will be a weight to watch at the [Bearcat] Open.”

133:

Nick Tighe, Photo by BV

A familiar face to Empire State wrestling fans is likely to man 133 pounds as a true freshman.  New York’s 2013 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner, Nick Tighe of Phoenix, looks to carry over his high school success to the college level after finishing his career with his third straight state title in 2013 (at 138 pounds).

“Nick has gotten his weight down and is a wrecking ball,” Borshoff said. “He’s really tough and hard to wrestle. We’re excited to see how he’ll look at the Open in his first competition.”

141:

While Tighe won the state championship at 138 pounds in Division II a year ago, Nick Kelley accomplished that feat at the same weight in Division I.  Kelley has impressed so far, but will most likely redshirt.  Looking to start at 141 are a trio of grapplers – Dylan Cohen, Dylan Caruana and David Almaviva.

“This will be a very young weight for us,” Borshoff said. “[Caruana] redshirted last year and has put on a lot of size this summer. [Cohen] was pulled out of redshirt during the season last year and is now at a better weight – he struggled to make 133 last year.  [Almaviva] is a true freshman. He may only have one year in him at 141 before moving up, so we’ll see how he does. The question is who will show up most at the Open?  We’re not sure what will happen here yet.”

149:

Joe Bonaldi started last season with a bang.  At the Binghamton Open, he defeated returning All-American Mike Nevinger in his opening bout and won the title, also topping NCAA qualifier Dan Neff.  In the process, he entered the national rankings and looked primed for a breakout campaign.  Unfortunately, an injury prevented that from taking place.  He made a return to the lineup very late in the season, competing just once before the CAA tournament. The Bearcats are excited to have the Rochester native back.

“Joe’s doing really well,” Borshoff said. “He was doing really well last year early on too.  He came back for the CAAs last year, but it was too long of a layoff before that. It will be interesting to see how the move to 149 works – he’ll be tested right away at the Open. He’s a guy to keep an eye on this year. He’s definitely very talented and he gives [assistant coach] Teyon [Ware] trouble in the room and we know how good Teyon is.”

157:

Last year’s starter Jack McKeever will redshirt, and three wrestlers will look to get the nod in this class – Nick Mauriello, Ben Price and Brian Conrad.  Conrad was a spot starter last season, while Mauriello redshirted.  In high school, Mauriello earned fourth in New York as a senior for Hauppauge while Price was a two-time Vermont state champion and Conrad won the Section 8 title, according to the Binghamton athletics website.

165:

Vincent Grella returns after handling the starting duties in 2012-13.  He topped Drexel’s Connor Moran at the CAA championships.

“He got a lot better at the end of last year,” Borshoff said. “He wrestles hard and got some good experience.  We think he’ll have a good year for us.”

174:

In 2011, John Paris was the CAA Rookie of the Year.  But injuries have interrupted him since then. However, he’s expected to be the starter once again after winning the job for the postseason a year ago.

“John’s a talented wrestler but he’s always been plagued by injuries,” Borshoff said. “Last year, John and Caleb Wallace kept flip flopping back and forth as our starter, but John won the final wrestleoff to take the spot.  Bringing in [two-time New York state champion] Zack Zupan, who is doing very well but probably redshirting, has made John a lot better.  He’s been fighting hard – he sees the competition and wants the spot.”

184:

After battling both Paris and injuries last season, Caleb Wallace is ready to take hold of the 184-pound role.  Wallace began the 2012-13 campaign well, defeating eventual EIWA champion Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh in an early dual by fall.

“Caleb is another good wrestler for us who has had trouble staying healthy,” Borshoff said. “We’re excited to see how he does moving up a weight after having a decent cut to make 174 last year.”

197:

Cody Reed is the only projected starter who wrestled at the NCAAs last year.  In fact, he has been to Nationals twice. In 2012, he registered one of the big upsets of the first round in St. Louis when he topped fourth-seeded Christian Boley of Maryland at 197 pounds, before finishing 2-2.  Last season, Reed dropped down to 184 and once again qualified for the “Big Show”, going 0-2 following an 18-win campaign.  Now, he’ll be back at 197 again, looking to win a few more matches on the national stage.

“Cody went down to 184 last year when Nate Schiedel moved up, but Cody’s much better off at 197,” Borshoff said. “He’s very capable – I wouldn’t count him out at Nationals.  He was up and down last year, but got the job done in the qualifier.  He wanted to do better at Nationals, but he has his senior year to look forward to.”

285:

Tyler Deuel moved from 197 to heavyweight before last season and wound up with the third most wins on the team, according to Borshoff.  Now, with a year of experience at the heaviest weight class, the coach thinks he’s ready to show even more.

“Tyler’s a great kid, always working out extra and trying to learn,” Borshoff said. “He had a good year last year and he’ll do even better this year because he’s acclimated to the weight.  This year he’s a very solid 245 pounds – he’s ripped for a heavyweight.”

Borshoff had very positive things to say about the standout rookie class. Some were mentioned above.  Others, such as multiple-time New York State champion Kyle Kelly, NYS placer Robert Person and two-time silver medalist Bryce Mazurowski, will likely redshirt.

—————————-

How will the first year in the EIWA go? How many wrestlers will Binghamton qualify for the NCAAs this year?  We’ll find out more as Binghamton opens the season on November 10 at home with the Bearcat Open.

Note: the Bearcat Open has been renamed the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open to honor the memory of Navy Seal (and former Binghamton wrestler) Jonathan Kaloust, who died during a training accident this spring.

 

Binghamton, Hofstra Among the Four Teams Joining the EIWA Conference

 
 
On Thursday, the EIWA officially announced the addition of four new members, bringing the conference total to 18 schools.  Among those joining for the 2013-14 campaign are a pair of New York institutions – Binghamton and Hofstra – as well as Drexel and Boston.

The four new additions will compete with seven-time defending tournament champion Cornell as well as other EIWA member schools American, Army, Brown, Bucknell, Columbia, Franklin & Marshall, Harvard, Lehigh, Navy, Penn, Princeton, Rutgers and Sacred Heart.

The EIWA championships will be hosted by Penn in Philadelphia in March of 2014.

For the official press release from Binghamton, see here.

For the official press release from Hofstra, see here.

 

EIWA Final Results: Cornell Wins for the Seventh Straight Time; Columbia and Army Secure Four NCAA Qualifiers Each

 
 

Note: We will post a more detailed recap later in the weekend.

Cornell won its unprecedented seventh EIWA championship in a row on Saturday at the Rutgers Athletic Center, as all 10 wrestlers placed in the top seven of their weight classes.

A trio of champions led the way for the Big Red – Nahshon Garrett (125), Kyle Dake (165) and Steve Bosak (184).  For Dake, it was the third conference crown of his career.  He also earned Most Outstanding Wrestler honors, as well as the Fletcher and Sheridan Awards (most points scored at the EIWAs during a career and most falls in the least time).

Besides those three titlewinners, Cornell will send Mike Nevinger (third at 141), Chris Villalonga (fourth at 149), Jace Bennett (third at 197) and Stryker Lane (fourth at heavyweight) to NCAAs.

Army took sixth in the standings with 81 points.  The Black Knights picked up four NCAA qualifiers, led by 149-pound runner up Daniel Young.  Also making the trip to Des Moines will be Connor Hanafee (seventh at 141), Paul Hancock (third at 165), and Bryce Barnes (fourth at 197).

Columbia had three finalists, including champion Steve Santos at 149.  Matt Bystol and Josh Houldsworth earned silver at 133 and 165, respectively, after wrestling above their seeds.  (Bystol came in as the eighth seed, Houldsworth as the seventh).  Those wrestlers punched their tickets to NCAAs, as did 157-pounder Jake O’Hara.

For full brackets and results, see here.

Cornell and Columbia Each With Three EIWA Finalists; Hofstra and Binghamton Well Represented in the CAA Semis

Going into the final session (first, third and fifth place matches), Cornell leads at the EIWA tournament with 126.5 points. Navy is second with 109.5 and Penn third with 101.5.

Cornell has qualified seven wrestlers for the NCAA tournament already – Nahshon Garrett (125), Mike Nevinger (141), Chris Villalonga (149), Kyle Dake (165), Steve Bosak (184), Jace Bennett (197) and Stryker Lane (285). Jesse Shanaman will wrestle for fifth this afternoon against Scott Winston of Rutgers. The winner of that bout will get a bid to Nationals.

The Big Red has three wrestlers competing for an EIWA championship – Garrett, Dake and Bosak. Nevinger, Villalonga, Bennett and Lane will all be battling for third.

Columbia also has three grapplers in the finals – Steve Santos (149), Matt Bystol (133) and Josh Houldsworth (165). That trio has already qualified for the NCAAs and will joined there by 157-pounder Jake O’Hara, who is in the third place bout at 157.

Facing Columbia’s Santos in the title bout is Army’s Daniel Young. He is one of the four Black Knights who have punched tickets to the NCAAs. Two of the others will be fighting for third (Paul Hancock at 165 and Bryce Barnes at 197). The other, Connor Hanafee, took seventh at 141.

For full results, see here.

CAA Update – Hofstra and Binghamton

After the morning session in Boston, Hofstra and Binghamton have strong representation in the semifinals. The Pride will send seven wrestlers to the mat in the semis, while the Bearcats have six in that round.

For Hofstra, top seeds Steve Bonanno (125) and Jermaine John (174) registered victories, as did defending champion Luke Vaith (141) and returning NCAA qualifier Jamie Franco (133). Cody Ruggirello (149) and Nick Terdick (165) both upset top three seeds to stay in the championship hunt. Tyler Banks also advanced.

The Bearcats saw Donnie Vinson (149), Mike Sardo (125) and Tyler Deuel (285) move forward with byes, while Derek Steeley (133) and Nate Schiedel (197) both won by fall. Second seed Cody Reed won by decision at 184.

The next round will resume at 3 p.m.

For full results, see here.

EIWA Preview: Can Cornell Make It Seven In a Row? Who Will Star For Columbia and Army?

 
 
Wrestlers and coaches always emphasize that what counts the most is performing in March.  Well, March is upon us.  This weekend, wrestlers from all six Division I schools in New York will try to earn their spots at the 2013 NCAAs in Iowa with strong showings at the EIWA, CAA and MAC Championships.  The following is a look at the EIWA event, which will be held at Rutgers University. (We will discuss the other tournaments separately).

Note: We may provide a live blog of all mats at the EIWAs, as we did last year. Please check back at LIVE BLOG link.

Returning EIWA National Champions:

Kyle Dake, Cornell (2012 Champion at 157, now at 165)

Steve Bosak, Cornell (184)

Returning EIWA All-Americans:

Mike Nevinger, Cornell (141)

Steven Keith, Harvard (All-American at 133, now at 141)

Walter Peppelman, Harvard (157)

Robert Hamlin, Lehigh (184)

Micah Burak, Penn (197)

 

Cornell has won six EIWA crowns in a row.  Will the Big Red make it seven?  The squad certainly has the firepower to do it, but has a few more question marks than in recent years. There are a number of teams who have the balance to make legitimate runs at the big trophy. Cornell, Rutgers and Navy all have seven wrestlers pre-seeded in the top 4 of their weights, while Lehigh has five such grapplers, all pre-seeded in the top 2.

Let’s take a quick weight-by-weight look at what we’ll see in New Jersey on Friday and Saturday:

125: (Four automatic bids to NCAAs)

Photo by BV

Nahshon Garrett, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, has had a stellar freshman campaign.  Currently ranked sixth nationally, he will be the top seed.  One of his few close victories this year was an overtime battle with former EIWA runner up Mark Rappo of Penn.  The two are favored to meet again in the finals on Saturday although some other wrestlers, such as Joey Langel of Rutgers, could throw a wrench in the works.

NY Storyline(s):  Garrett has beaten everyone he’s faced all year – except the #1, 2 and 3 grapplers nationally (Alan Waters, Matt McDonough and Nico Megaludis).  The first time Garrett and Rappo met this season, the Penn grappler wrestled much of the bout on one knee to counter Garrett’s quickness.  However, the Cornell rookie’s mat wrestling led him to victory.   We think it will again.

133: (Two automatic bids)

This weight has only two automatic qualifying spots, the fewest of any class in the conference.  The race for those slots seems wide open.  Perhaps the favorites are Vinny Dellafave of Rutgers and Randy Cruz of Lehigh, the top two pre-seeds.

NY Storyline(s): Jordan Thome wasn’t pleased with his seventh place finish at the 2012 EIWAs but wrestled well at the NCAAs, picking up a pair of victories. He is a multi-time national qualifier and will no doubt push to finish his career at the season’s biggest event.  Cornell’s Bricker Dixon had an effective weekend at the National Duals Regional in Ithaca, topping a pair of solid wrestlers in Jamie Franco of Hofstra and Shawn Nagel of Nebraska.  He also has a quality win over Lehigh’s Cruz. The pair could meet in the semifinals. 

Matt Bystol of Columbia dropped to 133 in early February and won four of five contests, according to the NWCA Scorebook, including a decision over Dixon.  The way this weight class is, any of those Empire State grapplers could make the finals and get tickets to Iowa.

141:  (Seven automatic bids)

While 133 offers just two guaranteed berths to Des Moines, 141 has seven.  And that’s an accurate reflection of the quality of this class. Leading the way are a pair of returning All-Americans, Mike Nevinger and Steven Keith.  Nevinger, the runner up at the EIWAs last year at this weight, registered two wins over Keith earlier this season.  The Harvard wrestler and Long Island native has been very impressive lately, however, including victories over a pair of contenders, CJ Cobb of Penn and Anthony Salupo of Lehigh in February.  (Cobb topped Nevinger in dual meet action).  Not to be forgotten are Trevor Melde of Rutgers, Richard Durso of Franklin and Marshall and another New Yorker – Connor Hanafee of Army.  The former CHSAA star can battle with anyone, as he did while making the medal stand at the Southern Scuffle.

NY Storyline(s):  New York should be well represented here.  We see a trio of Empire State high school stars – Nevinger (Letchworth), Keith (Shoreham Wading River) and Hanafee (Monsignor Farrell) all heading to Nationals after high podium finishes.

149: (Four automatic bids)

Last year’s EIWA finalists, Shane Welsh of Lehigh and Kevin Tao of American, are back, as are the third and fourth place finishers – Chris Villalonga of Cornell and Steve Santos of Columbia.   The return of those medalists should make for an exciting class.

NY Storyline(s): Santos and Villalonga split a pair of bouts a year ago, but didn’t meet in the dual between their teams in 2013.   If pre-seeds hold, they could square off in the semifinals.

However, another Empire State resident has the potential to take the title as well – Daniel Young of Army.  The Black Knight didn’t qualify a spot for the conference, but he has some significant victories, including over All-Americans Cam Tessari of Ohio State and Derek Valenti of Virginia. (He’s also topped Tao and Villalonga this season and earned the third pre-seed as a result).  We expect to see all three make the trip to Des Moines.

157: (Five automatic bids)

Photo by BV

Scott Winston of Rutgers has been an EIWA finalist each of the past two years.  He isn’t the top seed, however. In fact, he’s pre-seeded at number four.  That’s largely because of accomplished grapplers in this class ranked high nationally – Walter Peppelman of Harvard and Joey Napoli of Lehigh. Meanwhile, Columbia’s Jake O’Hara and Navy’s Bobby Barnhisel have also appeared in the polls during 2012-13.

NY Storyline(s): O’Hara won a pair of matches at Nationals last year and is looking to improve upon his 2012 fifth place showing at EIWAs. Cornell’s Jesse Shanaman has had an up and down season but had Peppelman on the ropes as time expired in Cambridge.  His defense and toughness on the mat give him the ability to pull some upsets and grab a qualifying spot.

165:  (Five automatic bids)

Kyle Dake is a two-time EIWA champion and a three-time NCAA champion.  This bracket is reasonably filled with solid wrestlers, but none on Dake’s level.

NY Storyline(s): Dake is, of course, the big one.  But Army’s Paul Hancock has been solid as a rock all year long for the Black Knights.  He has compiled a 28-9 record and placed at the challenging Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. We expect to see both make the trip to the Midwest in a couple of weeks. The question is whether Josh Houldsworth of Columbia (pre-seeded at #7) can join them as a possible sleeper.  The Lion wrestler has won nine of 11 bouts in 2013, with his only setbacks coming to Penn’s Casey Kent, the #3 preseed, by a 1-0 score and by fall to Dake.

174: (Four automatic bids)

Like at 133, there isn’t a clear favorite at this weight.  Mat Miller of Navy, Greg Zannetti of Rutgers, Nate Brown of Lehigh and Stephen West of Columbia have all had very strong seasons.   All are in the top 21 of the final Coaches’ Panel rankings.

NY Storyline(s): Can Stephen West get his first bid to the NCAAs?  The Columbia coaching staff was surprised he was not awarded an at-large bid to the NCAAs a year ago after a solid campaign and a fifth place EIWA showing. He has followed up with a better senior season and hopes to represent the Lions in Iowa.

Last year’s 165 pound bronze medal match at EIWAs featured an overtime win for Army’s Coleman Gracey over Cornell’s Marshall Peppelman.  Peppelman recently got the starting nod for the Big Red after a season-long battle with freshman Duke Pickett while Gracey didn’t take the mat for the Black Knights until the second half of the campaign.  Neither wrestler is pre-seeded in the top five, but both are capable of strong runs this weekend to earn return trips to the NCAA tournament.

184: (Five automatic bids)

Will we get to see another installment of Steve Bosak vs. Robert Hamlin?  The past two seasons, the two-time All-Americans have met for the EIWA crown.  Both times, the Lehigh grappler used late heroics to take the title. The two are on another collision course and this one could have major implications for not only the team race but also for seeding in Des Moines.  Presumably neither wants to be in the path of Penn State’s Ed Ruth.

NY Storyline(s): Bosak is a national champion but hasn’t collected an EIWA title.  Can he add that honor to his resume this weekend in New Jersey?

197: (Five automatic bids)

Cam Simaz stood on top of the podium at this weight for the past four years. The last three times, his titles came at the expense of Penn’s Micah Burak.  Now as a senior, the Quaker is the favorite to finally get over the hump and take first place.

NY Storyline(s): Jace Bennett is one of the more exciting upperweights to watch in the nation.  27 of his 38 matches have ended as bonus point affairs – some for and some against.  Nick Mills came tantalizingly close to qualifying for nationals two years ago at the EIWAs and has one last chance this weekend.  On the other end of the spectrum, this will be the first shot for Army freshman Bryce Barnes, who has 22 victories in his rookie campaign. A year ago, Army’s Derek Stanley rode a great conference tournament to the NCAAs at this weight.  Barnes could do the same.

285: (Four automatic bids)

Photo by BV

This is one of two classes without a top 20-ranked wrestler (along with 133).  So, who will emerge?  Both Stryker Lane of Cornell and Dan Miller of Navy have placed at EIWAs in the past. Meanwhile, Billy Smith of Rutgers and Blake Herrin of American have both been consistent and effective throughout the campaign and as a result entered as pre-seeds number one and two. 

NY Storyline(s): Colin Wittmeyer of Army has placed in the EIWA tournament in the past.  After spending the early part of the season at 184, he recently has seen action at 285 and enters in the ninth spot.

Cornell’s Lane sustained an injury during the Harvard meet, but came back on the mat to register a late reversal and near fall to clinch the dual victory for his team.  He returned several weeks later and fought through the pain to ensure the Big Red went to the second weekend of the National Duals in Minnesota.  The number three pre-seed, he should be back and ready for Cornell.

For the pre-seeds for this year’s tournament, see here.

2013 EIWA Pre-Seeds

 
 
2013 EIWA Pre-Seeds, Courtesy of Wrestling Report

125
1. Nahshon Garrett, Cornell
2. Mark Rappo, Penn
3. Joe Langel, Rutgers
4. David Terao, American
5. Jeffrey Ott, Harvard
6. Billy Watterson, Brown
7. Alex Abreu, Lehigh
8. Patrick Prada, Navy
9. Penn Gottfried, Columbia

133
1. Vinny Dellefave, Rutgers
2. Randy Cruz, Lehigh
3. Bricker Dixon, Cornell
4. Colton Rasche, Navy
5. Jordan Thome, Army
6. Paul Petrov, Bucknell
7. Jeff Canfora, Penn
8. Matt Bystol, Columbia
T9. Robert Ruiz, F&M
T9. Shay Warren, Harvard
11. Esteban Gomez-Rivera, American

141
1. Mike Nevinger, Cornell
2. Steven Keith, Harvard
3. C. J. Cobb, Penn
4. Trevor Melde, Rutgers
5. Richard Durso, F&M
6. Connor Hanafee, Army
7. Joe Locksmith, Navy
8. Anthony Salupo, Lehigh
9. Kevin Moylan, Princeton

149
1. Steve Santos, Columbia
2. Shane Welsh, Lehigh
3. Daniel Young, Army
4. Chris Villalonga, Cornell
5. Kevin Tao, American
6. Zach Bintliff, Princeton
7. Raymond Borja, Navy
8. Andrew Lenzi, Penn
9. Todd Preston, Harvard

157
1. Walter Peppelman, Harvard
2. Joey Napoli, Lehigh
3. Bobby Barnhisel, Navy
4. Scott Winston, Rutgers
5. Jake O’Hara, Columbia
6. Jesse Shanaman, Cornell
7. Vincent Favia, Bucknell
8. Troy Hernandez, Penn
9. John Belanger, Army
10. Philip Marano, Brown

165
1. Kyle Dake, Cornell
2. Corey Lear, Bucknell
3. Casey Kent, Penn
T4. Paul Hancock, Army
T4. Peyton Walsh, Navy
6. Nicholas Visicaro, Rutgers
7. Josh Houldsworth, Columbia
8. Philip Barreiro, American
9. Giuseppe Lanzi, Brown

174
1. Nate Brown, Lehigh
2. Mat Miller, Navy
3. Greg Zannetti, Rutgers
4. Stephen West, Columbia
5. Ian Korb, Penn
6. Cole Gracey, Army
7. Cameron Croy, Harvard
8. Marshall Peppelman, Cornell
9. Ryan Callahan, Princeton

184
1. Robert Hamlin, Lehigh
2. Steve Bosak, Cornell
3. Dan Rinaldi, Rutgers
4. Mason Bailey, Navy
5. Canaan Bethea, Penn
6. Ophir Bernstein, Brown
7. Scott Gibbons, Princeton
8. Ryan Tompkins, Army
9. Josh Popple, Harvard
10. Thomas Barreiro, American

197
1. Micah Burak, Penn
2. James Fox, Harvard
3. Oscar Huntley, Navy
4. Bryce Barnes, Army
5. Jace Bennett, Cornell
6. Sterling Hecox, Brown *
7. John Bolich, Lehigh
8. Tyler Lyster, Bucknell
9. Nick Mills, Columbia

285
1. Billy Smith, Rutgers
2. Blake Herrin, American
3. Stryker Lane, Cornell
4. Daniel Miller, Navy
5. Joe Stolfi, Bucknell
6. Steven Graziano, Penn
7. Max Wessell, Lehigh
8. David Ng, Harvard
9. Colin Wittmeyer, Army
10. Nicholas Gaijzik, Harvard

*Late withdrawal

Empire State Battles: What to Watch For as Cornell Travels to Hofstra and Columbia

Last weekend, two New York teams faced each other in a dual for the first time in 2013, with Hofstra easing past Columbia, 23-9.

On Saturday, a few more Empire State battles will take place as Cornell visits Long Island and New York City for meetings with Hofstra at 1 p.m. and Columbia at 6.  The Big Red wrestlers defeated the Pride and Lions by a combined score of 52-21 in 2012 and would clinch their 11th consecutive Ivy League championship with a victory against Columbia.

With the season winding toward March and every match important for postseason seeding and qualification, here are some things we’ll be following throughout the day:

Cornell vs. Hofstra

Ranked Rematches

125: Big Red freshman Nahshon Garrett, now ranked sixth in the country, began to receive national attention back in November after his 13-9 victory over Hofstra All-American Steve Bonanno in the finals of the New York State Intercollegiates.

The Cornell 125-pounder has continued his stellar campaign, with a 29-3 overall mark.  Meanwhile, Bonnano has compiled a 13-7 record against a challenging slate in which he’s faced seven of the nation’s top 20.  He has been on a recent six-bout winning streak. Both wrestlers are threats to make the podium.  How similar will the rematch be to the first meeting?

141: Mike Nevinger and Luke Vaith have both been ranked in the top 10 at times during this campaign. Nevinger still sits at #10 and has looked very sharp at times, including during his run to the Southern Scuffle championship.  Last weekend, however, he dropped a pair of matches against ranked opponents.  Vaith has won five of his last six.  When they met in Ithaca in November, the Cornellian came away with a 1-0 decision. Who will take this one?

Other Postseason Implications

There are a number of weights that feature grapplers fighting for NCAA consideration, with 157, 174 and 285 certainly fitting into that category.

Shanaman, Photo by BV

157: Jesse Shanaman was 30th in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings. (Those rankings, which include the top 33 in the country, are one of the key components of the NCAA tournament selection criteria).  The former Blair Academy standout will face the Pride’s Tyler Banks, who has recently returned from an injury. Banks is looking to state his case for postseason consideration, a process he began last Sunday when he earned his third straight win by edging Columbia’s Jake O’Hara, a returning qualifier who has spent some of the campaign in the top 20.

285: Both the Pride’s Paul Snyder and the Big Red’s Stryker Lane made the cut in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings at #25 and #27, respectively.  Both have solid records, which would be bolstered with a victory in the dual meet.  The two squared off in Hempstead in 2011, with Lane taking a 4-0 decision.

174: Jermaine John has started to turn some heads with his recent performances for Hofstra.  He defeated Rider’s James Brundage, who was in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings, in mid January, and proceeded to win his next five contests.  That included an 8-1 victory over Columbia’s Stephen West, a wrestler who not only was ranked in the top 20 for a portion of the campaign, but who defeated John 6-0 early in the season.  On the Big Red side, the starting nod has gone back and forth between Marshall Peppelman and Duke Pickett.  Peppelman manned the weight two weeks ago while Pickett took over last weekend and notched a major decision against Oregon State.  With the season winding down, one will look to take control and work his way into the postseason picture.  With John trying to do the same, it should be an intriguing match.

Cornell had representatives in the Coaches’ Panel Rankings in all but two weights – the previously discussed 174, and 133.  The latter should be of interest in the dual as Hofstra’s Jamie Franco, a 2012 NCAA qualifier, is looking for a return trip.  He was 8-11 at the end of December but has begun to pick things up, with three consecutive triumphs.  A year ago, he got his hand raised against Cornell and he’ll look to keep his winning streak alive.

 

Cornell vs. Columbia

Villalonga, Photo by BV

Cornell’s quest for an 11th straight Ivy title is a major story here.  But beyond that, we’re looking forward to perhaps the marquee match between Steve Santos and Chris Villalonga at 149.  The two split a pair of close bouts last year, with the Columbia wrestler winning 2-0 in the dual meet and Villalonga responding with a 4-3 decision in the third place bout at the EIWAs.

Santos went on to make the Round of 12 at the NCAAs and has continued on a hot streak that has him ranked eighth in the Coaches’ Panel Rankings (Villalonga is 15th). There will also be implications for EIWA seeding, as Santos currently sits first in the conference while Villalonga is third.

Santos is one of the captains of the Lions this year.  His fellow team leaders, 157 pounder Jake O’Hara and 174 pounder Stephen West will also wrestle compelling matches on Saturday.

O'Hara, Photo by BV

157: As mentioned above, O’Hara was upset against Hofstra and looks to get back on track against Shanaman, another wrestler coming off a tough loss (against Oregon State’s RJ Pena last Sunday).

174: West’s setback against Hofstra’s Jermaine John snapped a five-match winning streak, but the California native still has a 17-5 record for the year and is on track for his first trip to the NCAAs.  Earlier in the year, West topped Peppelman 6-1.  How will he fare against Cornell this time around?

197: In the finals of the New York State Intercollegiates, Jace Bennett dominated Nick Mills on the way to an 8-0 victory.  In a prior round of that tournament, Mills defeated Cornell’s Billy George, 5-3.  It will be interesting to see either of those rematches.  Bennett appeared in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings in the 24th spot, but it was George who represented the Big Red at this weight last weekend against Penn and Oregon State.  (Bennett did take the mat, but at heavyweight).

And finally . . .

Fans haven’t seen much of Kyle Dake during the conference schedule this year as he has pinned all four opponents with only one match going past the first period.  No matter how long he’s on the mat on Saturday, it will be a treat for spectators to watch one of the best ever in the sport compete in his last Ivy League dual before gearing up for his run at a fourth NCAA championship.

 

Head Coach Carl Fronhofer Previews the 2012-13 Columbia Lions

In 2011-12, Carl Fronhofer’s first season as head coach, Columbia took third place in the Ivy League (losing a 19-18 nailbiter against second place Penn) and sixth at the EIWA tournament.  The Lions sent three wrestlers to the NCAA tournament, where Steve Santos came within one win of becoming an All-American at 149 and 157-pounder Jake O’Hara and now graduated heavyweight Kevin Lester each won a pair of matches.

What’s next for the Ivy League squad in 2012-13?  Fronhofer gave New York Wrestling News a preview of what to expect in the upcoming campaign, beginning with a weight-by-weight look at the team.

125 Pounds – Former Section 1 standout Penn Gottfried returns after taking last season off with a shoulder injury.  He’ll be in a battle with Robert Dyar, who won 16 matches last year, for the starting role in 2012-13.  Adding depth is California state champion Johnson Mai.

Coach Fronhofer: “Penn and Dyar are pretty competitive in the room and at this point, it’s hard to tell what will happen.  Penn’s rehab went great and his arm is strong.  But, he’s only been back on the mat for a couple of weeks.  I think it’s close enough between those two guys that I’ll remove myself from that situation and see how it plays out. As for Johnson Mai, he’s a tremendous athlete who is very skilled.  He’s good enough to find ways to win.  But he’s probably at least a year away from getting big enough to compete nationally.  It’s similar to Dyar when he first came in – he needed time to grow enough to compete at 125 pounds.”

133 Pounds – The departure of starter Kyle Gilchrist, who went 27-15 a year ago, leaves a spot that several wrestlers are hoping to grab.

Coach Fronhofer: “It’s definitely wide open. We have Andrew Grabfelder, who was a starter earlier in his career.  He took a year off, was injured when he came back and is a senior now.  If he can stay healthy and keep it together, he can do well.  We also have some young guys from Ohio – Ryan Murdock and Angelo Amenta who are pretty talented kids who work hard.  Also add in California freshman Joe Moita.  This is the most wide open race for a starting spot in our lineup this year.”

141 Pounds – Last season, Matt Bystol, Ryan Ponte and Elijah Sullivan all manned the 141-pound spot at times, until Bystol earned the nod down the stretch.  He and Ponte will be back, with Sullivan taking the year off. But it may be a three-way race again as Top 100 recruit Alec Mooradian, a Michigan native, will also look for time.

Coach Fronhofer: “We had several wrestleoffs last year at 141 and it went in circles. When the dust settled, it was Bystol who won the job.  He was really steady and consistent and that’s why he found himself in the lineup at the end of the year.  Ponte will battle with him again and so will Mooradian.  [Mooradian] was a four-time state finalist and a three-time champion and lost only a few matches in his entire high school career.   He’s tough and he’ll be fighting for the spot too.”

149 Pounds – Unlike the first three weights, 149 isn’t up for grabs.  Four-year starter Steve Santos will be back a year after making the Round of 12 at the NCAA tournament.  Santos has racked up several impressive victories during his career, including wins over Mario Mason, Donnie Vinson and Edinboro’s David Habat.  In 2011-12, he compiled a 26-11 record and took fourth at the EIWA tournament before winning three bouts at nationals.

Coach Fronhofer: “Last year, Steve was solid.  When he was a freshman and sophomore, he was a little inconsistent. He took some bad losses here and there.  But if he continues to be consistent, he’s a top 10 guy in the country and is capable of more than that.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he took top four at NCAAs this year.  He has what it takes to be an All-American.”

157 Pounds – Like Santos, fellow senior Jake O’Hara got his hand raised at nationals in 2012.  The Pennsylvania native won two matches in St. Louis to cap off a 30-victory campaign.  According to Fronhofer, he and Santos will be the team captains and are the leaders of the squad who “take care of business inside and outside the room and do everything right”.

Coach Fronhofer: “Jake made a big leap last year.  I think the difference between Jake as a sophomore and as a junior was pretty astronomical.  It’s a credit to him.  He works very hard – he stays the course and gets better every day.  I think having [assistant coach] Adam Hall [an All-American at Boise State] to work with was very beneficial.  Without question, Jake’s goal is to be on the podium in March.  There’s no doubt in my mind that he can do it.  The middle weights are always loaded but you have to show up and wrestle.  He’s capable of placing at the NCAAs.”

165 Pounds – NCAA qualifier Eren Civan graduated and a number of young wrestlers are lining up to take his spot.  Michigan native Josh Houldsworth, who started at 141 as a freshman in 2010-11, is moving up a few weights while 2012 spot starter Adam Fondale is in the mix with sophomore Eric Fajardo.

Coach Fronhofer: “Josh Houldsworth is pretty tall and we always thought he could grow. We’ve gotten such consistent work out of Steve [Santos] and Jake [O’Hara] that we asked Josh to move up and he’s making that move. Fondale won about 20 matches last year, wrestling in duals, opens and all over the place. Fajardo is a super talented kid who did a lot of judo growing up.  He didn’t have the pure wrestling experience of a lot of other guys, but he’s a great athlete who has developed well.  He took second at the FILA Junior Nationals this spring in Greco and has made some big gains in a short time.”

174 PoundsStephen West joined the lineup as soon as he arrived at Columbia and is ready to enter his fourth year as a starter.   Despite 33 wins last season, he didn’t receive a bid to the NCAA tournament and looks to qualify for nationals and more in his final season in a Lions singlet.

Coach Fronhofer: “It was almost unbelievable that [West] wasn’t at the tournament last year. It was shocking to me after he qualified a spot for our conference and placed only one spot out [of automatic qualifying]. He had the most wins at the weight in the country.   He was completely devastated – we all were.  But he has the right attitude about the sport and life and he snapped out of it pretty quickly and went back to work in the spring and summer.  He has the right focus.  I assume that in March he’ll be competing at a pretty high level nationally.  He’s shooting to be an All-American. He has the experience, the athleticism and the skill set that makes it possible.”

184 PoundsShane Hughes came in as a freshman and racked up 22 wins.  He was an exciting wrestler to watch, recording 11 pins and going for big moves at 184 pounds.  Several other freshmen, such as Zack Hernandez, Austin Coniker and Chris Loew are also listed at the weight.

Coach Fronhofer: “Shane is definitely very dangerous in certain positions.  To make a jump this year, he’ll have to be more consistent and tighten up his game a little bit.  You can’t put the reins on guys like him because part of why he’s good is that he’s so open.  But he’ll have to improve a little on fundamentals and managing matches to take the next step.”

197 Pounds – In 2011, Nick Mills made Second Team All-Ivy at 184 pounds and took fifth at EIWAs.  He began last season at the same weight and then transitioned to 197, going 12-15 overall.

Coach Fronhofer: “Nick had a rough year last year. He puts a lot of pressure on himself and was trying to figure out how to compete that way.  If he does that, he’ll be back in a position to get to the NCAA tournament. He’s a great athlete and physically can compete with anyone.  Chris Manna and Matt Idelson are two other guys who will be at that weight.  They haven’t figured out a way to beat Mills yet, though.”

285 PoundsWyatt Baker notched a 13-5 record in his first year with the Lions while backing up NCAA qualifier Kevin Lester.  He was busy in the spring and summer competing in the international styles.  Baker represented the United States at 120 kg in Greco Roman at the Junior World Championships in Thailand, taking 10th place.  The native Californian is looking to make his mark in the EIWA and nationally in his initial campaign as a starter.

Coach Fronhofer: “Wyatt has made a huge leap.  He’s a kid that comes from Servite, a major football factory and he was a big time football player.  He only wrestled a few months of the year.  He has a tremendous attitude – he’s a happy kid that gets the most out of every situation.  I think it’s really hard to start right out of the blocks at heavyweight, so he was in a good position last year to come in and develop with Kevin Lester here.  Having that year of development plus the great summer he earned by making the World Team really benefitted him and we expect him to compete at a high level right away.”

A Few More Questions . . . 

What do you feel were the biggest things you took away from your first year as the head coach?

Coach Fronhofer:  I think I learned about managing the guys.  It’s a bit of a balancing act.  A guy like Stephen West probably wrestled too many matches last year.  He’s just so tough and so consistent, you can lose sight of the fact that he could use some time off.  I think you learn as a head coach when to put the hammer down and when to pull back a little bit; how to manage individuals and keep the team’s best interest in mind.  The decision making process is constantly evolving.

I also got to see that as a head coach you manage to wear a lot of hats at once.  You have responsibilities to the team, the administration, the parents, recruiting, alumni and so on.  You’re constantly learning on the job as you go through different experiences.

What goals have you set for the team for 2012-13?

Coach Fronhofer: I think we’ve done some great work in the offseason.  You saw our guys wrestling a lot of freestyle and Greco.  Our attitude is that if there’s a wrestling tournament, we’re going.  We’re passionate about the Olympic movement in our country and we’re going to wrestle as much as we can.

I think our goal as a team at the EIWA tournament is to finish top 3.  After that, I think we’re capable of sending six-plus wrestlers to the NCAAs.  We have a few guys with very high level individual goals.  They expect to become All-Americans and their goals are to win national titles.  We can achieve some big things this year. I’m always excited in the fall, preparing for what’s coming next.  We’re really looking forward to getting started.