Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open Recap: Garrett Defeats Megaludis; Cornell Sends Eight to the Finals and Much More

Around 400 wrestlers competed on Sunday at the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open at Binghamton, including some of the best wrestlers in the country.  In one of the most highly anticipated matches of the weekend, #3 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell topped #2 Nico Megaludis of Penn State in the championship bout at 125 pounds.  The Big Red and Nittany Lion wrestlers saw a lot of each other, meeting in six of the finals matches.  In fact, the two schools accounted for nine of the 10 champions (six for Penn State and three for Cornell).

(A recap of many other weekend events is here).

Here’s a quick glance at the weights:

125 Pounds:

Garrett, Photo by BV

Last year at the NCAAs, Nahshon Garrett avenged earlier losses to Iowa’s Matt McDonough and Missouri’s Alan Waters.  After dropping a close decision to Megaludis at the Southern Scuffle last year, however, Garrett didn’t get another shot at the Nittany Lion.  That opportunity came on Sunday and Garrett took full advantage with a 7-4* decision that ended a 5-0 day for the Big Red sophomore.  Garrett also had two majors and two technical falls along his path.

New York Note: Binghamton’s David White earned fourth, winning four times on Sunday.  In addition, Connetquot’s Sean McCabe (Rutgers) made the top six.  (Only first and third place matches were contested).

133 Pounds:

The talk prior to the tournament was about a showdown between Cornell’s Mark Grey and Penn State’s Jimmy Gulibon, two wrestlers currently in the top 10 nationally.  However, Grey capped off a strong tournament with a 3-1 finals victory over another Nittany Lion – Jordan Conaway.  (Conaway topped Gulibon in the semis, the same round during which Grey beat #16, Geoff Alexander of Maryland, by a 7-0 score).

New York Note: Two 2013 NYS champions looked solid in their first college tournaments.  Sacred Heart’s TJ Fabian (Shoreham Wading River) went to the top 6, racking up a 4-2 mark with two majors and a fall.  He beat Bobby Rehm of Lock Haven, a placer at this event in 2012, along the way.  Meanwhile, Binghamton’s Nick Tighe also captured four victories in his debut for the Bearcats.

141 Pounds:

Penn State freshman Zain Retherford had a strong start to his career with a title at this weight, defeating Lehigh’s Will Switzer for gold.

New York Note: Binghamton’s Dylan Caruana lost his initial contest on Sunday morning, but came back to win four straight in the consolations before losing to eventual third place finisher Adam Krop of Princeton.  New York native Patrick Hogan followed a similar road, losing his first match before taking five in a row, including over highly-regarded Rutgers rookie Anthony Ashnault.

149 Pounds:

It came down to Big Red vs. Big Red.  Cornell teammates Chris Villalonga and Alex Cisneros both won their first five matches of the day to make the title bout.  Villalonga had two pins and two majors, while Cisneros also collected four bonus wins.  Villalonga took the title by forfeit.

New York Note: Binghamton’s Joe Bonaldi followed up a first place showing at 141 at last year’s Bearcat Open with a bronze finish in 2013 at his new weight.  To earn a spot in the bronze bout, he topped Cortland’s Bobby Dierna, another New York wrestler who had a solid day.  Dierna, a Division III All-American in 2013, had two pins and two majors.

157 Pounds:

Boston’s Nestor Taffur was the only champion not from Cornell or Penn State on Sunday.  He edged James Vollrath of the Nittany Lions, after placing second at this event last year to Cornell’s Brian Realbuto.

New York Note: Speaking of Realbuto, the Big Red freshman had an eventful day, beginning with a technical fall and pin.  He was then upset by Anthony Perrotti of Rutgers, but bounced back well, with four consecutive falls in the consolations and then a six-point decision over Perrotti to reach the third place match. Also reaching that match was Cornell’s Taylor Simaz, who won five bouts (four by bonus).  There was no contest, however, as Realbuto and Simaz double forfeited. Perhaps we will see them compete at next weekend’s Big Red wrestle-offs.

2013 NYS state champion Tyler Grimaldi of Harvard (and Half Hollow Hills West) looked good in the opening event of his career for the Crimson, grabbing four victories.  He earned his way to the quarterfinals before dropping an 11-10 decision to eventual champion Taffur.

165 Pounds:

#1 David Taylor blitzed his way through the field as expected.  In the championship match, he pinned Cornell’s Craig Eifert.  Eifert had won three straight to make the finals, including over Mitch Wightman of Boston and Jake Kemerer of Lock Haven.  Of the three candidates mentioned by head coach Rob Koll a few weeks ago for the 165 starting job, Eifert was the only one to take the mat on Sunday. (Dylan Palacio and Marshall Peppelman are the others).

New York Note: The previously mentioned Wightman, from Warwick Valley in Section 9, earned a fourth place finish on Sunday with five victories.

174 Pounds:

Returning NCAA finalist Matt Brown of Penn State took care of business, defeating Cornell’s Owen Scott to win the bracket.  Scott, a sophomore who missed all of last season with injuries, went 5-1 for the Big Red in his return to the mat.

New York Note: Scott wasn’t the only Cornell wrestler at 174 to end the day with only one loss.  Jesse Shanaman, moving up from 157 pounds a year ago, nabbed third with a 6-1 mark.

184 Pounds:

Like fellow top-ranked teammate David Taylor, Ed Ruth won it all on Sunday.  His finals opponent was Cornell’s Gabe Dean, a freshman who topped a pair of nationally-ranked competitors – Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh and Fred Garcia of Lock Haven.

New York Note: Cortland’s Nick Bellanza, a 2012 New York State champion for John Glenn, had two wins on the backside to make the final six of the tournament.  Bellanza is in his first season with the Red Dragons.

197 Pounds:

For the fourth straight weight class, the championship match pitted Penn State versus Cornell. This time, it was Nittany Lion Morgan McIntosh over Jace Bennett for the crown at 197 by a major decision.

New York Note: Bennett was joined by teammate Steve Congenie in the top four.  The freshman from Illinois won five times, including three pins, to notch fourth place.

285 Pounds:

Penn State’s Jimmy Lawson won in a field consisting of multiple nationally-ranked competitors.  He defeated one of those grapplers, Billy Smith of Rutgers, in the championship match.

New York Note: Tyler Deuel of the Bearcats earned fourth place with four victories during the day.  That included a pin of Cornell’s Stryker Lane, an opponent who had defeated him last season.  Lane also reached the top six.

 

* The score of the 125 pound finals is a typo in the brackets, according to the Big Red staff.

For full results, see http://www.trackwrestling.com and search for the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open.  For the top four at each weight, see below:

NCAA – 125
1st Place – Nahshon Garrett of Cornell
2nd Place – Nico Megaludis of Penn State
3rd Place – Scott Delvecchio of Rutgers
4th Place – David White of Binghamton

NCAA – 133
1st Place – Mark Grey of Cornell
2nd Place – Jordan Conaway of Penn State
3rd Place – Geoffrey Alexander of Maryland
4th Place – James Gulibon of Penn State

NCAA – 141
1st Place – Zain Retherford of Penn State
2nd Place – Will Switzer of Lehigh
3rd Place – Adam Krop of Princeton
4th Place – Casey Stasenko of Rutgers

NCAA – 149
1st Place – Chris Villalonga of Cornell
2nd Place – Alex Cisneros of Cornell
3rd Place – Joe Bonaldi of Binghamton
4th Place – Kevin Moylan of Princeton

NCAA – 157
1st Place – Nestor Taffur of Boston University
2nd Place – Jimmy Vollrath of Penn State
3rd Place – Forfeit Forfeit of Unattached
4th Place – Brian Realbuto of Cornell
4th Place – Taylor Simaz of Cornell

NCAA – 165
1st Place – David Taylor of Penn State
2nd Place – Craig Eifert of Cornell
3rd Place – Garett Hammond of Penn State
4th Place – Mitch Wightman of Boston University

NCAA – 174
1st Place – Matthew Brown of Penn State
2nd Place – Owen Scott of Cornell
3rd Place – Jesse Shanaman of Cornell
4th Place – Eric Morris of Harvard

NCAA – 184
1st Place – Edward Ruth of Penn State
2nd Place – Gabe Dean of Cornell
3rd Place – Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh
4th Place – Fred Garcia of Lock Haven

NCAA – 197
1st Place – Morgan McIntosh of Penn State
2nd Place – Jace Bennett of Cornell
3rd Place – Hayden Hrymack of Rutgers
4th Place – Steve Congenie of Cornell

NCAA – 285
1st Place – James Lawson of Penn State
2nd Place – William Smith of Rutgers
3rd Place – Jon Gingrich of Penn State
4th Place – Tyler Deuel of Binghamton


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

 

 

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.

Check Out Video Interviews With All Five All-Americans From NY Schools And More from the NCAAs

 
 
Check out video interviews with NY wrestlers at the NCAA tournament, including all five All-Americans from New York teams (Kyle Dake, Steve Bosak, Nahshon Garrett, Steve Santos and Mike Nevinger) and more.

 

Kyle Dake After Making History

 

Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett “Content But Not Satisfied” With Third Place at the NCAAs

 

Damion Hahn on Cornell’s Medal Round Performance at NCAAs

 

Steve Santos Takes Third at 149 For the Highest Columbia Finish Ever

 

Cornell’s Mike Nevinger Takes Fifth Place at NCAAs After a 9-2 Victory

 

Steve Bosak Finishes Off Three-Time All-American Career With Third at 184

 

Mike Nevinger – All-American Again After Five Straight Consolation Wins

 

Hofstra’s Jamie Franco – Two Straight in Overtime at the NCAAs

 

Hofstra’s Steve Bonanno After Upsetting #10 Seed in the First Round (Day 1)

 

Harvard 2012 All-American Steven Keith (Shoreham Wading River) After a First Round Pin (Day 1)

 

Photo by BV

 

 

Winning Words: Garrett, Bosak, Santos and Nevinger on Being All-Americans

 
 
All four of the New York wrestlers taking part in the medal rounds on Saturday morning finished their seasons on a winning note, with third place showings for Nahshon Garrett at 125, Steve Santos of Columbia at 149 and Steve Bosak at 184.  Mike Nevinger grabbed fifth at 141 as the Big Red had at least four All-Americans (along with finalist Kyle Dake) for the ninth consecutive campaign.  Here’s a little more on the performances of each of those wrestlers this weekend.

Nahshon Garrett, 3rd at 125

The freshman from California finished off a tremendous first season for the Big Red with a third place finish at the NCAA tournament, beating two higher seeds on Saturday to get there.

Garrett in 3rd Place Match, Photo by BV

In his first match of the day he surrendered a pair of takedowns in the first and trailed 4-2 after that stanza against the fifth-seed, Jarrod Garnett.  Heading into the third, the Virginia Tech grappler led 9-6, but the Big Red freshman took control from there, immediately getting the escape and a takedown to knot the match at 9.  From there, he was dominant in the top position, riding his opponent out and racking up three near fall points along the way for the final 13-9 margin.

He then squared off with the tournament’s top seed, Alan Waters of Missouri.  The pair met twice earlier this season, with the Tiger wrestler coming out on top on both occasions.  But Garrett said he felt confident this time.

“Honestly, I knew his game plan and I knew what he was going to do,” Garrett said. “He was sitting on a knee like I knew he would. He wrestled tough, but I knew what I had to do. I figured I would ride him out. I’d been doing so well this tournament riding people out, I felt I could do that if I didn’t score points at all before that. He’s obviously really good on top. The last couple of times we wrestled, I didn’t really know how to get out. But no one was able to ride me this weekend.”

The match went as Garrett expected. After a scoreless initial period, Waters selected the down position and Garrett took control.  The California native not only rode Waters out, but also registered a pair of near fall points near the end of the second to take a 2-0 lead.

In the third, Garrett quickly escaped and tacked on a late takedown.  With riding time added, the Cornell wrestler triumphed 6-1.

The victory cemented Garrett in the Cornell record books for another reason – he’s now the Big Red single season leader in wins with 43. Who were the former holders of that mark with 42? Cam Simaz and Garrett’s current coach Mike Grey.

When Garrett was told about that achievement, he smiled.

“We were just talking about me one upping him because he took sixth his freshman year,” Garrett said of Grey. “Now that I have that record over him, it’s pretty sweet.”

So is the bronze, although Garrett admitted he has plenty left to achieve.

“[Third place] isn’t what I came here for,” he said. “I’m very content with it right now, but I’m not satisfied. I’m not going to be satisfied until I get that title.”

Mike Nevinger, Fifth at 141

Mike Nevinger said his goal coming into the tournament was to be a national champion after taking seventh a year ago.  After losing in the first round on Thursday to Virginia Tech’s Zach Niebert in overtime, which he called “heartbreaking”, he said he knew he had to put it all together to get back on the podium, both for himself and for his team.

Nevinger Takes 5th, Photo by BV

He did just that, earning fifth on Saturday with a victory over North Carolina’s Evan Henderson.

“I think it’s just toughness,” he said. “Obviously, you’re just crushed after that first loss. But you just have to regroup and know that you’re a good enough wrestler to go out there and be an All-American. You just have to go out there and wrestle. Don’t make excuses for yourself, just come back strong and go from there.  I just needed to go out and wrestle smart and wrestle my match. If I keep it tight and wrestle tough on top, I’m going to come out on top.”

In his first bout on Saturday, Nevinger was defeated by the top seed, Hunter Stieber of Ohio State.  However, in the fifth place bout, he began strong with a takedown and three back points to take a 5-0 advantage into the second.  The former Letchworth star extended his lead in the second with another takedown and after an exchange of escapes in the third, Nevinger walked away with a 9-2 win and a fifth place medal.

Nevinger went from seventh as a sophomore to fifth as a junior.  He’s looking for more in his final season as he said his goal is to be a national champion.

“All areas could use improvement,” he said.  “I definitely have to get more attacks going on my feet and work on my baseline ‘D’ like always. I know I have a lot of things to work on this summer so I can come back stronger next year.”

Steve Santos, Third at 149

Steve Santos became the highest finisher in Columbia wrestling history on Saturday when he took third at 149 pounds.

“It was a great accomplishment as an individual and for our program. It just feels awesome,” Santos said. “Columbia has a long history of wrestling and a great core following. To represent Columbia like that is a great feeling.”

Santos After Taking Third, Photo by BV

In his first contest of the morning, his opponent, Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State struck first with a takedown, but Santos managed an escape to trail 2-1 after the opening stanza. Santos imposed his will in the second period, riding the Beaver wrestler for the entire two minutes.  In the final period, Santos took down and got right to his feet, reversing his opponent and riding him out for a 4-2 victory (with riding time) and a spot in the bronze match.

In that third place tilt, Santos once again took control, this time against last year’s NCAA runner up Dylan Ness of Minnesota.  He entered the second with a 4-2 lead and over 1:40 riding time.  In the third, Santos immediately took Ness down to increase his advantage to 6-2.  The Gopher escaped late, but the Brick, New Jersey native completed his Columbia career with a third place medal.

“I knew he likes to roll around like that, but I’m just as good in there,” Santos said of the unconventional Ness.  “I kept solid; I knew I didn’t want to let him wrestle his match. I kept my position and when he showed any vulnerabilities, I just attacked right away.”

Steve Bosak, Third at 184

It might not have been the perfect ending that Steve Bosak said he was looking for, but he finished his career on a high note by taking third place on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Central Michigan’s Ben Bennett.

Bosak, Photo by BV

After a scoreless first period, the four-time All-American from the MAC chose down against Bosak.  However, he never came close to escaping and was warned for stalling twice, resulting in a point for the Big Red.  There was no further scoring in the third after Bosak took neutral and the Cornell 184-pounder collected a 2-0 victory with riding time to add a bronze medal to his 2012 national championship and 2011 fourth place showing.

“I was proud of how I wrestled and finished out. I feel good,” Bosak said right after the match, adding that his ultimate goal was to repeat as an NCAA champion.

“When the seedings came out, I felt disrespected,” he said of getting the #4 spot in the bracket. “I was unsure why the seeding committee did that, but when it came down to it, I knew I had to wrestle everyone anyway to win it.”

In his first bout of the morning, Bosak came out on the offensive, getting in deep on a shot early that was defended by his opponent, Jimmy Sheptock of Maryland.  However, the Big Red senior did put points on the board in the opening stanza with a takedown and then remained on top for the remaining 50 seconds of the first.  A Bosak escape in the third was the only other scoring in the bout as the Big Red senior finished off a 3-0 decision.

Cornell assistant coach Damion Hahn said Bosak will be extremely hard to replace for his squad.

“It’s emotional because we’ve been together for a long time,” he said of the 184-pounder. “He’s one of the Cornell greats. He did a phenomenal job this weekend. I know a national title is what he wanted. He fell a little short, but I don’t think anybody could be more pleased with his performance. He is a competitor, he has heart, he has every intangible thing you could want in a wrestler.  He will be greatly missed, no doubt about it.”

NCAA Session 3: Cornell's Garrett Upsets McDonough, Joins Dake, Bosak and Santos in the Semis

 
 
4-for-4 for New York.  In the Friday quarterfinals, Columbia’s Steve Santos and the Cornell trio of Nahshon Garrett, Kyle Dake and Steve Bosak all punched their tickets to the semifinals while solidifying All-American status.  They won’t be the only Empire State wrestlers in action in the evening, however, as the Big Red’s Mike Nevinger (141), Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson (149) and former Brockport standout Christian Boley (Maryland, 197) will compete in the Round of 12, looking to make the podium.

 

Binghamton:

Vinson, Photo by BV

Donnie Vinson continued his run through the consolations, beginning the morning with a victory over Michigan State’s Dan Osterman before an impressive 12-0 major over Michigan’s Eric Grajales.  197-pounder Nate Schiedel also got off to a winning start on Friday when he handled UTC’s Nik Brown.  In his second contest, he took an early lead against Iowa’s Nathan Burak, however, the Hawkeye followed by hitting a headlock and registering the fall.

133-pounder Derek Steeley was eliminated in the morning session with a loss to Maryland’s Geoff Alexander.

Upcoming Match

149: Donnie Vinson vs. Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State) – Round of 12

 

Buffalo:

John-Martin Cannon endured a significant injury in his first match of the tournament, a victory over 12th seeded Mathew Miller of Navy.  He continued to battle, beginning his consolation action on Friday with a 3-2 tiebreaker win over Cal State Bakersfield’s Bryce Hammond.  After finishing regulation knotted at 1 and a scoreless sudden victory period, Cannon notched a reversal to move ahead 3-1.  Hammond later escaped, but it wasn’t enough.

Cannon next took the mat against Ohio’s Cody Walters.  The Bobcat got on the board first with a first period takedown and the wrestlers later traded escapes, resulting in a 3-1 decision for Walters.

 

Columbia:

Steve Santos became the school’s first All-American since Matt Palmer in 2007 when he defeated Air Force’s Cole Von Ohlen in the quarterfinals.  The Columbia senior avenged a loss to Von Ohlen at last year’s NCAAs.

The Ivy Leaguer took a 4-1 lead into the third period, where he brought his riding time advantage to over two minutes.  However, late in the stanza, his opponent escaped and then picked up a takedown with less than 20 seconds to go to make it 4-4 on the scoreboard.  Santos’s riding time was the difference in the 5-4 decision.

EIWA finalist Matt Bystol and senior Stephen West each collected a victory in their first trip to the NCAAs, before completing their seasons on Friday.

Upcoming Match

149: Steve Santos vs. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State), Semifinals

 

Cornell:

Garrett, Photo by BV

The Big Red wrestlers combined for a 5-0 record during Session 3, including a sweep of quarterfinal matches by Nahshon Garrett, Kyle Dake and Steve Bosak.  Garrett took on three-time NCAA finalist Matt McDonough of Iowa at 125 and fell behind 2-0 on a late first period takedown.  However, he got a key escape with just seconds left in the period to trail 2-1 after the opening stanza.  Garrett selected bottom and after McDonough notched just over a minute of riding time, the Cornell freshman got out to tie the score at 2.  Going into the third, the Hawkeye chose down and Garrett put on a dominant performance from the top position, riding the two-time NCAA champion out and forcing overtime.  (Garrett wound up with 58 seconds of riding time).

Garrett wasted little time in the sudden victory period, going on the offensive and earning the takedown to win a dramatic 4-2 match.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Garrett said. “I was much more excited than nervous. I didn’t think any of the pressure was on me.  I just went out there and wrestled.  I shot a couple of doubles earlier and got to his body. That last one [in sudden victory] was just a matter of strength and finishing.  It was just an awesome experience.”

There was far less drama for Kyle Dake at 165, as he controlled his bout against Virginia’s Nick Sulzer from the opening whistle.  Dake had his way in all three positions as he triumphed 13-0 in a match that was never in doubt. The win ensured that Dake will be a four-time All-American, although he’s shooting for loftier goals.

Steve Bosak made it two wins for the Big Red over the Hawkeyes on Friday morning when he defeated Ethen Lofthouse at 184.  After a scoreless first, Lofthouse chose bottom and Bosak went to work, remaining in control for the entire two minutes.  In the third, Bosak escaped quickly and added a takedown. With riding time tacked on at the end, the final score was 4-1.

Mike Nevinger made it three in a row in the wrestlebacks with a fall against Chris Mecate of Old Dominion in his opening action on Friday, followed by a 7-2 win over Missouri’s Nick Hucke later on.  The latter win avenged a loss to the Tiger at the Grapple at the Garden.

Upcoming Matches

125: Nahshon Garrett vs. Jesse Delgado (Illinois), Semifinals

165: Kyle Dake vs. Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma St), Semifinals

184: Steve Bosak vs. Ed Ruth (Penn St), Semifinals

141: Mike Nevinger vs. Mark Ballweg (Iowa), Round of 12

 

Hofstra:

Steve Bonanno and Jamie Franco began Friday with victories in the wrestlebacks.  Bonanno topped Cal State Bakersfield’s Tyler Iwamura 7-4 while Franco triumphed in overtime for the second straight time when he reversed North Carolina’s Joey Ward in the tiebreakers to win 3-1.  Both completed their NCAA runs in the next round, however as Minnesota’s David Thorn topped Bonanno and Central Michigan’s Scotti Sentes defeated Franco at 133. Luke Vaith also completed his season on Friday, against Missouri’s Nick Hucke.

 

Additional New York Natives in the Field

Boley, Photo by BV

Christian Boley of Maryland collected a pair of victories on Day 2 to earn a spot in Session 4 Friday evening.  He first upended Arizona State’s Jake Meredith 6-3 before over Phil Wellington of Ohio.

Upcoming Match

Christian Boley (Maryland) vs. Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma St), Round of 12

"Making History and Moving On to Bigger and Better Things": Cornell Captures Seventh-Straight EIWA Title as Dake Named OW

 
 
Last year, the EIWA team championship wasn’t decided until the very last match, when American’s Ryan Flores topped Lehigh’s Zach Rey in overtime to clinch a 2.5 point victory for the Big Red over the Mountain Hawks.

This time, there was far less suspense. The Big Red led Navy by 17 points heading into the final session and finished 24.5 points ahead of the Midshipmen in the standings. In the process, Cornell became the first team to ever win seven consecutive EIWA crowns.

“We’re pretty happy with the weekend,” said head coach Rob Koll. “Seven in a row is better than six, that’s for sure. We lose two national champs next year [Kyle Dake and Steve Bosak], which will make it harder to get our eighth in row next year. But we return the other eight placewinners and that’s a pretty good start.”

Dake, Photo by Lindsey Mechalik

Leading the way for the Big Red were a trio of champions. Dake maintained his season-long dominance with a 20-5 technical fall against Columbia’s Josh Houldsworth after two pins and a major decision in his first three contests.

While it was Dake’s third EIWA title, it was the first conference crown for freshman Nahshon Garrett and 2012 NCAA champion Steve Bosak.

Garrett got the last session off to a good start for his team with a 6-1 decision over Mark Rappo of Penn in the 125-pound title bout. The Ivy League Rookie of the Year had defeated the Quaker in the tiebreakers earlier in the season.

“It was a great experience, wrestling here this weekend,” Garrett said. “I knew in the finals that he would do some of the things he did the last time we wrestled, like staying on a knee. I did better against it but I know there are still some things I need to work on.”

Right before his interview, Garrett was in charge of carrying the team hardware out of the arena and onto the team bus.

“That trophy is bigger than him,” Koll said, laughing. “Nahshon did well. But the truth is, it’s hard for me to be satisfied with Nahshon, because my expectations for him are just so high.”

The same could be said for Bosak, who took second the previous two seasons at this event, losing in the finals to Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin. The third consecutive EIWA title bout between Bosak and Hamlin didn’t happen as the Mountain Hawk grappler injury defaulted in the semifinals to Mason Bailey of Navy.

Bosak then defeated Bailey 7-1 to earn his spot atop the medal stand. The outcome not only earned a crown for the Big Red senior, but carried implications for the NCAA tournament.

“It was nice for Steve to get that title,” Koll said. “It’s no secret that we don’t want to see Ed Ruth [of Penn State] until the finals, if we can get there. So, we came in knowing that Hamlin needed to lose for that to happen. You don’t want to see medical forfeits at this time of year. I would have preferred that Steve beat Hamlin on the mat. But a loss is a loss. [Hamlin] was losing at the time of the forfeit and I think that will be reflected in the seedings.”

Several other Cornell wrestlers will be thinking about the seedings over the next few weeks as four more punched their tickets to Des Moines. Both Mike Nevinger (141) and Jace Bennett (197) grabbed third, while Chris Villalonga (149) and Stryker Lane (285) were fourth on the podium.

Nevinger lost a tight bout in the semifinals to Franklin & Marshall’s Ricky Durso, the eventual champion. He then fought back to bronze position with some late match heroics. On Saturday morning, he won in sudden victory over Lehigh’s Anthony Salupo and later on, he defeated Harvard’s Steven Keith 3-0 on the strength of an escape and takedown late in the match.

“Mike lost a tough one, but [Durso] is a really good kid who’s very funky,” Koll said. “[Nevinger] didn’t lose that match, Durso found a way to beat him. That happens sometimes. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again in Iowa.”

While Nevinger’s loss was in the semis, Bennett dropped his quarterfinal bout in the 197 bracket. However, he came storming back, with four consecutive wins, including a pin and a major.

“I’m really proud of the way Jace bounced back all the way to third,” Koll said. “He has made significant improvements this season despite his ups and downs. He’s a guy who is capable of doing some real damage at Nationals.”

Koll believes the same could be said for Villalonga and Lane. The 149-pounder sustained a deep cut over his eye, according to the coach and injury defaulted in the third place bout after winning 7-1 over Ken Theobold of Rutgers earlier in the day to secure his place in Des Moines.

Lane, who was hampered by injuries late in the season, responded to a quarterfinal loss on Friday to earn his first NCAA bid. The heavyweight won three straight in the consolations, including an exciting 8-7 tiebreaker victory over top seed Billy Smith of Rutgers. In that match, Smith had Lane on his back, close to a pin, before the Big Red wrestler fought back to tie the bout and send it overtime.

“Stryker’s a tough kid,” Koll said. “He may not be the biggest or the strongest or the fastest heavyweight in the country, but he has more heart than anyone. We get everything he has every time he goes out there. The good news is that he’s going to Nationals.”

Hoping to join Lane and the rest of Cornell’s qualifiers is 157-pounder Jesse Shanaman, who took sixth in heartbreaking fashion. He lost in sudden victory to Scott Winston of Rutgers in a bout that determined who would pick up the last EIWA automatic bid at that weight.

“There were a lot of positives this weekend and I know our team, alumni and fans are excited about the championship,” Koll said. “But it’s first our NCAA qualifier and I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get more than seven guys through to NCAAs. I really thought Jesse had back points at the end of his match against Winston. I think the only person who didn’t think so in the whole gym was the referee. We’re still hoping he’ll get a wildcard.”

Photo by Lindsey Mechalik

The Big Red earned several additional honors; or more accurately, Dake did. In addition to being named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, he collected the Fletcher Award for most points scored in a career at EIWAs and the Sheridan Award for most falls in the least time. One honor that didn’t go Cornell’s way was EIWA Coach of the Year. And that didn’t sit well with assistant coach Damion Hahn.

“The EIWAs have been wrestled for over 100 years and in that time no team has ever won seven times in a row. What Rob [Koll] did with this team was make history and I think it’s a travesty that he didn’t receive recognition for it. Do you give the Outstanding Wrestler award to someone who almost wins? I have tremendous respect for Bruce Burnett, who is a great coach. Navy did a phenomenal job this weekend and the whole year. Hats off to them. But I think the EIWA coaches made the wrong call.”

Hahn also acknowledged, however, that his disappointment with that decision was one of few negatives over the two-day period for the Big Red.

“Everyone wrestled tough and it showed with all 10 of our guys placing,” Hahn said. “Some guys are disappointed in how they did, but for the most part, we can’t complain. We’re walking away with our seventh title in a row and we’re walking away virtually healthy. That’s a good weekend. Now, we’re on to bigger and better things.”

Cornell's Kyle Dake Earns Ivy League Wrestler of the Year; Nahshon Garrett Named Top Rookie

The All-Ivy Teams were announced on Wednesday and New York was well represented.

Cornell picked up the two big individual awards when senior 165-pounder Kyle Dake won his first Ivy League Wrestler of the Year Award and 125-pounder Nahshon Garrett earned Rookie of the Year honors.  It was the fifth consecutive time that a Big Red team member won the Wrestler of the Year trophy.

Photo by BV

Dake has been dominant throughout his 28-0 season, including pinning all five of his Ivy opponents, while Garrett also registered a 5-0 mark in conference action with four of those victories by bonus points.

Both Dake and Garrett were unanimously chosen to the All-Ivy first team.  Other New York wrestlers joining them were Cornell’s Steve Bosak (184) and Jacob Aiken-Phillips (285), Columbia seniors Steve Santos (149) and Stephen West (174) and former Shoreham Wading River High School star Steven Keith (Harvard, 141).

Quite a few wrestlers with ties to the Empire State made the All-Ivy second team as well.  They include Cornell’s Chris Villalonga (149) and Stryker Lane (285) and Columbia’s Jake O’Hara (157) and Matt Bystol (133).  In addition, Syosset’s Steven Graziano (Penn, 285) and Carmel’s Ryan Osleeb (Harvard, 133) also earned spots on the squad.

For the full list of the first, second and honorable mention All-Ivy teams, see below:
FIRST TEAM ALL-IVY
*Nahshon Garrett, Cornell (Fr., 125 – Chico, Calif.) – Rookie of the Year
*Jeff Canfora, Penn (So., 133 – East Hanover, N.J.)
Steven Keith, Harvard (Sr., 141 – Shoreham, N.Y.)
Steve Santos, Columbia (Sr., 149 – Brick, N.J.)
*Walter Peppelman, Harvard (Sr., 157 – Harrisburg, Pa.)
*Kyle Dake, Cornell (Sr., 165 – Ithaca, N.Y.) – Wrestler of the Year
*Stephen West, Columbia (Sr., 174 – Fresno, Calif.)
*Steve Bosak, Cornell (Sr., 184 – State College, Pa.)
*Micah Burak, Penn (Sr., 197 – Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Jacob Aiken-Phillips, Cornell (So., 285 – Lawrenceville, Ga.)

SECOND TEAM ALL-IVY 
Mark Rappo, Penn (Sr., 125 – Holland, Pa.)
Matt Bystol, Columbia (Jr., 133 – Libertyville, Ill.)
Ryan Osleeb, Harvard (So., 133 – Carmel, N.Y.)
C.J. Cobb, Penn (So., 141 – Williamstown, N.J.)
Chris Villalonga, Cornell (Jr., 149 – Totowa, N.J.)
Jake O’Hara, Columbia (Sr., 157 – Mountaintop, Pa.)
Casey Kent, Penn (Fr., 165 – Norristown, Pa.)
Ian Korb, Penn (So., 174 – Cincinnati, Oh.)
Ophir Bernstein, Brown (So., 184 – Allen, Texas)
James Fox, Harvard (So., 197 – Plainfield, N.J.)
Stryker Lane, Cornell (Sr., 285 – Redvale, Colo.)
Steven Graziano, Penn (Jr., 285 – Syosset, N.Y.)

HONORABLE MENTION ALL-IVY
Jeff Ott, Harvard (Fr., 125 – Chelmsford, Mass.)
Bricker Dixon, Cornell (So., 133 – Kansas City, Mo.)
Mike Nevinger, Cornell (Jr., 141 – Perry, N.Y.)
Zach Bintliff, Princeton (Sr., 149 – Gladstone, Mo.)
Jesse Shanaman, Cornell (Jr., 157– Blairstown, N.J.)
Giuseppi Lanzi, Brown (Jr., 165 – Amsterdam, N.Y.)
Cameron Croy, Harvard (Jr., 174 – Brentwood, Tenn.)
Canaan Bethea, Penn (Jr., 184 – Trenton, N.J.)
Jace Bennett, Cornell (So., 197 – Amarillo, Texas)
Nick Gajdzik, Harvard (Fr., 285 – Rochester, Mich.)

* Unanimous selection

Dake, Garrett, Doliscar, Myhrberg Among Leaders in NCAA "Most Dominant" Standings

At the end of the season, the NCAA will present awards to the Most Dominant Wrestler in Divisions I, II and III as well as the wrestlers with the most pins and technical falls. On Wednesday, the NCAA announced the current standings for each of those categories.

A pair of Cornell wrestlers appear in the Division I rankings. Three-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake sits eighth in the Most Dominant standings and second in pins, with 10. (Ohio State’s Logan Stieber and Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore lead those categories, respectively).

Dake’s freshman teammate Nahshon Garrett is tied for the lead with six technical falls but stands second in that race behind Penn State’s David Taylor because the Nittany Lion has taken less total time to record those tech falls.

In Division III, two New York wrestlers appear in the Most Dominant rankings.  Ithaca’s 174-pound starter Jules Doliscar is seventh while Cortland’s 197-pounder Jared Myhrberg is tied for eighth.

For more details on the standings and the formula for calculating “Most Dominant”, see here for Division I and here for Division III.

 

 

Catching Up With Cornell: Rob Koll's Update Following the Scuffle and Lehigh/Princeton

 
 
 

By Rob Koll

It has been a busy couple of weeks with competition and two-a-day practices.

In the future we will not be wrestling Lehigh on the first weekend of January. When we returned to Ithaca from the Southern Scuffle the guys barely had enough time to have their singlets washed.  We immediately hopped on a bus for Lehigh, made weight, wrestled and returned to Ithaca. Considering the travel situation, I was pleasantly surprised that the team still wrestled well against Lehigh. I had been warned by more than a few Cornell wrestling fans, but primarily Buzz Bishop, that I might as well stay in Lehigh if we lost. I think he was kidding but there is almost always truth to humor!

Here is a quick rundown of recent activities.

Southern Scuffle (SS)/Lehigh/Princeton observations: 

125 Nahshon Garrett lost one close match at the SS to the eventual champion but scored major decisions and tech falls against every other opponent.  At Lehigh he got off to a slow start but kept the pressure on, ultimately racking up a technical fall. In the Princeton match, Nahshon was determined to register his first career fall. He is great at scoring points but terrible at pinning his opponents (25-3 no falls). With the Pin Pool currently at $1,268 per pin he knew he had to work on this weakness. Unfortunately he still has work to do. He looked good winning 10-0, but that will not keep the lights on! Nahshon grows a little more dominant and gains a little more confidence every day. He has the physical, technical and mental skills to win the NCAA title this year.

133 Bricker Dixon did not perform will at the SS. He lost two matches because he could not get off the bottom. He has been working on this weakness ever since the Las Vegas Invite but we have yet to see significant results. This is even more frustrating because he is so strong everywhere else. Against Lehigh, Bricker defeated #13 Cruz 2-1. Bricker dominated the first two periods. He took Cruz down and rode him and then rode him out the entire second period. In the third period Bricker’s bottom struggles continued as he was ridden for the entire period. Bricker looked great against Princeton on his feet but most importantly he quickly escaped from the bottom! We expected Bricker to contend for the 125-pound weight class this year but since Nick Arujau has struggled with his weight we have relied on Bricker to carry the load. He is finally lifting into the weight class and could contend for the Eastern title if he continues to improve on his bottom work.

Nick Arujau has finally gotten his weight back down, but he will have to prove himself in open tournaments before I give him an opportunity to regain the starting role.

141 Mike Nevinger has completely regained his swagger. He won the SS championship by defeating a returning All-American, and the country’s #4 ranked wrestler. Mike is finally scoring from the neutral position again after suffering through a painfully long scoring drought. That is not to say that Mike was not winning, just that he was relying too much on his top work to win matches.  Against Lehigh and Princeton, Mike dominated both matches, but since he failed to register any falls he is in our doghouse.

149 Chris Villalonga had to forfeit to 5th place after getting knocked out in the consolation wrestlebacks. The good news is Chris is doing well and has been cleared to wrestle.

149 Ryan Dunphy went 3-2 at the SS but failed to place. He lost an OT heartbreaker at Lehigh but then came back and avenged an early season loss by defeating the Princeton wrestler 5-3. Ryan is very tough and talented. He needs to make a better effort of riding his opponent. He will score three takedowns, quickly get away from his opponent when he has to go down, and still not even be close to securing riding time! That one point has cost him two to three matches this year.

157 Chris Dowdy is going to be very good but he needs to get a great deal stronger, and he needs to diversify his attacks. He has an explosive double leg that worked well in high school and currently works against weaker college opponents. Unfortunately once his momentum is stopped he doesn’t have the strength to finish his move. He is only 18 years old so I don’t expect that this problem will be a problem for long.

165 Kyle Dake defeated last year’s Hodge Award winner David Taylor to become only the second person to ever win four SS titles. Against Lehigh we bumped him up to wrestle #11 Nathaniel Brown. Kyle dominated the match, winning by six. Against Princeton Kyle finally helped us pay some bills by registering a quick first period fall.

174 Marshall Peppelman won four matches and placed 8th at the SS. He did not wrestle against Lehigh because Kyle moved up but he did win against Princeton. In the Princeton match Marshall put himself to his own back and had to come back from a five-point deficit. Marshall fought back and registered a 10-5 victory.

We need to figure out who will be our starter at this weight. Both Duke Pickett and Marshall have had respectable seasons thus far. We will wrestle these two off this week.

184 Steve Bosak defeated one returning All-American before falling in the finals to returning NCAA champion Ed Ruth at the SS. At Lehigh, Steve dropped a tough OT match to 2x All-American Rob Hamlin. Steve had 57 seconds of riding time but was unable to secure the last three seconds, sending the match into OT. To Steve’s defense he has only been back in the room for just over a month so I expect to see significant improvements in him up until the NCAA tournament.

197 Jace Bennett won five matches at the SS to place 7th.  In the Lehigh match he wrestled with absolutely no urgency and was rewarded by being ridden out for a one-point loss. For the most part I felt the team wrestled well against Lehigh with the exception of Jace. His opponent stopped Jace’s double leg and Jace made no adjustments. If Jace didn’t have such exceptional talent this would not bother me so much. He needs to stop trying to “win easy” and mix it up more. As irritated as I was at him over his Lehigh performance he did help himself out by pinning his Princeton foe.

285 Neither Stryker Lane nor Jacob Aiken-Phillips placed at the SS. I sent Stryker out against Lehigh and he registered a workmanlike 3-1 decision. Jacob got the nod against Princeton and he came through with a second period fall.

All the best, Rob