Kyle Dake's Journey to History: A Year-By-Year Look at His Championship Career



During the early stages of his first season as an assistant at Cornell, Jeremy Spates expected to handle the rookies in the room with ease.  But one first-year wrestler refused to comply.  Spates knew immediately that Kyle Dake was something special.

“Normally I would dominate freshmen, especially 141-pound freshmen,” he said. “But Kyle was different from the beginning.  He was already good in every position. If you had asked me then if he would be a four-time national champ, I probably would have said no because it had only been done twice.  But I knew immediately that he would be very, very good.”

With some perspective from Spates, we took a look back at the “very, very good” four-year journey the Lansing native took to his unprecedented four NCAA championships at four different weights.

2010, The Rookie:  Yes, he was a true freshman, but Kyle Dake expected to do damage at his first NCAA tournament.  The seeding committee did as well, as he earned the #1 spot in the bracket after numerous impressive victories in his first year, including over two of the wrestlers placed close behind him: Minnesota’s Mike Thorn (#2) and Ohio State’s returning NCAA finalist Reece Humphrey (#4).

Dake as a freshman, by Lindsey Mechalik

Still, there were plenty of doubters.  None of the six expert previews we tracked down on Intermat picked Dake to win the 141-pound crown.  Only one writer – Josh Lowe – thought he’d even make the title bout.  Another called it a “deep weight class with few real standouts.”

The prevailing opinion seemed to be that Humphrey’s big match experience the previous year would allow him to win the grudge match with Dake (the Buckeye topped Dake in December in sudden victory before the Big Red grappler returned the favor at the National Duals). Others wondered if the freshman would let the enormity of the situation get to him. “Dake might not be ready for the stress,” one of the previewers opined.

On top of that, there was the question of health.  Dake appeared to sustain a reasonably serious injury in the EIWA tournament finals.   While the coaching staff said it wasn’t significant enough to impact him, another fluke accident would have an effect. During the warmups in Omaha, Dake suffered another setback.

“I was doing a little live wrestling with him the day before the tournament started,” Spates said.  “He rolled his ankle pretty badly and he screamed out.  I was thinking, what did I do?  Being the day before, it was worrisome.  I was just hoping we could get him in there ready to go.  I guess the good thing is that he had rolled it earlier in the year, so he was used to wrestling on the injury.”

A little adversity?  The expectations of being on the top line of the bracket? Freshman jitters? A weight cut that had become increasingly difficult as he grew during the season? According to Spates, Dake still believed that he would win.

In the semifinals, Dake and Humphrey faced off as expected, and many viewers were introduced to Dake’s magic for the first time. Humphrey threw the freshman to his back, but he somehow responded before near fall could be awarded.  The bout went to overtime and in the tiebreakers, Dake prevailed 3-2 to move on to the finals.

“I still have no idea how Kyle bridged off his back against Humphrey,” Spates said. “He got body locked and in that situation most guys get pinned.  It was unbelievable that he didn’t get pinned and even more unbelievable that he didn’t even give up backs.”

It was on to the title bout where the opponent was Iowa’s Montell Marion.

Once again, spectators were treated to a seemingly impossible getaway.  In the first period, it looked like Marion had executed a big move, but Dake not only avoided giving up any points, he instead grabbed a 2-0 lead for himself.  He never looked back, demonstrating the top skills he is now well known for in a 7-3 victory that made him the first Big Red rookie to win a national championship.

“That was just crazy,” Spates said. “Marion locked up the throw and in the corner, Rob [Koll] and I are just like, oh no, oh no, oh no.  And then instead of the takedown and three back points for Marion, Kyle winds up with the takedown.  It was a huge swing in the match and something I’ll always remember.  We had high expectations for him, but it’s tough to win it as a true freshman.  I don’t blame people for doubting it would happen.  People just didn’t know that while most guys would get afraid in that situation, Kyle just got excited.  He loves to be in the spotlight.”

2011, “The Underdog”:  In the summer of 2010, I remember talking to the Cornell coaches about Dake’s move up to 149 pounds.  They laughed as they mentioned people talking about how difficult the higher weight would be for him and how he might struggle there.

Dake vs. Molinaro

With entrance into a new class comes a different set of challengers to overcome.  At 149, there was a rather significant one – former NCAA champion Darion Caldwell of North Carolina State.  The Wolfpack wrestler had put together one of the more surprising and dominant performances in beating Iowa’s Brent Metcalf for the national title in 2009 and although he was coming off an injury, he was a certain title contender.

“Kyle was really excited for the opportunity to wrestle Caldwell,” Spates said. “He wanted to be the one to knock him down.  I would have loved to watch that match. There would have been fireworks for sure.”

A potential clash between Dake and Caldwell didn’t come to pass at the Southern Scuffle when Caldwell pulled out of the event shortly before it began, but the Lansing native did have a tough match for the crown in Greensboro anyway.

Dake edged Penn State’s Frank Molinaro, at the time a two-time All-American, on the strength of an escape.  The critics complained that he stalled through the win and calls that Molinaro would win a rematch were heard in the wrestling world.

“Kyle had been injured and hadn’t wrestled in a while before the Scuffle,” Spates said. “He came back pretty big and had to cut a lot of weight.  His lungs weren’t quite there yet either.  He was hurting in that match; had a tough time even finishing.  But the bottom line is, he still found a way to win.  He knew things would be different if they met again.”

After the tough victory over the Nittany Lion, Dake did suffer a pair of losses – the last two of his career.  In a January dual meet against Binghamton, he dropped a 5-3 decision to Donnie Vinson, a wrestler he grew up wrestling in Section 4.  And in the EIWA title bout, he fell in overtime to Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley.

Spates said an insight from then-volunteer assistant Matt Azevedo (now the head coach at Drexel) might have saved the season.

“Matt was the first one on the staff to see how much trouble Kyle was having with weight because he was growing again,” Spates said.  “As the season went on, he was having more and more trouble.  A little before Easterns, Kyle changed his diet and workouts. We took him off some lifting and upped his cardio – really changed his wrestling plan.  I really believe, had that not happened, Kyle would have had difficulty winning it that year.  I give Matt a lot of credit.”

When the NCAA brackets were released, Dake found himself as the #4 seed, with Caldwell, Molinaro and LeValley in front of him.  He was now the underdog, a role he wasn’t accustomed to, but one he relished.

“He lost some matches, but the #4 seed was surprising,” Spates said. “The crazy thing was that he was fourth while Molinaro was second. We thought he’d still be ahead of Molinaro.  But it set up a potential semifinal date with Caldwell and gave Kyle even more fire.”

Dake never faced Caldwell, as the ACC wrestler injury defaulted out of the event prior to the potential showdown.  Meanwhile, Dake cruised through his contests, outscoring his first four opponents 24-0 on his way to a Saturday night meeting with Molinaro.

Dake had heard all the talk about how he was “lucky” to win the first time and he didn’t waste time getting on the board, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead.

And from then on, it was a magnificent display of mat wrestling – over six minutes of riding time, near fall and a reversal on the way to an 8-1 triumph.  He might not have begun the year as everyone’s projected champion, but he earned his way to the top again.

“I think a lot of people expected a Molinaro win after their first match,” Spates said. “Kyle was a lot healthier and back in shape and he showed people what he could do.  He came out and dominated, one of the more dominant NCAA finals matches I remember.”

2012, The Favorite: In 2011-12, Dake again took a step up in weight.  This time, there were fewer voices saying he would have trouble with the adjustment.  With the top three NCAA finishers no longer in the class (Bubba Jenkins and Steve Fittery graduated while David Taylor went to 165), Dake was the clear choice as #1.

“Kyle may have been more of a favorite as a junior than in the years before, but I think in his mind, he was going to win it every year,” Spates said.  “I don’t think it was a very different mindset for him.  Not too much had changed.”

Dake, 2012 EIWAs, Photo by BV

He wrestled like the nation’s #1 all year long, with few close calls along the way.  He gave up just one takedown, registered 21 bonus victories and had just four matches within three points.  When it came time for the NCAA tournament, he returned to the top spot in the bracket.

And he turned it up a notch, besting his first three foes by fall in St. Louis.

“Kyle didn’t have a ton of pins that year, but every year he upped his game at Nationals,” Spates said. “As a junior, he really stepped it up.  I remember people saying John Nicholson from Old Dominion, his first round opponent, might upset him because he pushes the pace and wrestles hard and Kyle would be coming right in off weigh ins.  Then Kyle went out and pinned him in less than two minutes. People were like, wow.  I still don’t think everyone realized what a monster he was.”

He was never threatened in his semifinal and title matches, which were won 4-0 (over American’s Ganbayar Sanjaa) and 4-1 (against Iowa’s Derek St. John).

“In the finals, he did what he wanted to do – get the early takedown and the ride,” Spates said. “Once Kyle’s up two or three points, it’s game over. No one can score that many points on him.  He didn’t realize how tough St. John would be on bottom; he thought he’d turn him pretty easily.”

Although Dake had become the first wrestler in NCAA history to win three titles in three different classes, he heard a chorus of boos from some Iowa fans.  Of course, the remainder of the arena responded with loud applause to commemorate the achievement.

“I’ve been to Nationals since 1992 and I’ve never seen something like that,” Spates said. “The Iowa crowd booing and then the whole rest of the crowd standing up to cheer.  It was pretty special, actually.  It was like the rest of the wrestling nation took care of it and said – he just made history, what are you doing?  Kyle was exhausted at the end of that match, but those boos reenergized him.”

Still, he planned to take some time away from the sport before beginning preparations for his final season in a Big Red singlet.

“He told me he’d be off for at least a week,” Spates said. “Then on Wednesday, he was already on the mat.  I asked him what he was doing and he said he was bored and needed to get back to wrestling.”

2013, “The Match of the Century” Showdown:  Four titles in four years at four weights is a monumental achievement. But the truth is, neither Dake nor his coaches were sure he would take the step to 165 until late in the fall.  In fact, in the summer, the staff indicated he would return to 157, which was a reasonable cut for him.

“The decision came about when the people from the All-Star Dual called and asked him to wrestle David Taylor at 165,” Spates said. “I remember calling him on a Sunday in October and asking him about it, saying they wanted him in the All-Star, whether it was at 157 or against Taylor at 165.  He said he had been thinking about some things and wanted to talk about them, but needed a few more days.  I said we should just talk now.  He said he thought he wanted to go up to 165 – but only if it was best for the team. He said he wanted to spend a season concentrating on getting better and being able to wrestle as hard as he could for the entire seven minutes. He felt like he spent his other seasons focusing a lot on weight rather than improving as much as he could.”

And there were some other factors that played a role as well.

“I think the four titles in four different weights was somewhere in the back of his mind all along,” Spates continued. “The chance to wrestle Taylor, the conversation with Jordan Burroughs.  It all factored in.  He would have made weight at 157, but he would have spent a lot more time thinking about cutting.  He didn’t want that – he wanted to be dominant in his last season.”

So, 165 it was.  And when Dake and Taylor agreed to square off at the NWCA All-Star Classic to kick off the season in November, it looked like it would be the first of three meetings between the superpowers.   That turned out to the case.

Round 1, November 2012, Washington D.C.:  Dake 2, Taylor 1, TB

Taylor moved forward, but took few shots in this match.  The only time the Penn State wrestler came close to scoring was off a Dake shot.  However, in that scenario Dake used the scrambling ability fans saw so many times before to avoid what seemed like sure points for Taylor. In the end, it came down to the tiebreakers and Dake won that battle, getting the escape during his turn on bottom and riding Taylor out for 30 seconds when the roles were reversed.

Round 2, January 2013, Chattanooga, TN: Dake 3, Taylor 2

After hearing that he didn’t take the initiative on his feet in the initial meeting, Dake came out firing in the Southern Scuffle finals, nearly taking Taylor down off the opening whistle.  However, Taylor showed some strong defense of his own and there were few other scoring chances for either wrestler in neutral.  Most of the action came on the mat, where Taylor reversed Dake and then the Big Red grappler returned the favor, for the winning points.  The bout had plenty of controversy as some believed Dake hadn’t secured the reversal or that Taylor had escaped at the end.  The intrigue and the debates set up what would be an epic third battle – this time for the NCAA championship.

ESPN and the NCAA were counting on another meeting.  For the first time, the finals schedule was changed so that 165 pounds would be the last bout of the evening.  The wrestlers both complied, breezing through their first four tilts in Des Moines.  Taylor took all four by fall while Dake outpointed his foes 28-0.  And so on Saturday night, they would tangle again.

Dake had a prediction that he shared with his coach.

“After his semifinal match, Kyle told me it was going to be just like his sophomore year with Molinaro,” Spates said. “He said – close match at the Scuffle, domination in the finals.”

What was he going to do to accomplish that?

“It’s funny because Kyle’s mom asked me what the gameplan was,” Spates said.  “I told her there wasn’t a real gameplan because he adapts so well out there.  But we had been working on ‘Taylor things’ all year, starting before the All-Star.  At times, Kyle was annoyed at me because he thought we were training too much for David Taylor. But the fact is, we were doing things to beat the best guys anywhere.  We definitely made some adjustments after the Scuffle match that were important for the finals.”

Spates had a good feeling before the match started.

“Kyle slaps my hand before every match,” Spates said. “My college teammate Mark Bader [now at Flowrestling] did the same thing.  With Bader, I would give a little bit so it hurt less, but with Kyle, I just take it. When he slapped me before the finals match, it hurt really, really badly. I told Rob [Koll], ‘That one was big, we’re in good shape. This is going to be a great match.’”

Round 3, March 2013, Des Moines, IA: Dake 5, Taylor 4

1st Period: When Dake fell behind less than 20 seconds in on a beautiful ankle pick by Taylor, he didn’t panic.  He demonstrated his strength and athleticism while getting the escape, which was very close to being a reversal.  He then calmly picked up two more with a takedown of his own with around 30 seconds remaining in the first. 3-2 Dake.

“I thought it was a good gameplan for them early,” Spates said. “In the previous matches, Taylor allowed Kyle to control the action with the ties. Getting that quick takedown really got Taylor fired up.  But that might have backfired because when Kyle turned the tide, Taylor went from being in a great position to losing and getting ridden out.  That changed the tone completely.  It was huge.”

2nd Period: Taylor had been effective riding Dake, especially in their Scuffle bout.  But there was no hesitation for the Big Red senior in choosing down and little delay in getting out.  About 15 seconds into the middle stanza, Dake was up 4-2. That’s how the second would end.

“Kyle’s rarely been ridden in his career,” Spates said. “In the finals at Vegas this year, [North Dakota State’s Steven] Monk rode him for almost a whole period. Taylor used the same ride at the Scuffle. Riding hips, staying behind, trying to bump forward, not really trying to turn. We worked on countering that.”

3rd Period: Just two minutes left in Dake’s career.  4-2 advantage. Taylor took bottom.  Dake remembered Taylor’s reversal back in January.  This time, he broke his opponent’s spirit with a ride that lasted until just around 20 ticks remained on the clock.  Even a questionable stall warning on the Cornellian and a later point awarded to Taylor couldn’t change the outcome.

Photo by BV

“Taylor reversed him at the Scuffle,” Spates said. “He tried to roll through again but Kyle changed up his ride and made sure not to put himself in the same kind of danger.  We worked on forward pressure and switching up the ride a little bit.  He did it perfectly.”

Perfect execution led to a perfect four-for-four at the NCAA tournament.  It’s something that Dake had mentioned, all the way back in 2009.

Prior to the start of his freshman season, Dake told Mark Palmer of Intermat, “Right now, my goal would be to never lose a match, and win four NCAA titles. Is that doable? Given my coaches, with hard work and lots of luck, anything is possible.”

Perhaps anything is possible.  And now four years later, he’s a four-time champion at four different weights.  It had never been done before.  It may not be done again.  Each season presented different challenges and different viewpoints.  Through being the rookie, the “underdog”, the favorite and the member of an epic showdown, one thing stayed constant – Kyle Dake stood atop the podium as a true champion.



Prediction Prowess: Who Correctly Chose All 10 Champs and Won Our NCAA Contest?

Congratulations to the winners of our NCAA Pick Your Champions contest – PJ Gillespie and Greg Fiorvanti.

They not only picked all 10 champions, they also got the first two tiebreaker questions correct (Penn State as team champions and Kyle Dake as Outstanding Wrestler). Both will receive iTunes cards.

A few quick facts on the contest:

— 93% of respondents picked Jordan Oliver as the 149-pound champion, with 85% choosing Ed Ruth at 184.

— Kyle Dake and Logan Stieber also got around 80% of the votes at 165 and 133, respectively

— Quentin Wright was the champion who got the fewest votes. Just over 30% of entrants thought he would win at 197 pounds. Jesse Delgado got the next fewest with around 43% at 125 pounds.

Thanks to all of those who participated!

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



Reviewing NCAA Session 2: Cornell's Dake, Bosak and Garrett Join Columbia's Santos in the Quarterfinals

Four New York wrestlers earned bids to the quarterfinals with victories in Session 2 on Thursday night.  The Cornell trio of Nahshon Garrett (125), Kyle Dake (165) and Steve Bosak (184) all advanced, as did Columbia’s Steve Santos (149).  Dake and Bosak controlled their matches all the way, while Garrett and Santos came back from early deficits to get their hands raised.  For more on how Session 2 went for all six of the Empire State’s Division 1 squads as well as additional New York natives, see below.


The Black Knights wrestled a number of close matches, but won’t have grapplers in the competition on Day 2.

149-pounder Daniel Young had a brutal draw, leading returning NCAA finalist Dylan Ness in the third period of his opener before the Minnesota wrestler notched a late takedown and then losing to nationally-ranked Andrew Alton. Connor Hanafee (141), Paul Hancock (165) and Bryce Barnes (197) also completed their seasons on Thursday.


Donnie Vinson rebounded from a loss earlier in the day by easily handling Clarion’s Tyler Bedelyon in his first wrestleback contest.  He will be one of three Bearcats on the mat on Friday.  Derek Steeley and Nate Schiedel will also compete in the consolations after Round of 16 setbacks.

Upcoming Matches:

133: Derek Steeley vs. Geoff Alexander (Maryland)

149: Donnie Vinson vs. Dan Osterman (Michigan St)

197: Nate Schiedel vs. Nik Brown (UTC)


After a gutsy 5-4 victory over #12 Mathew Miller in Round 1, John-Martin Cannon, dropped an 8-3 decision to returning All-American Josh Asper of Maryland.  The senior will square off with Cal State Bakersfield’s Bryce Hammond in Friday’s first session.

Upcoming Matches:

174: John-Martin Cannon vs. Bryce Hammond (Bakersfield)


Garrett, Photo by BV

The first two Big Red grapplers to take the mat on Thursday evening got the team off to a good start.  Jace Bennett responded to an early morning loss to Mario Gonzalez of Illinois by pinning Ohio State’s Andrew Campolattano at 197.  Shortly afterwards, Nahshon Garrett overcame a late 3-2 deficit with a tilt and back points in the third to defeat Stanford’s Evan Silver, 5-3.  With the victory, Garrett moves on to the quarterfinals against Iowa’s Matt McDonough.  Also continuing on to the Round of 8 are top seeded Kyle Dake at 165, who dominated from start to finish against fellow New York native Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) and 184-pounder Steve Bosak, who blanked Navy’s Mason Bailey, 2-0.

Returning All-American Mike Nevinger beat Lehigh’s Anthony Salupo at 141 to move forward, however, teammates Chris Villalonga (149), Jace Bennett (197) and Stryker Lane (285) were eliminated on Thursday night.

Upcoming Matches:

125: Nahshon Garrett vs. Matt McDonough (Iowa)

165: Kyle Dake vs. Nick Sulzer (Virginia)

184: Steve Bosak vs. Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa)

141: Mike Nevinger vs. Chris Mecate (ODU)


Fifth-seeded Steve Santos faced #12 Eric Grajales of Michigan in the Round of 16 and the Wolverine scored first, taking an early 2-0 lead.  However, Santos responded with a pair of escapes and then notched a takedown with just a few seconds left in the second period to go ahead 4-2.  As he has most of the season, Santos owned the final stanza, riding his opponent for the bulk of the period before adding insurance points after an escape for a 6-3 win.

EIWA finalist Matt Bystol came out on top against Davidson’s Anthony Elias in the consolations, while 174-pounder Stephen West won a 4-2 decision over Cody Weishoff of Oregon State to move on to Friday action.

Upcoming Matches:

133: Matt Bystol vs. Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan)

149: Steve Santos vs. Cole Von Ohlen (Air Force)

174: Stephen West vs. Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt)


In the Round of 16, Steve Bonanno took an early lead against the #7 seed, Nathan Kraisser of North Carolina, however the Tar Heel responded to collect a 5-3 triumph.  At 141, Luke Vaith dropped his bout against fourth-seeded Mitchell Port of Edinboro.  Bonanno and Vaith will be joined on the mat on Friday by 133-pounder Jamie Franco, who came back from a deficit to capture a 6-4 triumph in sudden victory.

Upcoming Matches

125: Steve Bonanno vs. Tyler Iwamura (Bakersfield)

133: Jamie Franco vs. Joey Ward (UNC)

141: Luke Vaith vs. Nick Hucke (Missouri)

Additional New York wrestlers remaining in the field for Day 2 are Billy Watterson of Brown at 125, Josh Veltre (165) and Nick Wilcox of Bloomsburg (133), Steven Keith of Harvard at 141, Ryan LeBlanc of Indiana at 165 and Christian Boley of Maryland at 197.

Upcoming Matches:

125: Billy Watterson (Brown) vs. David Thorn (Minnesota)

133: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) vs. Shelton Mack (Pitt)

141: Steven Keith (Harvard) vs. Bryan Pearsall (Penn State)

165: Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg) vs. Nate Moore (Iowa)

165: Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) vs. John Staudenmeyer (UNC)

197: Christian Boley (Maryland) vs. Jake Meredith (Arizona St)


Session I NCAA Recap: Cornell Sends Three, Binghamton and Hofstra Both Advance Two to the Round of 16

After Session I of the 2013 NCAA Championships in Des Moines,  a number of New York wrestlers remain in the championship bracket.  A few will meet in the Round of 16, with Cornell’s top-seeded Kyle Dake taking on Indiana’s Ryan LeBlanc, a former Section 3 star, at 165 pounds.

Hofstra’s Steve Bonanno defeated Air Force’s #10 seed Josh Martinez in one of the “upsets” in favor of New York wrestlers.  On the other end of upsets were a pair of 2012 All-Americans, who both fell in overtime.  Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson, the number three seed at 149, dropped a bout to American’s Kevin Tao while Cornell’s Mike Nevinger was upended by Virginia Tech’s Zach Niebert.

Here is a team-by-team Session I recap for each of the six New York colleges as well as for former New York high schoolers.


Daniel Young gave returning NCAA finalist Dylan Ness a major scare in Round 1, taking the lead with a reversal early in the third and going over a minute of riding time.  However, the Golden Gopher responded with a late takedown and erased the RT advantage, taking a 4-2 victory.  Paul Hancock, Connor Hanafee and Bryce Barnes will also get to work in the consolation brackets.  Barnes notched a takedown against Bloomsburg’s Richard Perry as time expired in the third period to tie the bout at 5, however, Perry picked up two of his own in the sudden victory session to get the win.

Army’s next matches


141: Connor Hanafee vs. Nathan Pennesi (West Virginia)

149: Daniel Young vs. Andrew Alton (Penn State)

165: Paul Hancock vs. Tyler Wilps (Pitt)

197: Bryce Barnes vs. Derrick Borlie (Virginia Tech)



We all know Donnie Vinson can wrestle back really well after he captured seven straight victories at the NCAAs in 2012 to take the bronze.  He’ll have to do the same again this time, as he lost a match in the tiebreaker to American’s Kevin Tao after handling Ohio State’s Ian Paddock in the pigtail round.  Joining him in the consolations will be 184-pounder Cody Reed, who lost by decision to sixth-seeded Ryan Loder of Northern Iowa.

Victorious in their first bouts were 133-pounder Derek Steeley who prevailed over Fox Lane High’s Sam Speno of North Carolina State and 197-pounder Nate Schiedel, who dominated Conner Hartmann of Duke in a 10-1 major.

Binghamton’s next matches

Championship Bracket:

133: Derek Steeley vs. (4) AJ Schopp (Edinboro)

197: (7) Nate Schiedel vs. (10) Scott Schiller, Minnesota


149: (3) Donnie Vinson vs. Tyler Bedelyon (Clarion)

184: Cody Reed vs. Ophir Bernstein (Brown)



Cannon, Photo by BV

John-Martin Cannon won a hard-fought 5-4 clash with 12th seeded Mathew Miller of Navy, with riding time the difference.  His teammates similarly faced tough draws, with Blake Roulo and Mark Lewandowski dropping their initial bouts to the seventh and third seeds, respectively (Scott Sakaguchi of Oregon State and Peter Yates of Virginia Tech).  Max Soria was upended in the pigtail round by Penn’s Mark Rappo.

Buffalo’s next matches

Championship Bracket:

174: John-Martin Cannon vs. (5) Josh Asper, Maryland


125: Max Soria vs. Eddie Klimara (Oklahoma State)

149: Blake Roulo vs. Josh Roosa (Bloomsburg)

165: Mark Lewandowski vs. Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan)/Austin Wilson (Nebraska)



Steve Santos, a Round of 12 finisher a year ago, began with a fall in his opening match against UTC’s Alex Hudson.  It was a tough battle, with Santos falling behind early before taking control in the third period.  Jake O’Hara dropped his pigtail bout to Penn State’s Dylan Alton while Matt Bystol and Josh Houldsworth lost to seeded wrestlers Cody Brewer and Cody Yohn, respectively.  Jon Fausey of Virginia picked up a 3-0 victory over Stephen West of the Lions at 174.

Columbia’s next matches

Championship Bracket:

149: Steve Santos vs. (12) Eric Grajales (Michigan)


133: Matt Bystol vs. Anthony Elias (Davidson)

157: Jake O’Hara vs. Ryan Watts (Michigan St)

165: Josh Houldsworth vs. Ramon Santiago (Rider)

174: Stephen West vs. Cody Weishoff (Oregon State)



Defending national champions Kyle Dake (165) and Steve Bosak (184) began the day with shutouts, with Dake topping Ohio State’s Mark Martin 3-0 and Bosak breezing past Ty Vinson of Oregon State 12-0.  Nahshon Garrett was also dominant, with a 10-1 major decision over Campbell’s Eric Montoya in his first-ever NCAA action.  The Big Red’s other seeded wrestler, Mike Nevinger, battled Virginia Tech’s Zach Niebert in a low scoring affair won by the Hokie 3-1 on a reversal in the overtime.  He’ll look to go on a winning streak in the wrestlebacks as he did in 2012, as will 149-pounder Chris Villalonga, 197-pounder Jace Bennett and heavyweight Stryker Lane.

Cornell’s next matches

Championship Bracket:

125: Nahshon Garrett vs. Evan Silver (Stanford)

165: Kyle Dake vs. Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana)

184: Steve Bosak vs. Mason Bailey (Navy)


141: (11) Mike Nevinger vs. Anthony Salupo (Lehigh)

149: Chris Villalonga vs. Ian Paddock (Ohio State)/David Habat (Edinboro)

197: Jace Bennett vs. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State)

285: Stryker Lane vs. Blake Herrin (American)



Bonanno, Photo by BV

Returning All-American Steve Bonanno got off to another good start at the NCAA tournament, decisively defeating #10 seed Josh Martinez of Air Force in Round 1.  The Pride wrestler trailed early but kept the pace high and moved ahead 8-2 after the second stanza with some late back points.  He finished with a 9-2 decision.  Joining Bonanno as a first round winner was 141-pounder Luke Vaith, who topped West Virginia’s Nathan Pennesi.  Jamie Franco was edged 3-2 at 133 pounds by Pittsburgh’s Shelton Mack.

Hofstra’s next matches

Championship Bracket:

125: Steve Bonanno vs. (7) Nathan Kraisser (North Carolina)

141: Luke Vaith vs. (4) Mitchell Port (Edinboro)


133: Jamie Franco vs. Brandon Gambucci (Duke)/Devon Lotito (Cal Poly)


Additional NY High School Wrestlers

Winning their first round bouts were: Billy Watterson (John Jay HS, Brown), Steven Keith (Shoreham Wading River HS, Harvard), Josh Veltre (Greece Olympia HS, Bloomsburg) and Ryan LeBlanc (Morrisville Eaton, Indiana).

Next Matches, Championship Round

125: Billy Watterson (Brown) vs. (2) Jesse Delgado (Illinois)

141: Steven Keith (Harvard) vs. Hunter Stieber (Ohio State)

165: (9) Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg) vs. (8) Nick Sulzer (Virginia)

165: Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) vs. (1) Kyle Dake, (Cornell)


133: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) vs. Daryl Thomas (Illinois)

133: Sam Speno (North Carolina State) vs. Rossi Bruno (Michigan)

133: Jimmy Morris (Rider) vs. Mackenzie McGuire (Kent State)

149: Ian Paddock (Ohio State) vs. David Habat (Edinboro)

165: John Greisheimer (Edinboro) vs. Pierce Harger (Northwestern)

197: Christian Boley (Maryland) vs. Conner Hartmann (Duke)

285: Steven Graziano (Penn) vs. Evan Knutson (North Dakota St)


NCAA Matchups for NY Wrestlers: Check for Updates Throughout the Tournament


Refresh to see the latest results.


Session 5 (Saturday Morning)

Medal Rounds

125 Third Place: Nahshon Garrett dec Alan Waters (Missouri), 6-1

141 Fifth Place: Mike Nevinger dec Evan Henderson (UNC), 9-2

149 Third Place: Steve Santos dec Dylan Ness (Minnesota), 7-3

184 Third Place: Steve Bosak vs. Ben Bennett (Central Michigan)

Consolation Semifinals

125: Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) dec Jarrod Garnett (Virginia Tech), 13-9

141: Hunter Stieber (Ohio St) maj Mike Nevinger (Cornell), 9-0

149: Steve Santos (Columbia) dec Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon St), 4-2

184: Steve Bosak (Cornell) dec Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland), 3-0


Session 4 (Friday Evening)


125:  Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), 10-5

149: Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) major Steve Santos (Columbia), 14-3

165: Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma St), 2-0

184:  Ed Ruth (Penn St) dec Steve Bosak (Cornell), 4-1


Consolations – Round 2

141: Mike Nevinger (Cornell) dec Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), 6-2


Consolations – Round 1

141: Mike Nevinger (Cornell) dec Mark Ballweg (Iowa), 12-8

149: Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State) dec Donnie Vinson (Binghamton), 2-1

197: Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma St) major Christian Boley (Maryland), 10-2


Session 3 (Friday Morning)

Consolations – Second Friday Round

125: David Thorn (Minnesota) dec Steve Bonanno (Hofstra), 3-0

133: Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan) fall Jamie Franco (Hofstra), 2:25

133: Levi Wolfensperger (Northern Iowa) fall Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg)

141: Mike Nevinger (Cornell) dec Nick Hucke (Missouri), 7-2

141: Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) dec Steven Keith (Harvard), 7-4

149: Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) major Eric Grajales (Michigan), 12-0

165: John Staudenmayer (UNC) dec Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg), 3-2 TB

174:  Cody Walters (Ohio) dec John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo), 3-1

197: Nathan Burak (Iowa) win by fall Nate Schiedel (Binghamton)

197: Christian Boley (Maryland) dec Phil Wellington (Ohio), 8-2


Quarterfinal Matches

125: Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) dec Matt McDonough (Iowa), 4-2 SV

149: Steve Santos (Columbia) dec Cole Von Ohlen (Air Force), 5-4

165: Kyle Dake (Cornell) major Nick Sulzer (Virginia), 13-0

184: Steve Bosak (Cornell) dec Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 4-1

Consolations – First Friday Round

125: Steve Bonanno (Hofstra) dec Tyler Iwamura (Bakersfield), 7-5

125: David Thorn (Minnesota) win by fall Billy Watterson (Brown)

133: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) vs. Shelton Mack (Pitt), 6-1 TB

133: Jamie Franco dec Joey Ward (UNC), 3-1 TB

133:  Geoff Alexander (Maryland) maj Derek Steeley (Binghamton), 13-5

133: Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan) major Matt Bystol (Columbia), 11-1

141: Mike Nevinger (Cornell) win by fall Chris Mecate (ODU)

141: Nick Hucke (Missouri) dec Luke Vaith (Hofstra), 6-2

141: Steven Keith (Harvard) dec Bryan Pearsall (Penn State), 8-3

149: Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) dec Dan Osterman (Michigan St), 7-2

165: Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg) dec Nate Moore (Iowa), 8-5

165: John Staudenmeyer (UNC) dec Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana), 4-2 SV

174: John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo) dec Bryce Hammond (Bakersfield), 3-2 TB

174: Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec Stephen West (Columbia), 2-1

197: Nate Schiedel (Binghamton) win by fall Nik Brown (UTC), 6:12

197: Christian Boley (Maryland) dec Jake Meredith (Arizona St), 6-3


Session 2 (Thursday Night)

Round of 16 Matches
125: (7) Nathan Kraisser (North Carolina) dec Steve Bonanno (Hofstra), 5-3
125: (6) Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) dec Evan Silver (Stanford), 5-3
125: (2) Jesse Delgado (Illinois) tech fall Billy Watterson (Brown), 20-5
133: (4) AJ Schopp (Edinboro) tech fall Derek Steeley (Binghamton), 18-1
141: (4) Mitchell Port (Edinboro) major Luke Vaith (Hofstra), 13-2
141: (1) Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) dec Steven Keith (Harvard), 7-3
149: (5) Steve Santos (Columbia) dec (12) Eric Grajales (Michigan), 6-3
165: (1) Kyle Dake (Cornell) major Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana), 10-0
165: (8) Nick Sulzer (Virginia) dec (9) Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg), 3-1 TB
174: (5) Josh Asper (Maryland) dec John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo), 8-3
184: (4) Steve Bosak (Cornell) dec Mason Bailey (Navy), 2-0
197: (10) Scott Schiller, Minnesota dec (7) Nate Schiedel (Binghamton), 9-5

125: Eddie Klimara (Oklahoma State) maj Max Soria (Buffalo), 9-1
133: Jamie Franco (Hofstra) dec Brandon Gambucci (Duke), 6-4
133: Matt Bystol (Columbia) dec Anthony Elias (Davidson), 3-1
133: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) major Daryl Thomas (Illinois), 8-0
133: Rossi Bruno (Michigan) dec Sam Speno (North Carolina State), 10-4
133: Mackenzie McGuire (Kent State) dec Jimmy Morris (Rider), 8-5
141: Nathan Pennesi (West Virginia) dec Connor Hanafee (Army), 5-3
141: (11) Mike Nevinger (Cornell) dec Anthony Salupo (Lehigh), 6-3
149: Josh Roosa (Bloomsburg) dec Blake Roulo (Buffalo), 4-1
149: (3) Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) major Tyler Bedelyon (Clarion), 13-1
149: Andrew Alton (Penn State) win by fall Daniel Young (Army)
149: David Habat (Edinboro) dec Ian Paddock (Ohio State), 13-6
149: David Habat (Edinboro) dec Chris Villalonga (Cornell), 3-1
157: Jake O’Hara (Columbia) dec Ryan Watts (Michigan St), 2-1; Walter Peppelman (Harvard) dec Jake O’Hara (Columbia), 3-1
165: Austin Wilson (Nebraska) win by fall Mark Lewandowski (Buffalo)
165: Tyler Wilps (Pitt) dec Paul Hancock (Army), 10-4
165: Ramon Santiago (Rider) major Josh Houldsworth (Columbia), 13-1
165: Pierce Harger (Northwestern) dec John Greisheimer (Edinboro), 6-5
174: Stephen West (Columbia) dec Cody Weishoff (Oregon State), 4-2
184: Ophir Bernstein (Brown) major Cody Reed (Binghamton), 13-3
197: Derrick Borlie (Virginia Tech) dec Bryce Barnes (Army), 8-6
197: Jace Bennett (Cornell) win by fall Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State); Nik Brown (UTC) dec Jace Bennett, 10-5
197: Christian Boley (Maryland) dec Conner Hartmann (Duke), 4-2
285: Blake Herrin (American) dec Stryker Lane (Cornell), 7-3
285: Evan Knutson (North Dakota St) dec Steven Graziano (Penn), 4-0


Pigtails/Round 1


141 Pounds: Joey Lazor (Northern Iowa) maj Connor Hanafee (Army), 12-2

149 Pounds: (6) Dylan Ness (Minnesota) dec Daniel Young (Army), 4-2

165 Pounds: (12) Taylor Massa (Michigan) dec Paul Hancock (Army), 11-7

197 Pounds: Richard Perry (Bloomsburg) dec Bryce Barnes (Army), 7-5 SV


133 Pounds: Derek Steeley dec Sam Speno (NC State), 11-6

149 Pounds: Donnie Vinson dec Ian Paddock (Ohio State), 9-5; Kevin Tao (American) dec Donnie Vinson (Binghamton), 3-1 TB

184 Pounds: (6) Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) dec Cody Reed (Binghamton), 4-0

197 Pounds: Nate Schiedel maj Conner Hartmann (Duke), 10-1


125 Pounds: Mark Rappo (Penn) maj Max Soria (Buffalo), 13-4

149 Pounds: (7) Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State) maj Blake Roulo (Buffalo), 13-5

165 Pounds: (3) Peter Yates (Virginia Tech) dec Mark Lewandowski (Buffalo), 5-3

174 Pounds: John-Martin Cannon dec (12) Mathew Miller (Navy), 5-4


133 Pounds: (6) Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) TF Matt Bystol (Columbia), 20-5

149 Pounds: (5) Steve Santos win by fall Alex Hudson (UTC)

157 Pounds: (8)Dylan Alton maj Jake O’Hara (Columbia), 10-2

165 Pounds: (11) Cody Yohn (Minnesota) dec Josh Houldsworth (Columbia), 7-1

174 Pounds: Jon Fausey (Virginia) dec Stephen West (Columbia), 3-0


125 Pounds: (6) Nahshon Garrett maj Eric Montoya (Campbell), 10-1

141 Pounds: Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) dec Mike Nevinger (Cornell), 3-1 TB

149 Pounds: Derek Valenti (Virginia) dec Chris Villalonga (Cornell), 8-4

165 Pounds: (1) Kyle Dake dec Mark Martin (Ohio State), 3-0

184 Pounds: (4) Steve Bosak maj Ty Vinson (Oregon State), 12-0

197 Pounds: Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) maj Jace Bennett (Cornell), 12-3

285 Pounds: (1) Dominique Bradley (Missouri) maj Stryker Lane (Cornell), 10-1


125 Pounds: Steve Bonanno dec (10) Josh Martinez, Air Force, 9-2

133 Pounds: Shelton Mack (Pittsburgh) dec Jamie Franco (Hofstra), 3-2

141 Pounds: Luke Vaith dec Nathan Pennesi (West Virginia), 8-3


Additional New York High School Wrestlers:

125 Pounds: Billy Watterson (Brown) dec Joe Duca (Indiana), 7-6

133 Pounds:  (2) Tony Ramos (Iowa) pin Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg)

133 Pounds: Derek Steeley (Binghamton) dec Sam Speno (NC State), 11-6

133 Pounds:(10) Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan) maj Jimmy Morris (Rider), 13-2

141 Pounds: Steven Keith (Harvard) win by fall Julian Feikert (Oklahoma State)

149 Pounds: Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) dec Ian Paddock (Ohio State), 9-5

165 Pounds: Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg) dec Nijel Jones (NC State), 7-0

165 Pounds: Josh Condon (UTC) dec Johnny Greisheimer (Edinboro), 7-4

165 Pounds: Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) dec Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan), 5-3; LeBlanc (Indiana) dec Peyton Walsh, Navy, 6-1

197 Pounds: (10) Scott Schiller (Minnesota) maj Christian Boley (Maryland), 10-1

285 Pounds: (2) Tony Nelson (Minnesota) dec Steven Graziano (Penn), 4-0



Can You Predict the Winners? Join the 2013 NCAA Pick Your Champions Contest!

Who will win individual NCAA titles next week in Des Moines, Iowa?  Tell us what you think in the New York Wrestling News Pick Your Champions contest. The winner receives an iTunes gift card.

To participate, see Pick Your Champions Contest Entry Form.

Only responses received by 10 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, March 21 will be eligible for the contest.


It's Time: NCAA Division I Brackets Revealed; Dake the Top Seed at 165


It’s Time! The NCAA released the brackets for the championships in Des Moines, Iowa starting next week. You can find them here.

The following are the wrestlers with New York ties going to the tournament. (Combination of wrestlers from New York Colleges and New York High School wrestlers).  If any are missing, please feel free to comment below.

125 Pounds
Brown, Billy Watterson (John Jay)
Buffalo, Max Soria (Kings Park)
Cornell, Nahshon Garrett (Chico, CA)
Hofstra, Steve Bonanno (Wantagh)

133 Pounds
Binghamton, Derek Steeley (Broken Arrow, OK)
Bloomsburg, Nick Wilcox (Greene)
Columbia, Matt Bystol (Libertyville, IL)
Hofstra, Jamie Franco (Monroe Woodbury)
North Carolina State, Sam Speno (Fox Lane)

Rider, Jimmy Morris (St. Anthony’s)

141 Pounds
Army, Connor Hanafee (Monsignor Farrell)
Cornell, Mike Nevinger (Letchworth)
Harvard, Steven Keith (Shoreham Wading River)
Hofstra, Luke Vaith (Hastings, MN)

149 Pounds
Army, Daniel Young (Culver Academy, IN)
Binghamton, Donnie Vinson (Whitney Point)
Buffalo, Blake Roulo (Matoaca, VA)
Columbia, Steve Santos (Brick, NJ)
Cornell, Chris Villalonga (Blair Academy, NJ)
Ohio State, Ian Paddock (Warsaw)

157 Pounds
Columbia, Jake O’Hara (Crestwood, PA)

165 Pounds
Army, Paul Hancock (Fordson, MI)
Bloomsburg, Josh Veltre (Greece Olympia)
Buffalo, Mark Lewandowski (Lancaster)
Columbia, Josh Houldsworth (Holly, MI)
Cornell, Kyle Dake (Lansing)
Edinboro, John Greisheimer (Wantagh)
Indiana, Ryan LeBlanc (Morrisville-Eaton)

174 Pounds
Buffalo, John-Martin Cannon (Brockport)

Columbia, Stephen West (Buchanan, CA)

184 Pounds
Binghamton, Cody Reed (Walton)
Cornell, Steve Bosak (State College, PA)

197 Pounds
Army, Bryce Barnes (Kempsville, VA)
Binghamton, Nate Schiedel (Caledonia Mumford)
Cornell, Jace Bennett (Amarillo, TX)
Maryland, Christian Boley (Brockport)

285 Pounds
Cornell, Stryker Lane (Norwood, CO)

Penn, Steven Graziano (Syosset)


Or By College


141 – Connor Hanafee; 149 – Daniel Young; 165 – Paul Hancock; 197- Bryce Barnes


133 – Derek Steeley, 149 – Donnie Vinson; 184 – Cody Reed; 197- Nate Schiedel

Bloomsburg (NY Natives Only)

133 – Nick Wilcox (Greene), 165- Josh Veltre (Greece Olympia)

Brown (NY Natives Only)

125 – Billy Watterson (John Jay)


125 – Max Soria; 149 – Blake Roulo; 165- Mark Lewandowski; 174- John-Martin Cannon


133 – Matt Bystol; 149 – Steve Santos; 157 – Jake O’Hara; 165 – Josh Houldsworth; 174 – Stephen West


125 – Nahshon Garrett; 141 – Mike Nevinger; 149 – Chris Villalonga; 165 – Kyle Dake; 184 – Steve Bosak; 197- Jace Bennett; 285-Stryker Lane

Edinboro (NY Natives Only)

165 – John Greisheimer (Wantagh)

Harvard (NY Natives Only)

141 – Steven Keith (Shoreham Wading River)


125 – Steve Bonanno; 133 – Jamie Franco; 141 – Luke Vaith

Indiana (NY Natives Only)

165 – Ryan LeBlanc (Morrisville-Eaton)

Maryland (NY Natives Only)

197 – Christian Boley (Brockport)

North Carolina State (NY Natives Only)

133 – Sam Speno (Fox Lane)

Ohio State (NY Natives Only)

149 – Ian Paddock (Warsaw)

Penn (NY Natives Only)

285 – Steven Graziano (Syosset)

Rider (NY Natives Only)

133 – Jimmy Morris (St. Anthony’s)



"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.”