As the Red enters the season, it will be fortunate enough to be led by senior All-America and captain Clint Wattenberg, who among other things, is looking to cap one of the strongest collegiate careers in Cornell history with a national title. This is a real possibility for the senior. Wrestling in the 184-pound class, Wattenberg finds himself ranked as high as fourth, fifth, and seventh in various national polls going into the season.
“Clint is certainly capable of winning the national title,” said head coach Rob Koll, quickly adding, “I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t win.”
He came very close to achieving that feat last year.
Wattenberg compiled a 43-7 record for the season and claimed tournament titles at the Cornell Invitational, Sharpie Open, New York State championships and EIWA championships. At the EIWA’s he avenged an earlier loss in the championship match to Rob Rohn of Lehigh, the eventual national champion, showing that he is capable of beating anyone in the nation. For his efforts last season, he was also awarded All-American status as well as a first team All-Ivy selection. The only thing that eluded Wattenberg was the national title. He placed a hard fought sixth at the NCAA’s.
Despite all the recent success that Wattenberg has had, it hasn’t always been an easy road for the All-America.
His success has been achieved through perseverance and dedication. During his sophomore year he tore several ligaments in his knee, including his ACL. This led to an early end to his season. Unable to wrestle for the next nine months, he decided to concentrate on strategy and tactics to improve his game.
“I had to rebuild from the beginning, work on fundamentals, work on high-level shots where I didn’t have to bend my knees, go back and revamp my whole offense,” Wattenberg commented on his rehabilitation.
The captain also had to make another adjustment in moving up two weight classes. Originally wrestling at 165, he wasn’t getting the results he wanted and by the end of his sophomore year, he decided he should make the leap to the 184 class.
“I was having trouble making 165, cause I was real tall for the weight class. It was a constant struggle with my diet,” remarked Wattenberg on the switch.
He worked tirelessly over the summer to gain weight and improve his strength. His hard work and perseverance paid off, as he returned to have a breakout season last year and establish himself on the national scene.
Heading into this year, he looks to be in even better shape after training in Colorado Springs this summer with sophomore teammate Travis Lee.
He confidently remarked, “I’m the strongest 184 in the league.”
His improved strength should make him all the more of a threat this year.
As to his goals for his final season: “Individually I want to win the national tournament, and win every match that I’m in. For the team I want to win the Ivies and the EIWAs.”
Based on Wattenberg’s history, it seems that all four of these goals are quite attainable.
Archived article by Chris Callanan