March 18, 2004

Wrestlers Tackle NCAA's

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While most of the student body is preparing for spring break or studying for that last prelim, eight wrestlers for the Red will look to make their mark this weekend among the nation’s finest at the NCAA tournament in St.Louis. For some of the wrestlers it will be their second or third trip to the tournament. For others, it will be their first time.

Leading the way for Cornell is two time All-American Travis Lee (35-1), who will be looking to become the first Ivy Leaguer to be a three time All-American. Last year, Lee won the national championship at the 125-pound weight class, the first championship for the Red since 1994. Moving up to the 133 pound weight class this season, he has dominated the field, maintaining a No. 1 ranking in the nation for most if the season. If he takes the title, he will become only the second Cornellian to claim two national championships — the other being Dave Auble in 1959 and 1960. He opens against Derek Moore (18-5) of Cal-Davis today.

After Lee, the Red have two other wrestlers who were ranked in their weight classes going into the tournament. Sophomore Dustin Manotti (30-4) returns for his second NCAA tournament appearance, last year claiming both an eighth place finish and All-American status in the 149 pound weight class. He goes into the tournament ranked sixth overall, and will look to improve upon last year’s finish. One wrestler he may have to face though is rival Jesse Jantzen of Harvard, who is currently the favorite to win the division. Manotti will open against either Matt Cox of Cal Poly-SLO or Adrian Austin of George Mason.

No. 8 Senior Matt Greenberg (26-7) is the other ranked wrestler for the Red heading into this tournament, the third NCAA championship of his career. He hopes to cap off his final season with All-American honors. He faces off against Josh Birt in his first match in the 197-pound weight class.

Senior Scott Roth (26-8) will make his second appearance at the NCAA’s in the 157-pound weight class. Looking to cap off a strong final season, he will open against Brad Cieleski of Slippery Rock, who handed Roth a 6-4 loss earlier this year. Junior Tyler Baier (21-13) will also be making his second appearance at the tournament in the 174-pound weight class after receiving a wild card bid from the EIWA tournament. He will be facing off against Curtis Yeager of Minersville.

Three members of the squad will also be making their first appearance at the tournament Junior Mike Mormile (17-11) will face off against Stanford’s Tanner Gardner in the 125- pound weight class while freshman Jerry Rindali (25-6) will take on Justin Dyer of Oklahoma in the 184 pound weight class.

Junior Joe Mazzurco (22-5), who has recovered from a broken jaw suffered midway through the season, will take on Leighton Brady of Boston University.

Overall, Cornell has more representatives competing in the tournament than any other Ivy League school. Penn was close behind with seven wrestlers, followed by Harvard with four, and Brown and Columbia with two each. In fact, Cornell trailed only wrestling powerhouses Iowa and Minnesota in the number of individual wrestlers sent to the tournament.

Matches will start today with two sessions followed by two sessions tomorrow and then the grand match and finals on Saturday, which will be broadcast on ESPN 2 at 6:30.

In addition, former Cornell wrestler and astronaunt Ed Lu 84′ will be giving a speech “A Promise for Tomorrow,” tomorrow at the tournament.


Archived article by Chris Callanan