February 17, 2006
The wrestling team (8-4, 3-0 Ivy) looks to clinch its fourth consecutive Ivy League title tonight as it hosts Harvard (4-7-1, 1-1-1) at the Friedman Wrestling Center. The squad is also set to compete against Brown (6-6-1, 1-1-1) tomorrow afternoon. A win versus either opponent would signal the first time the wrestling team has won the Ivy League title four times in a row since the 1992-93 season – when the team won its seventh consecutive Ivy title under head coach Jack Spates.
Despite practicing every day underneath a clock counting down the seconds to the NCAA national tournament, another Ivy League title would be a welcomed reward for both head coach Rob Koll and the squad. The Red, heavily favored, remains focused on the task at hand.
“At Cornell, in every sport, the first and foremost goal of every coach is to win an Ivy title,” Koll said. “Harvard and Brown shouldn’t beat us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t lose to them.”
The weekend’s matches kick off the final stretch run towards the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship tournament and the sport’s big dance, the NCAA national tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla.
With that in mind, the Red knows that a slip up against the Crimson or the Bears could hurt its seeding, and consequently, its chances of advancing at the upcoming EIWA tournament two weeks from today in Bethlehem, Penn.
“We don’t want to take these guys lightly, but we’re more importantly preparing for Easterns,” Koll said. “We don’t want to have any upsets. We don’t want to blow our seasons, individually, before going into EIW’s.”
The weekend should be an emotional one for the eight seniors on the team who will wrestle their last matches inside the Friedman Wrestling Center. The senior class, highlighted by senior tri-captains Mike Mormile, Dustin Manotti and Joe Mazzurco, has paved the way for the Red, currently ranked No. 14 in the country by intermatwrestle.com.
The team will honor the senior class during a break in the action Saturday afternoon.
“We have eight seniors, which is really quite amazing considering that all of them have made it and none of them have ever quit,” Koll said. “The reason why we’ve been so successful over the years is because of guys like [seniors] John Cholish, Jim March, and Mike Reish. Cholish used to be a starter last season and Reish stepped in for us against Northern Iowa. It’s so hard for those guys who put with a lot of physical discomfort and get less recognition. They’re the ones who really make our team successful with what they do in practice. They don’t get a lot of attention, which they deserve, so it will be nice to honor them this weekend.”
Asked if he was emotional about watching arguably the finest senior class in the program’s history compete in its last match inside Cornell’s state-of-the-art wrestling facility, Koll responded, “I’m not sentimental. The guys are great. They’re all grown up. They all have jobs. Sorry, I can’t shed a tear for them.”
Emotion or not, the team will face a Harvard squad highlighted by No. 8 Bode Ogunwole. The junior heavyweight, who won a bronze medal for the U.S.A. in last summer’s FILA World Junior Championships, should prove to be a tough test for sophomore Zach Hammond or senior Matt Pollock.
“He’s 5-9 and about 280 pounds,” Koll said. “He’s incredibly powerful, incredibly fast and had good technique. He’s a block that you just can’t move and he’s an athlete who happens to be a heavyweight. You don’t see too many athletic heavyweights. He doesn’t do a lot, but what he does do, he does very well. However, that doesn’t mean he is unbeatable.”
The decision as to who will wrestle Ogunwole is unclear as Zach Hammond gives up size but is quicker than Ogunwole, while Matt Pollock is coming off both a pin and a technical victory last weekend.
Archived article by Tim KuhlsSun Staff Writer
February 17, 2006
Backspace appears biweekly in commemoration of The Sun’s 125th Anniversary. Honoring not only the history of The Cornell Daily Sun but also the role it played in major campus events throughout the years, each column features a different writer chronicling a different era of Cornell’s lively past. Howard A. Rodman ’71 was editor in chief of The Sun in 1970-71. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Writing Division of the School of Cinema-Television at USC and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, west. Rodman’s works include the film Joe Gould’s Secret, the novel Destiny Express and articles in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Village Voice. More of Rodman’s current writings can be found at www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-a-rodman
Odysseus, as we all know, yearns to return to Ithaca. But Ithaca, it seems, is a moveable feast. If you’ve spent time in Ithaca, it stays with. I live now, and have for twenty years, in the capital of the movie industry (there’s even a view of the Hollywood sign from the kitchen, admonishing as we rinse the cocktail glasses). But Cornellians in general, Sunsters in particular, make their way here – in ones, in twos, some years in full droves – carrying their memories, and some of mine, with them.
They climb off the jetway at LAX, blinking in the sun, then find their way here. It’s not unlike The Wizard Of Oz in that many of those I knew back east, in black-and-white, re-appear, but in vivid color and wearing animal costumes. (The econ professor’s kid, remembered as an Ithaca High schooler who yearned to join us in taking over buildings, pops up colorfully here as “The Dude” – you may know him from The Big Lebowski.)
What none of this circus changes, or obliterates, is the Ithaca inside.
Shortly after I was elected editor in chief of The Sun, I was walking through the old offices – 109 East State, an address I don’t remember how to forget – and was summoned into the EIC’s office. Sitting there was a visitor, David Radin ’68, who’d been editor three years before and now lived in a yurt, which is a kind of Mongolian thatched hut, but situated rather more near Trumansburg.
David was perhaps 22 but seemed, from my vantage, impossibly old, impossibly wise. He looked at me and said, “You can learn everything you need to know in this office. If not, you have to go to law school.”
The latter prospect filled me with terror, so I tried, each night, to learn something. Some of the lessons were practical, involving the application of warm wax to slick paper. Some of the lessons were syntactical in nature or concerned vocabulary. (As Sam Roberts ’68 memorably put it, “God reveals. Men disclose.”)
Others lessons were more spiritual. One night, walking from my Collegetown lodgings to the Sun office downtown, when the air was crisp and the leaves just beginning to turn and the dusk coming on quickly, I found that I’d broken into a slow trot.
Then I was running.
Most of my life, running had been for me a clumsy, syncopated affair – thump-thump, thump-thump – but that evening, for the first time in my life and perhaps the last, running came as natural as breathing. I felt as if I were gliding toward State Street an inch above the earth. My legs and feet had little to do with the process, other than to lightly touch the sidewalk from time to time, less for propulsion than for reassurance. The trip to the office door took five minutes, took a lifetime, took no time at all; and when I arrived, the night’s editorial was clear in my head as if already written, and all I’d have to do was transcribe. I’d been looking down the hill toward the Sun office, as if it were the goal. Now that I’d arrived, I realized that the learning happened on the way.
This, like much else these days under the Hollywood sign, puts me in mind of a poem by C. P. Cavafy, entitled “Ithaca.” It goes, in part:
Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experi-
ence, you must surely have understood by then what Ithaca
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