Last call to wrestling fans! The Red (6-4-1) will make its last showing at home this season with a match against Brown (4-11) tonight at 7 p.m., followed by Harvard (2-12-1) tomorrow at 3 p.m. Both matches will take place in the Friedman Wrestling Center, as the Red bids farewell to its seniors.
Considering the Red’s impressive Ivy performance thus far, the odds of it claiming the title are quite solid. The team has taken down its three Ivy competitors so far this year: Columbia, Penn and Princeton, with point margins floating around 30 against each one. Four wrestlers have yet to taste defeat to an Ivy competitor in their careers, including senior Troy Nickerson with 14 victories, six by fall. Junior Mike Grey boasts 13 wins while fellow junior Mack Lewnes has secured nine. So far in his career, sophomore Steve Bosak has won eight Ivy matches. Overall, the Red has garnered 41 consecutive wins among the Ancient Eight.
That’s not to say that the Red is dismissing its upcoming competition. Head coach Rob Koll insists that a solid performance is still vital to the team succeeding at Nationals.
“A couple kids slip up, and they’ll go from having a good draw to a tougher one,” Koll said.
And Nationals is, of course, the ultimate goal, as the team worked throughout the week –– atypical leading up to a full weekend –– in preparation for the EIWA Championship. The team hopes to qualify nine wrestlers, the most it has ever sent.
Tonight’s competitor, Brown, is coming off a 33-12 win last Saturday against Harvard. The Red has won 12 consecutive matches against the Brown Bears, including last year’s 32-9 blowout in Providence. Junior Justin Kerber will be unable to participate, as he’ll be braving the Big Apple for an interview with Goldman Sachs.
Tomorrow’s match against Harvard will put some of the Red’s best against unranked competitors, but certain weight classes will prove more challenging.
Harvard’s best wrestler, senior J.P. O’Connor, will compete in the 157 lb weight class, recently marred by injury on Cornell’s side. Usual starter John Bastings incurred a shoulder injury at the hands of Hoftsra’s No. 16 Jonny Bonilla-Bowman back on Feb. 6. Sophomore Derek Schreiner will go up against O’Connor, who is undefeated this season with a running count of 24 wins.
At 184 lbs, the Red’s Bosak, ranked No. 16, will face Crimson senior Louis Caputo, No. 6.
As this will be their last match on campus, nine seniors will be honored tomorrow with Cornell singlet shadowboxes. This includes starters Troy Nickerson and Josh Arnone.
“Think of Cornell wrestling, and a lot of people think of Troy. It’ll be a little bit nostalgic. Here’s a kid who’s a five-time New York state champ from right down the road” Koll said.
Seven fellow seniors will also be recognized including Brian Alves, John Basting, Nate Holley, Carl Landers, Mike Moore, Taylor Moore and Matt Panasevich.
“It’s hard to be in the background. It’s hard to stick with a sport as hard as wrestling without getting any of the limelight. These are the guys behind Troy and Arnone –– they’re the ones in the weight room pushing them,” Koll added.
Original Author: Chyanne Eyde