March 11, 2014

WRESTLING | Men Prevail, Take Home Team Title At EIWA Championships

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By ANNA FASMAN

For the eighth consecutive year, the Cornell men’s wrestling team took home the team title at the EIWA Championships. In addition to a group championship, sophomore Nahshon Garrett, senior Chris Villalonga, freshman Gabe Dean and junior Jace Bennett all earned individual championships within their respective weight classes, while freshman Dylan Palacio took home second place individually.

Beyond winning the championships this weekend, the Red earned eight automatic qualifiers for the NCAA tournament. Along with the first and second place winners of individual championships, freshman Mark Grey, senior Mike Nevinger and freshman Brian Realbuto will represent the Red. While the team did not meet its goal of having all ten starters qualify, there is still a slight chance that the last two can earn a wildcard spot in the tournament.

One of the highlights from this weekend, according to Head Coach Robert Koll, was watching senior Mike Nevinger go out and fight, even though he suffered from a knee injury during the semi-finals. As a two time All-American, it was important for Nevinger to qualify so he could compete in his last year of NCAAs. He came out strong against his opponent from Rutgers and fought through the pain.

“Our trainer taped his knee so tightly it would barely bend. I didn’t believe he could get hurt much worse with that tape job but I also knew he wouldn’t be worth a darn. Because of this Mike went out and hit an ‘all for nothing’ move, tossed his opponent to his back and pinned him in slightly over a minute,” Koll said.

CONNOR ARCHARD / SUN SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHERTwo-time All-American senior Mike Nevinger fought hard to qualify for a bid to the NCAAs, playing through the pain of a recent knee injury.

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