Besides being known for cornfields and the Iowa caucuses, the state of Iowa is also famous for wrestling. The Iowa Hawkeyes have a legendary wrestling program, and the Iowa State Cyclones have also been quite successful. This past Sunday, the The No. 4 Red (8-0, 4-0 EIWA) traveled to Ames, Iowa, to face off against the Cyclones.
Cornell beat No. 14 Iowa (2-12, 0-6 Big Ten) by a score of 28-11. Like the previous weekend, seniors Steve Bosak and Cam Simaz both dominated their respective opponents — each winning by fall.
Ranked No. 3 at 184 pounds, Bosak took down his opponent in just over a minute. Following Bosak’s win a few minutes later, the No. 1-ranked Simaz (197 pounds) took over three and a half minutes to take his opponent down. In an email, head coach Rob Koll stated his belief that Simaz is the most dominant wrestler in the country for any given weight class.
Junior Kyle Dake — No. 1 at 157 pounds — also experienced a successful Sunday in his return to the mat. Dake had been out since Jan. 15, with a hamstring injury. He beat his opponent in what he felt was a sloppy performance, according to the Iowa State Daily. He was only up 2-0 going into the third period when, despite allowing an escape, he was able to score a takedown and a reversal for the 6-1 victory.
Koll noted the sub-par performance from Dake, also stating that he felt that sophomore Chris Villalonga could have wrestled better, despite finishing with a 6-1 win as well. Villalonga, coming off two impressive victories the previous weekend, entered his match ranked No. 19 at 149 pounds. This is the first time this season that he has broken into InterMat’s national rankings.
The squad was not as successful at 165 and 174 pounds. Sophomore Marshall Peppelman lost by technical fall, 21-6, to No. 4 Andrew Sorenson at 165, and freshman Billy George lost 6-1 at 174. At Heavyweight, senior Macjiec Jochym lost by major decision, 15-2, to No. 14 Matt Gibson.
The Red, however, sealed the victory through big wins in the lower three weight classes. At 141 pounds, sophomore Mike Nevinger scored an upset victory, 9-4, over No. 14 Luke Goettl. Senior Frank Perrelli turned in a dominating performance at 125 pounds, winning by major decision, 9-0, over No. 11 Ryak Finch. Despite facing a tough opponent, Koll believes Perrelli won so convincingly because he was the “superior” athlete in the match.
“He works nonstop, and he’s finally come into his own,” he said. “He’s very solid in all three positions: top, bottom and neutral. And when you can score on top, when you can’t be ridden and are fantastic on your feet — that’s pretty much the recipe for success.”
Perrelli believes the extra rest over the past week is what allowed him to wrestle so well.
“Over break we were doing a lot of running,” he said. “My legs were a little tired and sore and just worn down. After being a week back in school, I got my legs back underneath me and I was able to get my attacks off and I felt good.”
At 133 pounds, the winner for the Red was sophomore Naryman “Nick” Arujua, who recently transfered from American University. Arujua nearly managed a shutout of his opponent, but gave up a takedown with only two seconds to go in the match, winning 8-2.
Arujau is revitalizing the 133 pound weight class for the Red, according to Koll, since this division had previously been a weak spot for Cornell. Having not wrestled competitively since March 2011, Arujau said he was happy to get back on the mat and to represent Cornell.
“The coach that recruited me left and I didn’t really fit in with the team at American, so I thought it was time for a change,” he said. “I wanted to go to an Ivy League school and Cornell was perfect regarding the wrestling and the academics.”
According to Perrelli, who wrestled against and beat Arujua last season, the American transfer fits well with the team.
“He should be an All-American, Perrelli said. “If not, he’ll definitely win a couple of matches at Nationals, so he’s great in that sense … he also adds another dimension. He’s a funny kid and we all like him. … He’s the perfect fit for the team.”