Over the weekend, the No. 6 Red wrestling team traveled north, facing off against Brown on Saturday afternoon. After a 42-0 shutout against the Princeton Tigers just one week before on Jan. 12, Cornell added another notch to the “W” column, dropping the Bears, 35-6.
“We were feeling really good coming out of Princeton and had a solid week of practices. We went into Brown … with the same mindset that we do with every match: that we need to focus on what we can control and if we go out and wrestle hard, the score will take care of itself,” said senior heavyweight Stryker Lane.
Saturday began with a solid start for the Red, as senior Joe Stanzione picked up a 6-3 exhibition match win before the duel against Brown beganStanzione defeated Zachary Tanenbaum in the 141-pounds division, before No. 8-ranked Cornell freshman Nahshon Garrett kicked off the dual with a major decision win against Brown junior Billy Watterson. Garrett wasted no time, earning a takedown just after the first whistle.
The rookie brought Watterson down to the mat a few more times as the Brown wrestler tried to work his way back up to his feet. Garrett had the lead, 5-0, heading into the second round, adding three back points. Opening the second in the down position, Garrett was able to escape before adding a double leg takedown. Entering the final round with a 11-0 lead, the rookie added two more takedowns before settling for a 16-3 final score.
Off to a strong start with four points on the board, sophomore Bricker Dixon stepped on the mat to face senior Beau Martino at 133. Dixon managed a 4-0 lead after the first round, earning a takedown and two back points. Opening in down position, he escaped and picked up a double leg takedown in the second. The final round started with Martino in the down position, and the Brown wrestler was able to notch his first takedown of the match. However, time ran out and Dixon earned the 8-4 decision and brought Cornell to 7-0.
Continuing to dominate on the mat, No. 6 junior Mike Nevinger won a 4-2 decision against senior Cortlandt Choate at 141 pounds. Choate lit up the board first with a takedown; however, Nevinger turned the tables, spinning out for an escape, bringing the match within a point. The Brown wrestler chose to begin the second from the neutral position, and no one was able to score. Nevinger started the final round on top, adding a nearfall at the end of the period before winning 4-2 with riding time. Cornell moved to 10-0 and it was not long before junior Chris Villalonga made that 16-0, as the senior earned a takedown before pinning his opponent Brown senior Grant Overcashier in 2:57.
Junior Jesse Shanaman kept the winning trend alive, as he defeated senior Phil Marano, 2-0, at 157 pounds. Neither wrestler was able to score in the first period, but Shanaman grabbed a one-point lead in the second with an opening escape. The junior sealed the match in the third, grabbing another point for riding time. Cornell moved to 19-0 heading into 165 pounds.
No. 1-ranked senior Kyle Dake was all business against Brown, wasting no time before taking down his opponent senior Jack Roberts. Dake grabbed a three-point nearfall before winning by fall in 1:26. With the solid win, Cornell moved to 25-0 for the day. Senior Marshall Peppelman propelled the Red forward once more adding three more to the day’s total, as he claimed a 3-1 decision over sophomore Ricky McDonald with a takedown and escape.
No. 4-ranked senior Steve Bosak faced off against sophomore Ophir Bernstein at 184 pounds, grabbing a takedown off a single leg and compiling 2:32 in riding time, in the first round alone. The senior held a 5-0 lead in the second off an escape and takedown. Bosak took Bernstein down once, despite an escape by the Brown wrestler, and finished the match with another takedown and 10-2 major decision.
Cornell commanded the momentum on the mat throughout the day. According to the team, the Red was looking for a repeat of the meet against Princeton — a total shutout.
“I don’t believe in “momentum” in sports, but I do believe that confidence has a great impact on performance,” said head coach Rob Koll. “For that reason shutouts are always great for a team.”
Moving into 197 pounds, the shutout hopes vanished as Cornell suffered its only defeat of the day. Brown sophomore Sterling Hecox earned a win by fall over Red sophomore Jace Bennett. Cornell headed into the heavyweight round with a commanding 32-6 lead. Lane closed the meet with a 6-1 decision over sophomore D.J. Ingham. Lane took down the Brown wrestler near the edge of the mat, but Ingham escaped after Lane accumulated 23 seconds of riding time. Adding more riding time in the second, Lane held on as Ingham was unable to escape from his chosen down position. Opening in the down position in the third, Lane escaped and picked up a takedown halfway through the round. With over 3:30 in riding time, Lane nabbed the 6-1 decision and Cornell nabbed the 35-6 victory.
The Red looks to use the meet against Brown as a learning curve as it moves into the next few weeks of competition, as well as continue to work towards a charity cause.
“We were a little sluggish as a team, but we still wrestled hard and dominated all the positions,” Dake said. “[Bosak] and I were able to get our pins for our pin pool — for every pin we get we have alumni and donors who donate money, which is awesome.”