The Cornell wrestling team (13-1, 5-0 Ivy League) completed its one-loss season over the weekend with wins over Brown (2-12, 1-3) and Harvard (2-15, 1-4) by wide margins.
On Friday night, the heavily favored Red shut out the Bears in Providence, R.I., 44-0. Pins from junior Cam Simaz and sophomores Kyle Dake and Stryker Lane highlighted the decisive win.
“I didn’t want to be the guy to ruin a perfect dual meet,” Lane said.
His pin in the heavyweight division capped off the perfect night for the visiting Red.
At 133-pounds, senior Mike Grey won a major decision over the Bears’ Cort Choate. Freshman Craig Eifert and senior Mack Lewnes notched the other two major decisions in the match against Brown. Eifert was wrestling at his natural weight class, 157 pounds, after stepping up and wrestling at 165 pounds for the Red this season. Fellow freshman Michael Alexander was put in against Brown at 184 pounds. Alexander, who broke five team records at Findlay High School in Ohio last year, edged out Ziad Kharbush, 5-3, with a last-minute takedown in the third period.
“It’s nice to have rookies who can not only fill in, but actually setup and defeat guys,” said head coach Robert Koll. Eifert and Alexander were filling in for Red regulars, senior D.J. Meagher and junior Steven Bosak, who are suffering from various injuries and illnesses.
The 165-pound match featured senior No. 4 Justin Kerber, who took care of Brown’s Max Lewin with a technical fall, 15-0. The tech fall is wrestling’s version of the “mercy rule,” a condition when one side has such a dominant lead over the other that the competition is ended prematurely. A 15-point lead in wrestling warrants an end to the match.
Saturday night, the Red took the bus to Cambridge, Mass. to face Harvard. The 40-9 Red triumph meant that a Koll-led Cornell wrestling team would win the Ivy League Title for the ninth consecutive year.
“In my opinion, he’s the best coach in the nation,” Lane said. “He knows when to push us, when to back off… he just does everything right.”
At 197-pounds, junior No. 1 Cam Simaz pinned his Crimson opponent, Bryan Panzano, in 44 seconds. Mike Grey and Mack Lewnes were the other two Red wrestlers to pin their opponents in the meet.
Harvard did manage to provide Cornell with the Red’s only two losing matches of the weekend road trip. The Crimson’s Steven Keith took out senior No. 10 Frank Perrelli at 125-pounds, and at 157-pounds, No. 6 Walter Peppelman defeated Cornell’s No. 11 D.J. Meagher with a pin in the last minute. Meagher was down a point with 30 seconds left on the third period clock when the Red senior got in a scramble with Peppelman, who came out on top for the pin to end the match. Meagher had defeated Peppelman earlier in the season, 4-2, at the Binghamton Open in November.
The Red now looks upon the post-season, which features the regional tournament, referred to as the “Easterns,” and the NCCA Division I National Championships held on March 17th–19th.
Having entered the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, the Red feels even more confident about its chances to take first in both upcoming tournaments.
“We’re looking right, right now,” Lane said. “And we have the talent to win both Easterns and Nationals.”