The Cornell wrestling squad is off to another fast start with its second successful tournament showing this past weekend.
While the Red can’t claim an official victory from the Sharpie Open at Chapel Hill, N.C. — no team scores were calculated — no other team had as many finalists or champions as Cornell. The tournament was also a victorious homecoming of sorts for Cornell coach Rob Koll, who graduated from the University of North Carolina.
Koll’s squad dominated the tournament, taking five of the 10 weight classes on its way to a victory over schools like UNC, Duke, Appalachian, the Citadel and Howard. Archrival Penn also had a number of wrestlers at the event and took home two first-place finishes. Cornell put a total of eight wrestlers into the finals. Another four Red wrestlers took third place.
Senior co-captains Jim Stanec and Clint Wattenberg won their weight classes on the weekend, which bodes well for Cornell. For Wattenberg, it was his second straight tournament win of the season at the 184-lb. weight class (he took first at the Body Bar Invitational in Ithaca the week before).
Stanec’s first-place finish in the tournament was his first of the season after the 174-lb. wrestler finished a disappointing second the weekend before. Stanec defeated North Carolina’s Mark Canty in the finals by an impressive 14-6 count.
The 157-lb. weight class was an all Red match, as junior Andy Tieban defeated senior Gabe Webster in a close 1-0 match. Junior Byron Warner won the 141-lb. weight class with a 7-4 victory over UNC’s Brad Byers. Warner’s classmate Matt Greenberg rounded out the list of Red champions with his 11-7 victory over Duke’s Mark Thompson.
Freshman Travis Lee was once again strong for Cornell, as the rookie took home his second second-place tournament finish in a row. He eventually lost the 125-lb. championship match to Chris Rodrigues of North Carolina — one of two weight class victories the home team took on the day. UNC also won the heavyweight division, one of two weight classes where the Red failed to place anyone in the top seven in the tournament.
Cornell will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. this upcoming weekend to compete on Friday and Saturday in the Las Vegas Open.
Archived article by Charles Persons