In what would have to be categorized as the most complete team victory of the year, the wrestling squad grabbed its second New York State Championship in three years with an overwhelming victory over 22 other schools.
The squad lost only three matches all weekend en route to claiming titles in six weight classes. In the process, the team beat its closest in-state competition, nationally-ranked Hofstra, by 41.5 points. Cornell finished the weekend with an astounding 207.5 points, toppling its own tournament record set only a few years before. Army finished third with 129.5 points.
Freshman Travis Lee was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler when he grabbed the title in the 125-lb. weight class. Lee’s victory in the finals came over Hofstra’s Tom Noto, who is currently ranked 10th in the country.
“[Lee’s] been close to beating great kids all year, so this was big for him,” head coach Rob Koll said.
Alejandro Alvarez, who had been slumping, defeated Nassau’s Mike Trotta by a 7-6 score to take home a title in his 133-lb. weight class. Koll is hopeful the victory will raise the sophomore’s confidence level for the upcoming dual match season.
Senior co-captains Jim Stanec and Clint Wattenberg both grabbed state titles in their respective weight classes, 174 and 184-lbs. Each defeated wrestlers from the University of Buffalo to claim their victories.
“We expect that from them,” Koll said of his captains.
Junior Gabe Webster added a title at 157-lbs., while sophomore Scott Roth was victorious in the 165-lb. weight class.
The tournament’s only real disappointment came when junior Byron Warner was forced to withdraw after injuring his knee. While Koll hopes to have the 141-lb. grappler back in his line-up by this weekend, the junior will be re-evaluated later today.
The victory, especially over a quality school like Hofstra and over Ivy brethern Columbia, bodes well for the Red as it enters the duals season. Those contests begin this weekend in a home matchup with Hofstra.
“To blow out this tournament shows where we really are,” said an obviously pleased Koll. “We did everything we hoped we could do.”
Archived article by Charles Persons